A solid-state rechargeable battery developed at the University of Colorado, Boulder, could double the range of electric vehicles, according to engineers at Solid Power LLC, a UC-Boulder spinoff intended to develop and commercialize the battery. Unlike current lithium-ion batteries -- which use a liquid electrolyte between the anode and cathode -- the battery uses a ceramic electrolyte and an all-solid-state composite cathode based on a low-cost iron-sulfur chemistry (see figure below). Prototypes for field testing are expected within 18 and 24 months.
The technology behind Solid Power's solid-state battery features a cathode chemistry that forms a composite cathode with a capacity said to be nearly triple that used in lithium-ion batteries. For more, see the presentation, "Solid State Cell Chemistries and Designs" by Solid Power co-founder Dr. SeHee Lee.
A recent report from Navigant Research forecasts that sales of energy harvesting devices will grow to 18.7 million units by 2020 from fewer than 10 million units in 2013. The report, "Energy Harvesting," analyzes existing and emerging energy harvesting technologies and considers nine end-use consumer and industrial applications.
Another recent report from Navigant Research forecasts that worldwide revenue from remote microgrids will grow to more than $8.4 billion in 2020 from $3.1 billion in 2013. The report, "Remote Microgrids," cites the high costs for existing energy services in many areas and the declining costs for solar photovoltaics and other renewable, distributed energy generation technologies as the primary drivers for the expected growth.
New product announcements include a lithium battery cell monitoring IC from ams AG that is claimed to reduce hardware and software requirements in battery cell management systems. Suitable for all lithium-based cell chemistries, the AS8506 enables autonomous cell balancing, simultaneous cell voltage comparison, and simplified readout of cells.
A smart-grid reference platform from Maxim Integrated is based on the company's Zeus metering SoC. The Capistrano Smart Meter Design Platform integrates four processors -- an applications processor, a metering microcontroller, a metering front-end/DSP, and a security coprocessor -- and features advanced cryptography, physical attack detection, and lifecycle security schemes.
Intersil has introduced a core controller solution for powering Intel VR12.5 central processors. The ISL95816 PWM controller IC has a 4.6 to 19 V input range and can operate in four-, three-, two- or one-phase configurations.
An envelope-tracking DC/DC converter from Texas Instruments is claimed to be the most efficient such solution to support 3G/4G LTE multimode, multiband RF power amplifiers. The LM3290 step-down converter, along with its companion LM3291 linear amplifier, enables maximum transmit output power independent of the input battery voltage and is system controlled by MIPI RFFE 1.1.
Dialog Semiconductor announced a 16-channel LED backlight driver for enhancing picture quality in next-generation 2D and 3D LCD TVs. The iW7025 features a dynamic external boost or buck controller interface channel matching of ±2% and external LED current sinks.
Finally, International Rectifier introduced a new DirectFET2-packaged power MOSFET for heavy-load automotive applications. The 40 V AUIRF8736M2 is claimed to offer a 40 percent improvement in Rds(on) compared to previous devices.