Nikola Truck manufacturer acquires Romeo Power Battery pack maker.

“Nikola Agrees to Acquire Romeo Power, To Bring Battery Pack Engineering and Production In-House

Published August 01, 2022

Acquisition will secure control of critical battery pack engineering and production process

Transaction expected to yield annual cost savings of up to $350 million by 2026

Romeo’s Cypress, California facility will become Nikola’s Battery Center of Excellence”

Water activated disposable paper battery!

More information: Gustav Nyström, Water activated disposable paper battery, Scientific Reports (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-15900-5.

We developed a disposable paper battery aiming to reduce the environmental impact of single-use electronics for applications such as point of care diagnosis, smart packaging and environmental sensing. The battery uses Zinc as a biodegradable metal anode, graphite as a nontoxic cathode material and paper as a biodegradable substrate.

A water-activated disposable paper battery is presented in a proof-of-principle study in Scientific Reports. The authors suggest that it could be used to power a wide range of low-power, single-use disposable electronics—such as smart labels for tracking objects, environmental sensors and medical diagnostic devices—and minimize their environmental impact.

The battery, devised by Gustav Nyström and colleagues, is made of at least one cell measuring one centimeter squared and consisting of three inks printed onto a rectangular strip of paper. Sodium chloride salt is dispersed throughout the strip of paper and one of its shorter ends has been dipped in wax. An ink containing graphite flakes, which acts as the positive end of the battery (cathode), is printed onto one of the flat sides of the paper while an ink containing zinc powder, which acts as the negative end of the battery (anode), is printed onto the reverse side of the paper. Additionally, an ink containing graphite flakes and carbon black is printed on both sides of the paper, on top of the other two inks. This ink connects the positive and negative ends of the battery to two wires, which are located at the wax-dipped end of the paper.

When a small amount of water is added, the salts within the paper dissolve and charged ions are released. These ions activate the battery by dispersing through the paper, resulting in zinc in the ink at the negative end of the battery releasing electrons. Attaching the wires to an electrical device closes the circuit so that electrons can be transferred from the negative end—via the graphite and carbon black-containing ink, wires and device—to the positive end (the graphite-containing ink) where they are transferred to oxygen in the surrounding air. These reactions generate an electrical current that can be used to power the device.

To demonstrate the ability of their battery to run low-power electronics, the authors combined two cells into one battery and used it to power an alarm clock with a liquid crystal display. Analysis of the performance of a one-cell battery revealed that after two drops of water were added, the battery activated within 20 seconds and, when not connected to an energy-consuming device, reached a stable voltage of 1.2 volts. The voltage of a standard AA alkaline battery is 1.5 volts. After one hour, the one-cell battery’s performance decreased significantly due to the paper drying. However, after two more drops of water were added, it maintained a stable operating voltage of 0.5 volts for more than one additional hour.

The authors propose that the biodegradability of paper and zinc could enable their battery to minimize the environmental impact of disposable, low-power electronics. They suggest that the sustainability of the battery can be further increased by minimizing the amount of zinc used within the ink, which also allows the amount of electricity the battery generates to be precisely controlled.

NIO (NYSE: NIO, HKG: 9866, SGX: NIO) will deliver its 150-kWh solid-state battery pack in the fourth quarter, the Securities Times cited the company as saying today, reiterating the electric vehicle maker’s previous plans.

The 150-kWh solid-state pack features a solid electrolyte, silicon-carbon composite anode material, ultra-high nickel cathode material and an energy density of 360 Wh/kg, the report said.

The battery can give the NIO ES8 a range of 850 km, the ES6 900 km and the ET7 an NEDC range of more than 1,000 km, and users can enjoy the battery through a flexible battery upgrade program.

Announcing the flagship sedan NIO ET7 at the NIO Day 2020 event on January 9, 2021, NIO said a 150 kWh solid-state battery will be available for the model starting in the fourth quarter of 2022, giving it an NEDC range of 1,000 km.

NIO has not announced the supplier of the battery, and rumors of who that supplier had surfaced from time to time.

At the China EV 100 forum held on March 27, Beijing WeLion New Energy Technology’s chief scientist and founder, Li Hong, confirmed that the company is NIO’s supplier of semi-solid-state batteries.

WeLion is working with NIO on plans to launch a hybrid solid-liquid electrolyte battery with a range of 1,000 kilometers on a single charge, based on the ET7 model, Li said.

The pack, which has a capacity of 150 kWh and an energy density of 360 Wh/kg, is expected to start mass production by the end of this year or the first half of next year, Li said.

For NIO, the biggest difference between it and other EV makers is that all of its vehicles support easy battery replacement, thus making flexible battery upgrades possible.

On December 5 last year, NIO announced that all customers can upgrade their battery packs on a monthly basis according to their needs. This follows the company’s pilot in several cities, including Urumqi, Shenyang, Xining, Lanzhou, Yinchuan and Hohhot, in July last year.

NIO customers who wish to upgrade their battery packs can choose to do so either permanently, or on an annual or monthly basis.

NIO’s battery packs currently include standard range versions with 70-kWh or 75-kWh capacity, as well as long-range versions with 100-kWh capacity.

On February 17, NIO said that a total of more than 8,700 customers in China had opted for the battery flexibility upgrade.

NIO’s battery upgrade service allows customers to upgrade their batteries on a monthly or annual basis, providing a lower cost, high-capacity battery experience for their personalized trips, NIO said at the time.