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Panel Discussion on The Evolution and Future of Battery Charging Technology

Panel Discussion on The Evolution and Future of Battery Charging Technology

The Evolution and Future of Battery & Charging Technology

Imagine a world where your devices never run out of power, cars charge in the blink of an eye, and clean energy storage is as commonplace as a cup of coffee. While we’re not quite there yet, the horizon is shimmering with electric promise. 

At the Future of Electrification 2023 conference, Conway Hui, Director of Sales Application Engineering at Delta-Q Technologies, led a focused panel discussion on the topic: The Evolution and Future of Battery & Charging Technology.

Featuring Chris Botting, Manager of Research Engineering at Delta-Q Technologies, Luca Vezzadini, Applications Engineer at Zivan, and Erik Stafl, President of Stafl Systems, the lively analysis sparked curiosity and charged imaginations.

Tracing the Arc of Battery and Charging Innovations 

Before lithium-ion, discussions on battery technology were relatively one-dimensional, limited to industry insiders.

Today, the advent of lithium-ion and the growing emphasis on sustainability thrusts battery technology into the limelight. New questions arise:

  • How do we optimize battery lifespan?
  • What options are there for sustainable battery recycling?
  • When will we see a major breakthrough following lithium-ion? 

These questions, among others, shape the foundation of the panel discourse.

Possibilities Beyond Lithium-ion

While lithium-ion batteries have certainly revolutionized the status quo, this transformative technology did not rise to fame overnight. In fact, battery advancements have historically benefited from gradual evolution, careful fine-tuning, and incremental improvements—rather than groundbreaking, rapid progress—and lithium-ion is no exception. 

Thus, experts are not anticipating that another technology will replace lithium-ion in the next decade. Rather, the focus is on refining the existing lithium-ion foundation and optimizing performance based on known limitations and boundaries.

Thermal Management in Modern Battery Systems

With rising voltage demands, the spotlight shines brighter on advanced battery management systems (BMS) and charging technologies, particularly in managing temperatures. Thermal control is essential, especially in vehicles and large machinery, as heat significantly impacts battery longevity. 

  • Air cooling – The most economical solution.
  • Liquid cooling – Superior efficiency, but introduces complexity and cost.
  • Passive cooling – Viable depending on use case and off-duty cycles.
  • Phase-change material – Emerging as a promising alternative.

Besides cooling, it is also essential to consider heating. Lithium-ion chemistries struggle with ionic mobility at low temperatures, underscoring the need for comprehensive thermal management from the BMS.

Solid-State Batteries and the Advent of Fast Charging 

Solid-state batteries, with variations ranging from gel electrolyte semi-solids to glass or ceramic separators, uniformly employ a non-permeable separator. This design choice is strategic, curbing the growth of lithium dendrites. This, in turn, safeguards against soft shorts that could progress to dangerous hard shorts or even fires.

A key advantage of solid-state batteries is their swift charging capabilities. This is particularly significant for the electric vehicle (EV) sector, as concerns regarding rapid charging potentially degrading battery life have been largely debunked. Research indicates that the degradation rate from fast charging is a mere 0.1% more than standard charging techniques.

Notably, there are no theoretical limits to how fast batteries can be charged, only practical ones. Solutions to such limitations involve: 

  • Navigating internal resistance and ionic mobility.
  • Guaranteeing efficient heat dissipation.
  • Securing consistent power supply in industrial-scale application

While challenges like heat management remain solvable, others, like the weight and expense of materials such as copper or the complexities of liquid-cooled cabling, continue to set the boundaries of innovation.

The Promise and Challenges of Wireless Charging

Wireless charging, while a novelty in the consumer electronics sector, presents challenges when scaled up for more significant applications, particularly in two areas:

  1. Prohibitive costs due to extra integrations and complexity.
  2. Unavoidable efficiency losses.

Wireless charging suffers from a notable loss of efficiency across any air gapcharge—an issue that becomes more pronounced in larger kilowatt settings. It also requires the integration of an extra power converter and expanded DC-DC connection, further complicating the process.

There are nonetheless specific scenarios where the benefits might outweigh the downsides. 

Environments subject to dirt, corrosion, or extreme wear, such as mining operations or lawn mowing tasks, could potentially benefit from wireless charging. In such conditions, conventional contact points may deteriorate rapidly, necessitating more frequent maintenance and care. 

Such wireless charging applications, while niche, may offer a cost-effective solution, though little else to the broader industry.

Sustainability in Battery and Charging Technology

As the world pivots away from fossil fuels, renewable electric solutions and the sustainability quotient of battery and charger technologies come under increased scrutiny. Questions emerge:

  • What’s the most effective way to recycle batteries and chargers?
  • When does a battery truly reach its end of life?
  • How can we mitigate lithium waste?

Such questions unravel intricate issues. Despite the push against fossil fuels, battery production still demands mining of ores, often transported via traditional combustion-powered means. And lithium, central to these batteries, isn’t recyclable in a conventional sense but rather extractable, a process again tethered to fossil fuels.

Still, there are innovative solutions are on the horizon:

  • Battery repurposing – As batteries age, they can be redeployed in less demanding roles, extending their usable lifespan.
  • Hydrometallurgy – Immersing spent batteries in neutral fluids can methodically discharge them, preparing for secure handling and potentially repurposing the raw materials.
  • Elemental separation – Advanced grinding processes can segregate elemental compounds, offering a scalable, mechanized recycling avenue.

Certain recycling techniques might mature to a point where reclaiming end-of-life batteries becomes lucrative purely for their raw material content, reminiscent of lead-acid battery recycling. As it stands, lithium-ion batteries increasingly utilize less cobalt, diminishing their residual value and affecting recycling incentives. 

The primary task now is to design batteries built for longevity and simplified disassembly. Further efforts can be made to encourage a culture of reuse and recycling—a philosophy extending to charging technologies as well.

Prioritizing Energy Efficiency in Battery Design

Tying into the overall discussion of sustainability, the focus on energy efficiency sharpens, aiming to prolong battery life and curtail wastage. But as lithium-ion technologies approach their performance zenith, there are boundaries to achieving greater efficiency.

Instead of pushing against the limits where benefits taper off, the emphasis shifts to mitigating losses elsewhere.

A prime concern is the “phantom draw”—wherein inactive battery management systems (BMS) continue to leech minuscule energy quantities. These small inefficiencies, though seemingly negligible, accumulate over time, affecting the battery pack’s overall state of charge (SOC). 

Addressing such overlooked issues is integral to the next phase of energy-efficient design.

Powering Progress: The Future of Battery and Charging

Far from marking an end, the developments in lithium-ion inaugurate a unique beginning for battery and charging technology. And as global initiatives and environmental mandates intensify the urgency to curtail carbon emissions, electrification pushes ahead with newfound momentum. 

Though progress may be measured in subtle strides, each step accumulates, promising an aggregate shift towards a brighter, eco-friendlier future.

Written By:

Delta-Q Technologies

Delta-Q Technologies (Delta-Q) is charging the future and driving the world’s transition to electric energy. They collaboratively design, test, and manufacture robust battery chargers that improve the performance of our customer’s electric drive vehicles and industrial machines. As the supplier of choice for Tier 1 OEMs, their customer support and engineering expertise guide their customers through the electrification process for a sustainable world. Delta-Q, a ZAPI GROUP company, is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. The company’s team and its distributors span five continents and service industries such as electric golf cars, lift trucks, aerial work platforms, e-mobility, floor care machines, utility/recreational vehicles, and new markets, like construction and outdoor power equipment. Please visit their website for news and resources at, or follow company updates on Twitter and LinkedIn for more information.