Battery idea from Chalmers won international contest on energy storage

Professor Patrik Johansson and his team at Chalmers University of Technology was chosen as one of four winners of the open innovation contest on energy storage initiated by chemicals manufacturing corporation BASF. Johansson's concept, which won almost one million Swedish kronor, is to develop aluminium-based batteries that are expected to store energy effectively and to a low cost.

Prize winners (Front row):  Xiangwu Zhang from North Carolina State University, Stuart Licht from George Washington University,  Patrik Johansson from Chalmers University of Technology, James Evans and Paul Wright from University of California, Berkeley. BASF Incubation unit (Back row): Dr. Steffen Waglöhner, Dr. Dominique Moulin

“The focus is on large-scale use of batteries to store renewable energy from wind and solar energy plants. This type of Al-batteries will hopefully be able to store more energy per weight and especially volume than traditional lithium batteries and that at a significantly lower material cost, says Patrik Johansson, associate professor of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology.

122 applications were submitted to the international energy storage competition announced by BASF at the beginning of the year. The challenge was to find new ideas for the storage of energy from renewable energy sources. The solutions presented should also be financially viable, for example through lower investment costs.

 “Me and my colleagues, Toshihiko Mandai from Chalmers and Helena Berg, AB Libergreen, have worked hard throughout the spring to prepare our competition entry, for example by doing experiments on new types of electrolytes that are necessary to get the Al-batteries to operate, says Patrik Johansson.

A jury consisting of BASF experts and external specialists selected four winning proposals that were announced at the Creator Space Conference in Ludwigshafen, Germany. All the winners, except Patrik Johansson are from American universities and all were rewarded with EUR 100 000 each. Moreover, each team are given the opportunity to unconditionally develop their idea in collaboration with BASF.

“We are excited to continue our research now. Winning this award is a real encouragement to work even harder to take our concept from idea to functional reality, says Patrik Johansson.

Text: Karin Weijdegård
Photo: BASF

BASF announces winners of the open innovation contest on energy storage

Patrik Johansson’s research group at the division of Condensed Matter Physics, Department of Applied Physics, Chalmers University of Technology

About the research
Al-batteries makes possible the use of 3-electron transfer per charge carrying ion, and the full cell potentially gives higher both specific and gravimetric
energy densities than for example lithium-ion batteries, and this at a lower materials cost. At the same time the Al-batteries will be produced
in a much more traditional way than for example Li-air batteries.

The team behind the winning contribution consists of professor Patrik Johansson, Chalmers University of Technology; idea, concept, and main applicant, his postdoc Dr. Toshihiko Mandai, whom has experimented on the quite different types of new electrolytes needed, and Dr. Helena Berg, CEO of AB Libergreen, whom has studied the cell and system level implications of the novel concept. Both Chalmers Area of Advance Materials Science and the Swedish Energy Agency has supported the basic research on these kind of next generation batteries.

Other winners
Paul K. Wright and James W. Evans, University of California, Berkeley. Proposal: A new type of rechargeable zinc battery.
Professor Mike Stuart Licht, Department of Chemistry, The George Washington University. Proposal: A new type of rechargeable batteries: the molten air battery.
Xiangwu Zhang, Department of Textile Engineering, North Carolina State University. Proposal: High-performance sodium-ion batteries.

Page manager Published: Wed 30 Mar 2016.