CATL launches ultra-high density 500-Wh/kg "condensed battery"

CATL launches ultra-high density 500-Wh/kg "condensed battery"
CATL says it's ready for mass production of super-dense 500-Wh/kg lithium batteries
CATL says it's ready for mass production of super-dense 500-Wh/kg lithium batteries
View 2 Images
CATL says it's ready for mass production of super-dense 500-Wh/kg lithium batteries
CATL says it's ready for mass production of super-dense 500-Wh/kg lithium batteries
High-density batteries could be huge for electric passenger aircraft
High-density batteries could be huge for electric passenger aircraft

In huge news for zero-emissions aviation, Chinese company CATL is set to go to mass production on a "condensed battery" it says can squeeze in more than twice as much energy as a Tesla Model Y battery, by weight – while being safe enough to fly with.

Lithium batteries started an avalanche of innovation when they became widely available, largely because they could hold significantly more energy by weight than other contemporary chemistries. Touchscreen smartphones, drones, all-day laptops, long-range electric cars and the first generation of battery-powered aircraft were some of the results.

But more energy storage is always better – you can either make things last longer, or weigh less – and manufacturers have been racing to raise the bar with next-gen battery technologies. One key metric in the aviation world is specific energy – the amount of energy stored per kilogram of battery, and CATL says it's ready to set a new benchmark.

The lithium-based condensed battery was launched Wednesday at the Auto Shanghai expo, with CATL claiming blockbuster energy density figures "up to 500 Wh/kg." The highest density cells we've seen previously would be from Amprius, which was shipping batteries at 450 Wh/kg more than a year ago. Meanwhile, the 4680 battery cells in Tesla's Model Y are being measured at around 244 Wh/kg.

CATL says the new batteries feature innovations in "ultra-high energy density cathode materials, innovative anode materials, separators, and manufacturing processes," and use "highly conductive biomimetic condensed state electrolytes to construct a micron-level self-adaptive net structure that can adjust the interactive forces among the chains," improving performance, efficiency and stability.

Other than the banner figure for specific energy, the company is giving little away at this point. We don't yet know what these cells will offer in terms of energy density by volume, for example, or power density. CATL says they'll deliver "excellent charge and discharge performance as well as good safety performance."

High-density batteries could be huge for electric passenger aircraft
High-density batteries could be huge for electric passenger aircraft

The company says it's already partnering with electric aircraft companies, looking to satisfy aviation-grade safety and quality standards. Clearly this will be of extreme interest to anyone developing an eVTOL aircraft, provided the cells can put out enough power for VTOL operations – but electric fixed-wing passenger aircraft will also get an impressive range boost out of this tech.

CATL says it "can achieve mass production of condensed battery in a short period of time," and indeed, it expects to put an automotive-grade version of this battery into mass production before the end of the year – although we don't know what kind of specific energy figure we can expect from that.

We've seen plenty of next-gen battery technologies promising huge density figures over the last five or more years, but far fewer that make it through to the product stage. So it's exciting to hear that these are likely to start rolling out in serious numbers in the coming months.

Source: CATL

Not that concerned with aviation, but I would love to see these shave 600lbs off current generation EV's, between higher density and less energy required due to reduced overall weight. We're getting closer and closer to technology that could conceivably produce an EV Miata without dropping a Cleveland Steamer on its name like the Mach-E did to Mustang.
This is higher than those silicon batteries too. Put it in a 747, let’s see it work.
@ Ranscapture: fossile fuel (or one day bio fuel) has a power density that is still 20 times higher.... So, with theses new battery concept, your 747 would fly 300 miles instead of 6'000 miles with fuel, besides many other safety challenges. However, any achievements are positive, but for (heavy) electric flying, it is a much longer way to go!
It's only a matter of time before we start seeing 1000+ Wh/kg batteries available for EVs, planes, trains, ships, etc. Probably either Lithium Metal or Lithium Silicon. When we do, then we can start seeing equivalence with ICE cars and trucks which that would be 4 times the energy density of current Tesla's. So we should see some cars with 1,000+ mile ranges and then even when towing, cold weather, windy conditions at high Interstate speeds (80+) and high occupancy they will still get 300+ miles of range. Thats what is needed to be truly equivalent is 1,000 Wh/kg batteries.
We need 1,000 Wh/kg for 1,000+ miles of range !
Edwin Austin
I'd like to see these in high mileage e-bikes.
How do they handle -20f degrees of cold weather?
How are these batteries for fire or explosion risk? I think there were quite a few 'amazing performance!' batteries that got pulled off the market due to being too dangerous.

What's their lifetime under real-world conditions, not just under lab-controlled conditions optimized for marketing numbers?
Send me some and I will test it for you in real world RV living.
Great article Loz! But where are the facts? Oh, yes, I caught the "Up to 500 Wh/kg" in the CATL source blurb and yours. I hope they can scale their "Up to 500 Wh/kg" product up to an affordable product soon. How quickly can they dump their charge, and at what amperage can they deliver? If electric power or hydrogen fuel cell powered flight is important for the planet, (read - keep the fossil sources for lubrication), can they deliver summertime take-off power demands? Sorry Loz, your article is long on their hype, and short on raw facts - other than "Up to 500 Wh/kg".
Load More