The integrated circuits-based information technology (IT)   revolution that started in the 20th century is still playing a very important role in every aspect of human lives in the 21st century.  The success of the mobile phone revolution has been largely  due to the availability of ultra-high performance and affordable cost of lithium ion batteries. The use of photovoltaics (PV) and batteries results in a local direct current (DC) powered network that is resilient, reliable, sustainable and economical as the cost of solar power has decreased to levels lower than any other electricity-generating source, and the cost of batteries has reached a point that an energy revolution similar to the IT revolution is on the way.

Rajendra Singh_001

Rajendra Singh

Dr. Rajendra  Singh, the Clemson University D. Houser Banks Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Automotive Engineering , and  former Ph.D. student Dr. Amir A. Asif have published a paper titled “Further Cost Reduction of Battery Manufacturing”,   in the journal  Batteries ( Batteries 2017, 3(2), 17; 2017 doi:10.3390/batteries3020017 ). Singh is a veteran of the photovoltaic industry and a 2014 White House Champion of Change for solar deployment.

Electrochemical batteries have emerged as the preferred choice for most of the consumer product applications. In order to curb dependence on fossil fuel and reduce carbon emissions, the world is leaning more towards solar and wind for electricity generation, and also towards electric vehicles (EVs) for surface transportation. Both of these sectors have high degrees of correlation with battery cost and performance. Due to advancements in technology and volume manufacturing, the cost of lithium ion batteries is following the cost reduction path of photovoltaic modules.  Recently Audi reported the cost of batteries as 100 euros or about $112 per kilowatt hour. The demand for batteries for energy storage is growing rapidly due to adaption of electric vehicles  by people all over the world. Battery storage also provides a solution to intermittency and variability issues associated with solar and wind energies. Bringing the cost of batteries below $100 per kilowatt hour will accelerate the growth of EVs as well as solar and wind energies.

Process variation in manufacturing is one of the key factors that reduces optimal battery performance and leads to higher manufacturing cost. There is room for improvement in controlling the process variations observed in battery manufacturing. These properties can be improved and made uniform by considering the electrical model of batteries and adopting novel manufacturing approaches. Using quantum-photo effect, the incorporation of ultra-violet (UV) assisted photo-thermal processing can reduce metal surface roughness. Using in-situ measurements, advanced process control (APC) can help ensure uniformity among the constituent electrochemical cells. Industrial internet of things (IIoT) can streamline the production flow. In this article, the authors have examined the issue of electrochemical battery manufacturing of lithium-ion and solid-state type from cell-level to battery-level process variability, and proposed potential areas where improvements in the manufacturing process can be made. By incorporating these practices in the manufacturing process we expect reduced cost of energy management system, improved reliability and yield gain with the net saving of manufacturing cost being at least 20 percent.

And batteries result in a local direct current (DC) powered network that is resilient, reliable, sustainable and economical, as the cost of solar power has decreased to levels lower than any other electricity-generating source, and the cost of batteries continues to decline at a rapid pace. The local DC power network is the ideal solution to create electricity infrastructure to meet the need of electric vehicle- (EV) based transportation sector.  Autonomous vehicles based on electrical power will provide “personal mobility,” which will be a driver of a disruptive digital economy in the 21st century.  In this paper, the transformative role of PV in transport sector, including proof of concept data of PV-based DC power network in transportation sector, will be presented.