SuperBattery Lowers Charging Times 80% in EV Mining Trucks
The SuperBattery from Skeleton Technologies combines the characteristics of supercapacitors and batteries to help decarbonize heavy industry, including mining operations.
Operating out of its headquarters in Tallinn, Estonia, Skeleton Technologies has raised more than 200 million Euros to develop and commercialize its graphene-based energy storage technology. The company has launched its SuperBattery energy storage solution, along with a new customer partnership with Royal Dutch Shell. Skeleton will work with Shell to apply its SuperBattery technology within Shell’s fleet of off-road vehicles as part of Shell’s larger efforts toward decarbonization and electrification of its mining operations.
An off-road mining vehicle. Image used courtesy of Charge On
The Right Energy Storage Tool for the Job
The SuperBattery fills a niche in the energy storage market that makes it well-suited to electrification of off-road vehicles used for mining. Delivering peak power and fast charging for driving applications of less than 30 minutes, SuperBattery is the right solution for mining vehicles that operate within a limited range and can accommodate more frequent, rapid charging.
Curved graphene materials enable the SuperBattery to charge 100 times faster than lithium-ion batteries normally used for longer-range applications. With a typical charge time of only one minute, charge time per day for a mining truck can be reduced to one hour, more than 80% better than the 6.5 hours per day required when using lithium-ion batteries. The operational efficiencies are potentially significant, with more time dedicated to mining and less to charging the vehicle.
Supercapacitors and SuperBatteries
Skeleton announced development of the SuperBattery two years ago as an energy storage solution that combines the characteristics of supercapacitors and batteries. Supercapacitors, also known as ultracapacitors, offer high power density with rapid charge and discharge times. Conversely, batteries typically have much longer charge and discharge times, but with higher energy densities suited for longer-range applications. The SuperBattery fits in the space between, with higher energy storage capacity than supercapacitors and faster charge and discharge times than traditional chemical batteries such as lithium-ion.
SuperBatteries fill a void for energy storage. Image used courtesy of Skeleton Technologies
Supercapacitors are energy storage devices that can accept and deliver large amounts of energy quickly. Applications include rapid, grid-scale backup power, kinetic energy storage, and redeployment in elevators and other applications that require large amounts of stored energy rapidly.
Protected by more than 30 patents covering raw materials to manufacturing processes, Skeleton’s curved graphene carbon, driven by advances in nanomaterials, is the key to the high-energy density of the firm’s devices.
Curved graphene technology enables high energy densities. Image used courtesy of Skeleton Technologies
SuperBattery is the first non-supercapacitor product for Skeleton and repurposes the same curved graphene technology to develop a hybrid battery solution that meets the needs of short-range (duration of less than 30 minutes) application segments not optimally served by traditional lithium-ion batteries. In addition to much faster charge and discharge times, the SuperBattery offers a higher-power density solution that does not use cobalt, copper, nickel, or graphite.
SuperBatteries compared with lithium-ion ones. Image used courtesy of Skeleton Technologies
Large Market Opportunity Decarbonizing Heavy Industry
More broadly, Skeleton targets the high-power segment of the energy storage market, which the company estimates to be worth about 95 billion Euros globally. Tapping into this opportunity, the company reports it has installed several 100 megawatts of system and module capacity in grid and industrial applications to date.
Skeleton is part of a Shell-led consortium that seeks to decarbonize the mining sector, responsible for 4 percent to 7 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Announced in May 2022, Shell’s Mining Electrification Solutions for Off-Road Vehicles entry, developed by the consortium, was one of eight winners of the mining industry’s Charge On Innovations Challenge, from more than 350 entries.
Electrification of mining operations. Image used courtesy of Skeleton Technologies