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Batteries/Nickel-metal hydride 051210
 (July 2005) Inco of Canada opens new joint venture nickel foam plant in Dalian, China.   Nickel foam is a specialty product used in rechargeable batteries, including  batteries (Nickel-metal hydride)  used as a power source for hybrid automobiles.
(Dec 2005)Sanyo Develops Next Generation Nickel-metal hydride Batteries
 Cobasys and Azure Dynamics Corporation cooperate on the development of the hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) using Nickel-metal hydride batteries.   The  battery packs will be utilized in postal and package delivery HEV fleets. Azure currently has a contract with Purolator for the production of up to 2,000 fleet vehicles.   Cobasys will supply their NiMHaxR 336-70 battery system.
 Dell decides to use Nickel-metal hydride batteries in Inspiron 1000 notebooks. Each notebook has an 8-cell Nickel-metal hydride battery, which is about 15 percent cheaper than Lithium-ion,  as its primary power source.   The 8-cell Lithium-ion battery is an additional option.   

Electro Energy  (EEEI) Inc., a manufacturer of bipolar Nickel-metal hydride batteries, goes public in June 2004.
 (Juen 2004) Rayovac Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. complete a technology and manufacturing agreement to develop and market Rayovac’s I-C3 (In-Cell Charge) technology for Nickel-metal hydride batteries. The technology allows Nickel-metal hydride batteries to be recharged in as little as 15 minutes.  Sanyo’s research  development group  has a goal to further refine and develop the I-C3 technology by optimizing Sanyo’s high-capacity technology  in order to extend it to other applications and battery sizes.
 (April 2004) Texaco Ovonic Battery Systems LLC changes its name to COBASYS.  The name change reflects expanding fields for Nickel-metal hydride in automotive and stationary power markets. Its newest family of products include NiMHaxTM for transportation battery systems.  COBASYS is also developing integrated emergency and stand-by power systems for Telecommunications - NiCOMTM and Uninterruptible Power Supply - NiGUARDTM applications.
(October,03)Batteries Power Micro Gastrointestinal Investigator
 (August,03) Nickel-Metal hydride or Nickel-hydorgen?

Word from China may have a language problem here. In a summary from HighTech Materials ( the China Chemical Reporter described an $84.5 million project to produce 10 million  Nickel-hydrogen cells (assumed by BD to be annually.) The cells areto be produced by Baotou Rare Earth New in a joint venture with an unnamed partner. (BD suspects that the news suffers in translation and more likely refers to Nickel-metal hydride cells for three reasons. First, the accepted market for Nickel-hydrogen batteries is limited to space and unique military applications where the relatively high self discharge rate can be accommodated despite the very good cycle life. Such limited applications, with high reliability requirements have made the cells very expensive.

Second, the Chineese government has created a position to promote nickel-metal hydride in electric transportation to help clean up the metropolitan polluted air before the 2008(?) Olympics In Bejing(?). The third reason is that the 10 million cells areto weigh 1500 tones which should be 3 million pounds or 1/3 of a pound each Due to the heavy weght of pressure vessels needed in  Nickel-hydrogen cells, the small weight per cell, also suggests Nickel-metal hydride chemistry.  
(June 2003) Moltech Power Systems is now a tangled web of other companies after filing for bankruptcy, under Chapter 11,  two years ago.

Moltech’s nickel-cadmium and nickel metal hydride battery technology and operations were purchased by  the  Shanghai Huayi Group.  The Chinese company bought Moltech because of the anticipated demand in China for electric bicycles which require rechargeable batteries. Much of the business is being  moved to Shanghai because of lower operating costs and cheaper materials and labor.

However, the Huayi Group did not buy Moltech’s debt which  is approximately $49 million to its creditors.  Those debts were transferred to a court created company called Battery Park Industries, Inc.   Battery Park is working with the bankruptcy court to form a “plan of reoganization” and payments to creditors.   

U.S. Lithium Energetics LLC and Inspired Energy Inc.  have bought Moltech’s Lithium-ion battery technology to start their businesses.  These companies have operations in Moltech’s complex in Florida.  
(April 2003) Panasonic voluntarily recalls 64,000 power tool battery packs made in Mexico. The packs are black and yellow with model numbers EY9230, EY0136, EY9200, EY9106 and EY9201.  Ken Jiles of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the packs contained Nickel-metal hydride batteries.  The packs could  detach during use, strike the operator and cause injury. For more information call 1-800-8339626.
(May 2003) Nickel-metal hydride, For Autos... The Benchmark of Price and Performance
To compete in the marketplace, Lead-acid must look at the benchmarks Nickel-metal hydride has ste to date...
(August,02)Path to fast NiMH charging is...mechanical?

