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Time for Transformational Change

Thought Leadership

The battery industry has come a long way in recent years, but the need for enhanced battery performance remains a top priority for consumers and businesses alike. From smartphones to electric cars, power tools to home energy storage, we depend on rechargeable technology to power our lives. Unfortunately, the faster we try to charge our batteries, the more we damage them. This not only shortens the battery’s lifespan but also contributes to the production of e-waste and environmental harm. But with new advanced battery charging optimization technology from Iontra, the battery industry and manufacturers have the necessary tools to make a transformational change in the way we power our devices and protect our environment.

The Science Behind Battery Health

All types of batteries, including lithium-ion, zinc-ion, and lithium-sulfur, experience wear and tear during the charging process, known as chemical aging, especially with fast or ultra-fast charging. This natural damage causes batteries to lose effectiveness over time and, at a certain point, they need to be replaced. Lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to plating and dendritic growth – a buildup of lithium metal on the battery’s anode surface. If left unchecked, the plating can lead to serious safety concerns, such as short-circuiting, thermal runaway, and even fires.

“If left unchecked, plating can lead to serious safety concerns, such as short-circuiting, thermal runaway, and even fires.”

Daniel Konopka, PhD

Supporting information


 

Iontra’s Answer: Analysis and Adjustment

To minimize damage and maximize battery health, Iontra charging uses predictive technology to manipulate the charging current. The company’s adaptive charging technology predicts future wear and tear based on the battery’s current state and most probable future state. This sounds complicated, but the result is not: Iontra’s technology adjusts the charge a thousand times per second to get the best performance and life from a battery and prevent damage.

Iontra’s adaptive charging process reduces damage and increases the safe working life of the battery, so it doesn’t need to be replaced as often. Furthermore, this adaptive charging method improves charge times and still maintain battery health. Millions of test cycles in our state-of-the-art labs and third-party reports from organizations like UL Solutions (formerly Underwriters Laboratories), National Renewable Energy Lab, the University of Michigan, and Novonix all tell us that Iontra’s technology reduces battery damage and improves charge speed. The reports show that lithium-ion battery charge times can be improved by up to four times the standard rate, cutting down a one-hour charge time to as little as 15 minutes.

Cost-Effective and Easy to Implement

Improving battery life is often a costly investment for manufacturers, requiring new battery chemistries or cell designs for only marginal improvements. But Iontra’s focus on optimizing the charging means significant performance benefits can be brought to existing commercial and pre-commercial batteries like lithium-ion without requiring a specific battery chemistry change or cell redesign. This adaptive charging method is implemented on a microcontroller unit (MCU) Charge-Control chip, with minor charging circuit modifications, making it easy to implement across the enterprise and more cost-effective than undergoing new cell design and qualification.


Daniel Konopka, PhD, is Iontra’s Executive Director and Chief Science Officer.

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