New Czech nano battery may revolutionize EVs

Czech inventor working on smaller battery to store more energy

Published: January 22, 2017, 9:30 PM
Updated: January 26, 2017, 7:19 PM

Jan Prochazka shows battery size

A Czech inventor is hoping to revolutionize the way we store electrical energy, translating into big changes for home and automotive uses.

Jan Procházka has designed a nano battery that is not only smaller and lighter but which can also store more power and charge more quickly. This could theoretically lead to home electricity-generating solutions, since a building could store power for future use (instead of the current reality of having to use power as it is made) and allow longer ranges for electric vehicles (which could store more power in a smaller battery, and recharge that battery more quickly).

The secret to Procházka’s invention (which has reportedly been in the works since 2009) is the make-up of the battery itself, with an inorganic nano layer creating a battery made up like a sandwich, rather then the current design of, basically, a canister. The design can make a smaller battery that holds as much energy as current batteries, or similarly sized batteries that hold more.

In fact, his company HE3DA has set up a production line in the north of Prague to make the two kinds of batteries — a strong, slow loading battery which could be used in homes or businesses to store energy captured through solar panels or windmills, and a smaller, faster charging battery for use in electric vehicles (which could also be bigger for use in busses or transport trucks).

And Procházka says his battery is eight times cheaper to manufacture, and considerably more durable (as depicted in a promotional video where he attacks one with a sledgehammer and a power drill). The downside is that his production line has limited capacity, capable of producing just 10 MWh per year (which would be the equivalent of about 42 Nissan Leaf batteries).

HE3DA is hoping to secure investments to build a larger facility in Ostrava, to allow expansion to produce 250 MWh annually. By comparison, the Tesla Gigafactory outside Reno, is expected to have an annual capacity of 35 GWh (14 times greater) by 2020.

And there are reportedly more expansion plans (and investments), with the company looking to set up other facilities in Slovakia, Germany and Spain, with the ultimate goal of licencing the technology and manufacturing around the globe, as demand dictates.