 An alternate method of fast charging Nickel-metal hydride is to incorporate a pressure switch in the body of the cell which opens when the pressure rises. Using the method, cells can be recharged in 15 minutes. The pressure rise begins before the Voltage gradient reversal, making the pressure a very accurate measure of the fully charged cell. The resultant complexity of charger electronics can be reduced and the cell is saved from overvoltage and overtemperatures.EDN, July 11, 2002
(August,02) Rayovac Corp. and Yuasa-Delta Technology, Taiwan, sign a manufacturing and purchasing agreement. Under the agreement, Yuasa-Delta will produce Rayovac’s new I-C3TM rechargeable Nickel-metal hydride batteries and other Nickel-metal hydride products. Rayovac’s patent-pending I-C3 technology puts the control of recharging into the battery, instead of the charger, resulting in batteries that can be recharged in as little as 15 minutes. Rayovac says its I-C3 technology Nickel-metal hydride batteries are designed to be the longest-lasting rechargeable and can last up to four times longer than regular single-use Alkaline in certain applications. It is anticipated that these batteries can be recharged up to 1,000 times. With this technology Rayovac is looking to capture a significant portion of the $5 billion rechargeable-battery industry.
(June-02) Q: What are the chraracteristics of Nickel-based batteries, its dominance and the future?

In the next monthly columns we evaluate the strengths and limitations of nickel, lithium and lead-based battery systems. Each of these batteries offers unique advantages but none provides a fully satisfactory solution. With the increased selection in battery chemistries available, however, better choices can be made to address specific battery needs.Nickel-cadmium and Nickel-metal hydride are similar in many ways, the second being the newer of the two. For the purpose of evaluation, we begin by addressing both systems in this column.The Nickel-cadmium battery
Alkaline nickel battery technology originated in 1899, when Waldmar Jungner invented the Nickel-cadmium battery. The materials were expensive compared to other battery types available at the time and its use was limited to special applications. In 1932, the active materials were deposited inside a porous nickel-plated electrode and in 1947, research began on a sealed Nickel-cadmium battery, which recombined the internal gases generated during charge rather than venting them. These advances led to the modern sealed Nickel-cadmium battery, which is in use today.

Nickel-cadmium prefers fast charge to slow charge and pulse charge to DC charge. It is a strong and silent worker; hard labor with repeated full discharges poses little problem. In fact, Nickel-cadmium is the only battery type that performs well under rigorous working conditions. All other chemistries prefer a shallow discharge and moderate load currents.

Nickel-cadmium does not like to be pampered by sitting in chargers for days and being used only occasionally for brief periods. A periodic full discharge is so important that, if omitted, large crystals will form on the cell plates (also referred to as memory) and the Nickel-cadmium will gradually lose its performance.

Among rechargeable batteries, Nickel-cadmium remains a popular choice for two-way radios, emergency medical equipment and power tools. Batteries with higher energy densities and less toxic metals are causing a diversion from Nickel-cadmium to newer technologies.

Here is a summary of the Advantages and Limitations of Nickel-cadmium batteries
· Fast and simple charge, even after prolonged storage.
· High number of charge/discharge cycles — if properly maintained. Nickel-cadmium provides over 1000 charge/discharge cycles.
· Good load performance — the Nickel-cadmium allows recharging at low temperatures.
· Long shelf life — five-year storage is possible. Some priming prior to use will be required.
· Simple storage and transportation — most airfreight companies accept the Nickel-cadmium without special conditions.
· Good low temperature performance.
· Forgiving if abused — Nickel-cadmium is one of the most rugged rechargeable batteries.
· Economically priced — Nickel-cadmium is lowest in terms of cost per cycle.
· Available in a wide range of sizes and performance options — most Nickel-cadmium cells are cylindrical.
· Relatively low energy density.
· Memory effect —Nickel-cadmium must periodically be exercised to prevent memory.
· Environmentally unfriendly —Nickel-cadmium contains toxic metals. Some countries restrict its use.
· Has relatively high self-discharge — needs recharging after storage
The Nickel-metal-hydride battery
Research on the Nickel-metal-hydride system started in the 1970s as a means of storing hydrogen for the nickel hydrogen battery. Today, nickel hydrogen is used mainly for satellite applications. The system is bulky, requires high-pressure steel canisters and costs thousands of dollars per cell.

In the early experimental days of the Nickel-metal-hydride battery, the metal hydride alloys were unstable in the cell environment and the desired performance characteristics could not be achieved. As a result, the development of Nickel-metal-hydride slowed down. New hydride alloys were developed in the 1980s that were stable enough for use in a cell. Since the late 1980s, Nickel-metal-hydride has steadily improved.
The success of Nickel-metal-hydride has been driven by its high energy density and the use of environmentally friendly metals. The modern Nickel-metal-hydride offers up to 40 percent higher energy density compared to Nickel-cadmium. There is potential for yet higher capacities, but not without some negative side effects.

Nickel-metal-hydride is less durable than the Nickel-cadmium. Cycling under heavy load and storage at high temperature reduces the service life. Nickel-metal-hydride suffers from high self-discharge, which is considerably greater than that of Nickel-cadmium.
Nickel-metal-hydride has been replacing Nickel-cadmium in markets such as wireless communications and mobile computing. In many parts of the world, the buyer is encouraged to use Nickel-metal-hydride rather than Nickel-cadmium batteries. This is due to environmental concerns about careless disposal of the spent battery.

