Wednesday, January 27, 2010

ExxonMobil's long track record with lithium-ion batteries

ExxonMobil Chemical is involved in developing battery separator film technologies. What I didn’t realize was that Exxon has 20 years experience in lithium-ion battery technology. Melissa Stark, a senior executive with Accenture Energy Strategy’s London office, brought this to my attention during a Jan. 27 media roundtable in Houston.

Stark was in Houston to discuss a report she wrote, “Betting on Science—Disruptive Technologies in Transport Fuels.” That report identifies 12 technologies having the potential to disrupt current transportation fuel supply and demand in the next 10 years.

Separator films are used in personal electronics devices and also support the development of future lithium-ion battery applications in hybrid-electric and electric vehicles. TonenGeneral of Japan is an ExxonMobil affiliate and one of the world’s largest producers of separator film for lithium-ion batteries.

Accenture’s study notes that transport fuels account for about 50% of global primary oil consumption and up to 30% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

When it comes to electrification of vehicles, only lithium-ion batteries currently can provide the necessary power density required for plug-in electric vehicles, Stark said. “However, lithium is expensive, combustible, and scarce,” she said, noting only 11 major producing countries.

International oil companies have dominated the transport fuels industry for decades. Interestingly, Stark sees utilities and battery manufacturers as key players in future transport fuels.

“Utilities have the capital strength and a distribution infrastructure that could make cars running on electricity a reality,” she writes in her report. “Many lithium-ion battery manufacturers are also large global players.”

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Blogger Redpaddock said...

Actually, ExxonMobil's association with Lithium Batteries goes back further than 20 years. The initial discovery and seminal Li-Battery patent was made at Exxon's Corporate Research Laboratories in the mid-1970's by a Dr. M. Stanley Whittingham. See Forbes artile in its November 27, 2008 edition on Energy.

January 28, 2010 at 8:58 AM  

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