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Posted on October 27, 2015 by  & 

Graphene solves the big problems in energy storage

The graphene industry is at a critical juncture for many small to medium sized companies: it is time for them to generate revenues and pre-empt any pending cash flow issues. These companies cannot often afford to take the long view, which many research groups and government are rightly taking.
We however do witness good commercial progress, many leading examples of which will be discussed and exhibited at the Graphene & 2D Materials USA event taking place between November 18 & 19, 2015 in California.
One area of industry focus and progress is energy storage. We estimate that this sector will approach $100m in 2026 - see for further details. In standard Lithium ion batteries, results show that graphene additives can help improve device performance at high discharge rates, primarily by reducing resistive losses. This is why we already see products on the market by several leading players including Cabot Corporation, who will be speaking at the Graphene and 2D Materials USA, part of the IDTechEx Show!

Si anode batteries

Silicon anode batteries are promising advanced Li ion technology. We have studied this market in depth and forecast the market to grow to $4.3bn in 2026 - see for further details. The main challenge here is lifetime/ cyclability. Silicon undergoes huge volumetric changes, causing it to break. A common strategy to address this challenge is to buffer the strain by embedding the silicon nanostructures in carbonous host materials, and graphene has shown promising results. This is why many companies are now working on this, and why we have invited the likes of SiNode Systems to speak at the Graphene & 2D Materials USA USA event.

Lithium sulphur batteries

Lithium sulphur is also an exciting post-lithium ion technology. We forecast this market to become a $1.2bn in 2026 - see for further details. Like silicon anode batteries, this technology also suffers from lifetime/cyclability issues. The mechanism here is different: it is a process called polyshuttle which sees a loss of active materials during the charge/discharge processes. Here too, graphene and graphene oxide (preferred due to better sulphur adhesion!) are showing promising results. We think graphene will find success here when this market emerges and have therefore invited potential end users such as Sion Power and Oxis Energy to speak at our event.

Morphology puzzle

A general question facing the industry is which graphene is best for what energy storage application. There are many energy storage devices, but also many graphene types and morphologies. Making sense of this is not easy and requires many experiments. IIT will be speaking at the Graphene & 2D Materials USA event as they have recently experimentally studied this problem.


Supercapacitors are also a technology on the up. The market is currently experience a set-back because supercapacitors are being designed out of e-buses in China (they are adopting large-sized lithium ion batteries). It is at the same time finding new markets such as stop-start by General Motors. We forecast this market (supercaps and Li capacitors) to grow to more than $2bn by 2020 - see for further details. Graphene can deliver value thanks to its fantastically large surface area although challenges remain in terms of reducing electrode volume and coating the electrodes in such a way that the surface of graphene platelets remain available. We have invited Thales to speak on its graphene for supercapacitor technology as this is an exciting area where rapid progress is being made.
Graphene is therefore useful not only in existing Li ion devices but also in many emerging battery technologies such as Si anode and LiS. The graphene industry is now focusing on this sector, and our event reflects this industry trend. It is worthwhile to remember that CNTs continue to have success as additives in the battery business.
Please do not hesitate to contact me on if you have any questions or want to discuss any aspect of our work. Please also do contact me if you have an interesting technology or application that you think we should be aware of! I hope to see you soon on November 18 & 19, 2015 in California.

Authored By:

Research Director

Posted on: October 27, 2015

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