Published July 6, 2020 | Version v1
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Opportunities for Disruptive Advances through Engineering for Next Generation Energy Storage

  • 1. Imperial College London


  • Throughout human history, major economic disruption has been due to technological breakthroughs.
  • Since 1990 the energy density of lithium-ion cells has increased by a factor of four and the cost has dropped by a factor of 10.
  • This has caused disruption to the energy industry, but advances are slowing.
  • The manufacturing and supply chain complexity means that the next big technology will take 15 years to dominate.
  • The academic literature charts this process of development and can be used to show what is in the pipeline.
  • Three candidates that have had a large increase in publication count are: lithium sulphur, solid-state, and sodium-ion technology.
  • From the level of investments in start-ups and academic publication counts, solid‑state cells are closest to maturity.
  • To identify disruption potential, look at uncertainty in performance. Cell lifetime in lithium-ion cells indicates room for improvement.
  • Define a new disruption metric: . Look for areas of industry that lower this metric.
  • Thermal management is a lucrative area for improvement. Cooling the cell tabs of a 5Ah cell reduces the lifetime cost by 66%, compared to 8%/pa for 13 years relying on cost reduction.
  • Second life applications lower the lifetime cost by using the remaining 75% of energy throughput available in a cell after use in an electric vehicle.
  • Drop-in changes to standard manufacturing processes enable huge disruption. Electrolyte additives can increase cell life by 10 times, lowering lifetime cost by 90% in a simple manufacturing intervention.


Opportunities for Disruptive Advances through Engineering for Next Generation Energy Storage.pdf

Additional details


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