Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tesla hires leading researcher to advance its battery technology

Last summer, Tesla's chief technology officer JB Straubel went to Halifax, Nova Scotia, along with a Tesla Model S, to announce a research agreement with Dalhousie University’s Jeff Dahn, American born lithium-ion battery researcher in the Faculty of Science. When Dahn learned of Tesla’s planned Gigafactory, he admitted "I had to be a part of it... It’s the next step."

This attention would eventually help him recruit the best possible graduate students for his team and seal the deal to get on board with Tesla - starting from June 8 - to do "whatever it takes" to improve the company's battery performance, he says in conversation with Tesla's battery director Kurt Kelty.

Dahn is one of the most innovative researchers in batteries, and his defection from a long-standing collaboration with 3M is important. Back in April, Dahn won Canada's Governor General’s Innovation Awards for his work to help increase the amount of energy Lithium-ion batteries can store. He holds the NSERC/Tesla Canada Industrial Research Chair where he focuses on low-cost, long-lifetime Li-ion batteries. Now he will be responsible in accelerating and overcoming any hurdles in the way of producing - in large volume - the next generation batteries for the upcoming Model 3 in late 2017.
A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Dahn is Canada’s most distinguished scientist in the field of advanced batteries. He has authored over 610 refereed journal papers and has had patents issued or filed for 65 inventions. He is known for his outspoken and honest criticism of his won work and his colleagues' inventions. He is a pioneer of one of the world’s leading Li-ion energy chemistry NMC or  Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide - used mostly in power tools, electric bikes and medical instruments - which is often criticized by Elon Musk, a strong supporter of NCA or Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide - known for its high density - championed by Panasonic.

Adding Dahn to the team suggests that Elon Musk is interested in hearing experts' critical opinions on the future of battery development - outside of his own - and willing to include them in accelerating it.
During Elon's unveiling presentation of the Model 3 you can see a 3D Cad rendering of the Model 3 battery cells with 8 modules which look bigger and different than the Panasonic 18650 battery cells used on the Model S & X forming 14 modules. Dahn's addition might be crucial to tweaking or perhaps modifying the structure of future batteries used in Tesla's vehicles.
Dahn told Quartz that at Tesla, he will be seeking the same objectives as everyone in the industry: low cost, high energy density, and long battery life. "Those are the goals, and that’s how we’re going to do it,” Dahn said. “We’re open to anything that makes sense."

Source and images: Quartz

1 comment :

  1. Combine batteries with a capacitor. Capacitors have endless possibilities.