Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, a worldwide venture capital firm and SET Venture Partners announced an investment in Epyon B.V. a spin-off company of Delft University of Technology. The Epyon investment is a play in fast charging of lithium-ion battery technology and the selection by the venture firms is based on Epyon’s experience and developments in batteries and super capacitors.

The battery charging technology is based in “intelligent computer controlled per conversion systems” addressing three markets. The big markets are expected to be electric vehicles where Epyon can offer manufacturers and consumers a lower cost of ownership with recharges so fast they compare to a fuel station stop. Next is an on board battery charger solution that would permit a charge wherever an EV or hybrid might be proximate to a grid plug in. Third is a smaller device, a product called a “Flash Pack” that delivers back up power for cell phones, PDAs MP3 players and cameras.

The big prize is the charger for vehicles, and the venture folks know it. Michael Brown of Chysalix says, “Epyon has crucial technology to enable hybrid and electrical vehicles to become more serious alternatives for fuel based vehicles.” Rene Savelsberg of SET Venture Partners said, “Clearly the bottleneck up to now has been the speed of re-charging and that is exactly what Epyon is good at.”

Here’s the “but.”

The press releases were out about 2 weeks ago with comments like “charging times reduced from 5 hours to 15 minutes,” have their links disappeared. Also of note is that for these to work it was suggested that there would be required super capacitors and battery electrolytes of Epyon’s design. The idea that a charger would be smart and address the individual cells in a battery pack isn’t new. Then there is the issue of grid power supplies at rates where what was a longer period coming in a few minutes charging the battery. That makes two issues to work out, the costs to use a proprietary battery and super capacitor technology with a proprietary charger and the matter of grid power to answer the very quick charge demand.

On the other hand, AccelRate of Vancouver, BC, Canada has fast chargers on the market now for Lead acid, Nickel cadmium, Nickel Metal hydride and Lithium ion now. Lead acid charges are reduced from 8-10 hours to 2 hours, NiMh from 2 hours to 20 minutes and Lithium ion from 5 hours to under an hour. Its clear there are improvements here.

AccelRate is more disclosed in that they describe the process in more detail. Using computers and refined algorithms with current reversing to avoid internal resistance buildup they can smoothly and evenly distribute ions over battery plates. In this process the charge rate can be faster and more complete. It’s a kind of battery conditioner while charging technique. These units are available from AccelRate and the new licensees, Hawker Powersource and EnerSys.

That brings us to the competing idea of battery switch outs as suggested in the Project Better Place already backed by Denmark and Israel. The answer to what you might choose is a few years off, but there will be choices.

It’s a likely hood that fast or quick charging is going to be coming and adopted. The issues about when a high load fast or quick charger turning on will be something to be run perhaps by a timer in the overnight hours. We can see today the fully proprietary technology from the battery to the charger may not work out well as the industry of electricity storage is already old and diverse and yet, changing very fast. A full solution that would require a committed investment from beginning to end is gong to be a difficult sell.

All this puts a bright light on recharging. It’s clear that the know-how and machinery can be used to speed it up considerably and there will likely be more improvements to come. The idea to switch out batteries isn’t very appealing to most people so owning, controlling, and charging your own battery set is something the industry has to keep in mind and the progress is encouraging.


6 Comments so far

  1. Hannah Garcia on August 11, 2010 9:57 AM

    may friend had a china made battery charger and it overheated after a week~,`

  2. Brandon Scott on September 30, 2010 10:47 AM

    battery chargers that are made in china are a bit under rated so i don’t use them anymore:”;

  3. Lan Tester  on October 18, 2010 12:01 AM

    some battery chargers are fire harazd so be careful when using one`,;

  4. Kitchen Units · on November 7, 2010 12:50 PM

    most battery chargers do not have an automatic termincation if the batteries are fully charged already .

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