Canadian Manufacturing

Czechs start production of sponge-like batteries based on nanotechnology

Prague-based HE3DA has opened an automated production line for nanotech batteries it says will increase storage capacity, cut lithium-ion costs



Major automakers such as Ford are already producing more conventional lithium-ion batteries on a large scale as the electric vehicle market takes flight. PHOTO: Ford

PRAGUE, Czech Republic—A Czech company has stared a production line for batteries based on nanotechnology, which uses tiny parts invisible to human eyes. The batteries are touted as potentially more efficient, longer-lasting, cheaper, lighter and above all safer.

The automatic line, which began running Dec. 19, will operate for several months to gain all necessary certifications.

Prague-based company HE3DA then plans to launch other lines at a new plant in the eastern Czech Republic and at a factory in Slovakia.

Nanotechnology can increase the size and surface of batteries electrodes, making them sponge-like so that they can absorb more energy during charging and ultimately increasing the energy storage capacity.

With the growing market for electric vehicles and stationary storage for renewable energy projects, there’s a significant appetite for cheaper batteries that hold more energy and last longer.

Researchers and businesses around the globe and exploring numerous avenues toward this goal. Tesla Motors, for instance, has been building its Nevada Gigafactory to produce conventional lithium-ion batteries for use in its electric cars and in home storage systems, while a host of other automakers have followed suit.

HE3DA president Jan Prochazka said he was confident his invention provides a solution other current products can’t offer.

“We don’t want to compete with anyone on the market,” Prochazka said. “We’re building a new market.”

His battery is designed to store energy from renewable electric sources, while the company is also planning to release a version for electric cars.

The price has not been set, but the company claims it will be about a half of the cost of current lithium batteries of the same capacity.

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