Experts agree that Nickel-metal-hydride has greatly improved over the years, but limitations remain. Most of the shortcomings are native to the nickel-based technology and are shared with the Nickel-cadmium battery. It is widely accepted that Nickel-metal-hydride is an interim step to lithium battery technology.

Here is a summary of the Advantages and Limitations of Nickel-metal-hydride batteries.

· 30 – 40 percent higher capacity over standard Nickel-cadmium. Nickel-metal-hydride has potential for yet higher energy densities.
· Less prone to memory than Nickel-cadmium — fewer exercise cycles are required.
· Simple storage and transportation — transport is not subject to regulatory control.
· Environmentally friendly — contains only mild toxins; profitable for recycling.

· Limited service life — if repeatedly deep cycled, the performance starts to deteriorate after 200 to 300 cycles.
· Limited discharge current — although Nickel-metal-hydride is capable of delivering high discharge currents, heavy load reduces the battery’s     cycle life. Best results are achieved with load currents of 0.2C to 0.5C (one-fifth to one-half of the rated capacity).
· More complex charge algorithm needed — Nickel-metal-hydride generates more heat during charge and requires a longer charge time than the Nickel-cadmium. Trickle charge settings are critical because the battery cannot absorb overcharge.
· High self-discharge — typically 50 percent higher than Nickel-cadmium. New chemical additives have improved self-discharge but at the expense of lower energy density.
· Performance degrades if stored at elevated temperatures — Nickel-metal-hydride should be stored in a cool place and at a state-of-charge of about 40 percent.
· High maintenance — battery requires regular full discharge to prevent crystalline formation. Nickel-cadmium should be exercised once a month, Nickel-metal-hydride once in every 3 months.
Isidor Buchmann, founder and CEO,
Cadex Electronics, Inc.
DOE Grant to Advance ECD Technologies in Russia
(June, 02) The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a $750,000 cost shared grant to Sovlux Battery, the joint venture of ECD with Russia’s Chepetsky Mechanical Plant. The effort will be focused on metal-hydride technology for the Russian market. The grant was awarded under the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention Program to employ Russian scientists and engineers formerly engaged in nuclear weapons work.
Advanced Battery Technology
April 2002, pp. 1-2

(May, 02) Rayovac develops new rechargeable technology, the I-C3 technologyTM (In-cell Charge Control). The patent-pending I-C3 puts the control of recharging into the battery instead of the charger. Rayovac states that the new I-C3 Nickel-metal hydride AA size batteries in digital cameras will deliver up to four times more shots than an Alkaline battery and more than any comparable size Lithium-ion battery, based on current American Standards Institute (ANSI) battery tests. In devices such as power tools and emerging technologies (i.e. escooters), this new battery system is projected to last 20 percent longer than any current rechargeable battery. With this technology, charging time should be only 15 minutes or less.

Rayovac is currently evaluating options for strategic partnerships with major OEMs. Retail products are expected to be introduced by mid-to-late 2003. Rayovac hopes to capture a greater share of the $5 billion rechargeable battery industry. Currently, Rayovac is the number one selling rechargeable brand in the U.S. with a 75 percent marketshare, according to data from A.C. Nielsen, which monitors battery sales in food, drug and discount stores.

Rayovac also has a goal to increase its presence in the European market. In late March, David Jones, chairman and chief executive officer, said to analysts and investors, “In Europe we have a small business that is growing significantly. It’s very profitable, but it only has 4 percent market share.” He continued to say that Rayovac will need a 15 percent European market share. Mr. Jones also predicted that in the next three to five years, Rayovac, Energizer Holdings, Inc., Panasonic and Gillette’s Duracell unit would be the only four makers of batteries for consumers.

(March, 02)Energy Conversion Devices (ECD), Inc. receives U.S. DOE funding to advance their technologies in Russia. The $750,000 cost-shared grant was awarded to Sovlux Battery, ECD’s U.S.-Russian joint venture with Chepetsky Mechanical Plant in Glazov, Russia and the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom) for further development of ECD’s metal hydride technology to provide clean energy for the Russian market.

(Feb,01) Saft builds Nickel-metal hydride batteries for the self-balancing motorized scooter.

The two-wheeled scooter uses arrays of gyroscopes and computers to mimic the human body’s sense of balance. Invented by Dean Kamen in his research firm, DEKA Research and Development Corp., the new revolutionary scooter is being marketed by Segway LLC. Segway has chosen to name this mobile machine, the Segway Human Transporter. Two types of “Segways” are currently being tested; one is an industrial model which has the ability to carry cargo, and the other is a “people mover” for dense pedestrian environments.

(Feb,01) Saft Launches High Capacity D-Cell Battery

Saft is selling a D-cell rated at 8500 mAh, considered the largest capacity for a D cell on the market today. Energy density is 66 Wh/kg. Intended markets are in pro-video, lighting products, home appliances, and medical areas. The high power capacity makes it suitable for electric bikes, scooters, power tools, lawn tools and R/C models.

Battery Power Products & Technology
December 2001. p. 1