China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), the world leading manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for vehicles, says it will soon begin mass-producing an “ultra-high density condensed battery” that can store twice as much energy by weight as Tesla’s state-of-the art 4680 battery.
CATL claims its new battery is so energy-dense compared to its weight that it will be a practical energy source for airplanes.
The company has pegged the new battery’s energy density at “up to 500 watt-hours per kilogram of weight” (Wh/kg).” Tesla’s highly-touted 4680 battery comes in at about 244 Wh/kg.
The new design includes “ultra-high energy density cathode materials, innovative anode materials, and [novel] manufacturing processes” and uses “biomimetic condensed state electrolytes.”
CATL says it’s working with makers of electric aircraft to test the new power source for safety and quality.
It also plans to put out a version of the battery for use in electric cars before this year is over.
TRENDPOST: Aviation is estimated to have contributed about a billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere last year, along with other waste gases.
Small, short-hop planes have been an early target for electrification. They are likely to serve as CATL’s testbed for its new battery as designs are laid for versions that could be built into jetliners.
At that scale, the new batteries are likely to be tested in hybrid planes – using some battery power and some conventional jet fuel. As the battery designs evolve, electric power will eventually take over the skies.
Also, more energy-dense batteries that are lighter weight will carry electric vehicles (EVs) farther per charge, easing the key issue of “range anxiety” among potential EV buyers.