Former Tesla Battery Skilled Main Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Period

I used to be just lately capable of interview Celina Mikolajczak, Chief Battery Expertise Officer at Lyten. Beforehand, she labored with Tesla for greater than 6 years as a prime battery engineer and supervisor. She’s additionally hung out at Panasonic, Uber, and Quantumscape. She’s enthusiastic about bringing lithium-sulfur batteries into a brand new period at Lyten, one wherein they are going to change into crucial to electrical flight, electrical heavy-duty trucking, and extra. Let’s soar into what she informed us for CleanTech Discuss.

After telling us a bit about her intensive and deep background within the lithium-ion battery area (together with main up the “cell high quality” division at Tesla when ramping up the Mannequin S and being the pinnacle of Uber’s battery division within the time period when Uber dabbled with stepping into the {hardware} enterprise and eVTOL plane), Celina Mikolajczak summarized Lyten and its work for us. “Lyten is definitely a supplies firm. We make three-dimensional graphene supplies. They’re totally different than planar graphene. They arrive in all types of various shapes. So, what it does is it means that you can make these supplies work in lots of totally different purposes. So, among the 3D graphenes that we make might be used to light-weight composites; they can be utilized to enhance concrete — simply by being combined in; they can be utilized for quite a lot of totally different sensors as a result of they’ve tremendous excessive floor space — so you are able to do vapor sensing, you are able to do resident sensing. Tremendous fascinating.

“One of many different issues that they’ll do is that they’ll maintain onto different molecules, and for lithium-sulfur batteries, they’ll maintain onto sulfur. Now, what’s a lithium-sulfur battery? It’s sort of like a lithium-ion battery — however solely sort of. Lithium is the ion that strikes forwards and backwards between anode and cathode, however as a substitute of getting a combined steel oxide and NCA like what’s in my Mannequin 3, or an NMC, you utilize sulfur because the cathode — and that’s sort of fascinating. Sulfur is extremely considerable. It’s extremely low cost. So while you discuss wanting to affect every part, the solely method you get there may be with a lithium-sulfur chemistry. As a result of sulfur is so considerable that you would be able to truly do that.” Properly, that’s a daring assertion!

“You recognize, I need to electrify every part, proper? And the solely method you electrify every part is you go to a chemistry like lithium-sulfur, as a result of that’s while you get to a chemistry that may be low cost sufficient that everybody’s automobile can run on a battery, it’s low cost sufficient and considerable sufficient that you would be able to make grid storage and issues like Powerwalls tremendous accessible and considerable. So, with lithium-sulfur, you’re actually going after vitality abundance for the world, which — is superb. It’s additionally tremendous onerous!”

A little bit in a while in our dialog, we bought into the advantages of lithium-sulfur batteries a bit extra. “One of many nice issues about lithium-sulfur is it’s tremendous light-weight,” Celina emphasised. “So, you possibly can check out doubling the vitality densities of a battery with lithium-sulfur in comparison with standard lithium-ion. The volumetric vitality density, mmm, not so good as nickel, however we imagine we are able to make it higher than LFP. So, you’re speaking about vitality densities which might be method past LFP and volumetrically about the identical. That’s superb.

“And while you speak in regards to the Tesla Semi, lithium-sulfur might be going to get its first large-scale implementation in heavy tools and vans. Something that’s massive, the place curb weight issues, lithium-sulfur’s going to be superb for that. … After which, as a result of the worth of sulfur is so low in comparison with nickel, I anticipate that that is going to be the battery that’s going to be the funds possibility — for the common automobile.” She’s referring particularly to one thing that’s a “way more funds automobile” than a Tesla Mannequin 3, just like the a lot mentioned “$25,000” Tesla that’s purported to be coming and even cheaper EVs.

Another spotlight I’ll pull out from the interview comes from the tip of the podcast. I requested Celina what truly hooked her about lithium-sulfur batteries and bought her to change to a concentrate on them. She responded, “The CEO of Lyten bought me to come back out and speak to him and have dinner, and he’s speaking to me about these loopy vitality densities that he can obtain and what prices he thinks he can obtain, and I’m considering, ‘God, the man is nuts, nobody can do that,’ after which I began trying [into] this chemistry and I’m like, ‘Wait, perhaps you can do that.’”

For extra on battery chemistries, battery mineral provide, battery purposes, and lithium-sulfur battery advantages, hearken to the complete podcast. You can too go to the Lyten web site. Celina additionally gave her perspective on forecasts for the lithium-sulfur battery market in coming years and on the place lithium-sulfur battery growth matches relative to the historic growth of different sorts of batteries.

You will discover our CleanTech Discuss podcast on  Spotify, Apple Podcasts / iTunes, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Overcast, Pocket, Podbean, Radio Public, SoundCloud, or Stitcher.


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