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Rong Liangbin from OptimumNano: Fast charging is imperative, the advance of traction battery parallels energy storage


On August 16th, 2017 Asian Traction Battery and Energy Storage Technology Summit (namely the promotion of new materials, technology application and industrialization of traction battery forum) was held in Canton Fair complex in Guangzhou, on which the representatives of some traction battery enterprises like OptimumNano, Yinlong and Lision all delivered speeches. The forum aims at the breakthrough on the core generic technology through pool efforts by integrating government, academic, capital and industrial resources, and it intended to accelerate the promotion and application of core technology of traction battery, improve the productivity scale of high-end product, and facilitate benign development of new energy industry, pushed by capital and national policy.

The ongoing 2017 Asian Traction Battery and Energy Storage Technology Summit

After the summit, reporters from EnergyTrend and VehicleTrend interviewed Dr. Rong Liangbin, the assistant to the dean of OptimumNano Battery Research Institute, which is summarized as the following.

The booth of OptimumNano

Dr. Rong Liangbin (second from right) and reporters from EnergyTrend and VehicleTrend

Q: Could you please introduce the main product of OptimumNano at present and its relevant technical indicators?
A: Fast charging traction battery is mainly popularized now, whose monomer cell can reach 1,000 circulation with 6C full charge-discharge, and 8,000 times with common shallow charge-discharge, while the whole pack can achieve above 80% charged in 20 to 30 minutes. The regular working temperature of the battery pack is between -20℃ to 60℃, under which 90% can be discharged. Now the buses using OptimumNano can function properly in Changchun (Jilin province) and Hohhot (Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region). Besides, OptimumNano batteries are also sold with 8-year quality guarantee, free maintenance during the period, which are mainly used for electric bus, cargo van, heavy truck, etc.

Q: Centering on LFP battery, does OptimumNano have plan on R&D of ternary lithium in the future?
A: Considering about the high security and comparable stability of LFP, OptimumNano mainly use LFP battery now. Although we do not have production line for ternary lithium at present, we have already prepared relevant technical reserve, which can be adjusted once needed.

Q: What is the direction of OptimumNano traction battery? Is there any breakthrough on the technology?
A: The main products of OptimumNano are fast-charging and energy batteries at this stage. Actually traction batteries can be evaluated according to four dimensions including fast charge and discharge, driving range, temperature adaptability and service life of battery. At present the industry all committed to improve charge/discharge rates and driving range, that is energy density issue, and OptimumNano is no exception. We are already ahead of the industry in the field of fast-charging, and certainly we are also going to seek breakthrough in the two aspects.

Q: It is known that OptimumNano Industrial Innovation Alliance was established in 2016. Could you please introduce the alliance and the role OptimumNano plays in the alliance?
A: OptimumNano Industrial Innovation Alliance contains raw materials from upstream, core spare parts, equipment manufacturing, vehicle manufacturing, and operation platform, financial services, and industrial alliance of universities and scientific institutions related to new energy vehicles. There are more than 1,000 enterprises in the alliance, and we pull together. OptimumNano plays as an initiator, leading the benign development of the alliance. 

Q: How do you think of the controversial topics of fast-charging and battery-changing?

A: First, let' s talk about battery-changing. Since vehicle design need to be considered in battery-changing mode, it might be feasible for electric bus, but as for passenger vehicles, it is difficult to unify on account of diverse design technologies because: 1) less compatibility among spare parts would lower the performance of the car, which brings a lot of limitations; 2) it will cause great difficulty on transportation since batteries for EV are large and heavy. I think battery-changing is undesirable at the moment.

Nevertheless, using fast-charging can avoid the above problems, and it is imperative. Every enterprise is constructing charging piles. The internal OptimumNano alliance has also constructed charging circuit from Shiyan (Hubei province) to Hohhot (Inner Mongolia), serving electric cargo van. The northern line 'Shiyan—Linfen (Shanxi province)—Hohhot' is already open to traffic, while the southern line 'Shiyan—Wuhan—Changsha—Shenzhen' is also in construction. The eastern 'Wuhan—Liu 'an (Anhui province)—Hefei (Anhui province)' and the northeastern Bohai Bay line 'Taiyuan—Tainjin—Tangshan (Hebei province)—Dalian (Liaoning province)' are also in the plan. Relying on some new energy vehicle production bases like Shiyan, Shanxi Yuncheng, Shandong Zibo, we intend to construct a national departure charging network, which also connects with some major logistics hubs, aiming at a national electric cargo van shipping route. Besides, we also release mobile charging car that can be called at any time to adjust power distribution.

OptimumNano mobile charging car

Q: What is the impact of the latest three national traction battery standards on your production line?
A: The national standards regulate the order of industry, and also enhance the practicability of the process from design to recycle at the same time, lowering the cost. OptimumNano batteries basically conform to the size requirement of relevant standard, without much adjustment on production line. Also, our output product is not battery cell but battery pack, and we have brought out various standardized body designs that suits different cars to response standardization. We applied coding system at very early stage, so that all of our products can be traced back, and we will also actively respond to the national standardized coding system. Moreover, the establishment of national recycle and detection standard regulates the detection method towards EV waste traction battery, which will obviously benefit the use of traction battery and the development of lithium energy storage industry.

Q: Energy storage is a hot topic at present, whereas the market still not erupt actually. Which link do you think is the point?
A: Energy storage is quite popular, as well as an indispensable part of energy ecology. Now the main product in the market is still lead-acid battery, and the reasons that lithium market does not erupt may lie in the cost and industry norms. In fact, considering of the cost, part of storage products derive from EV traction batteries. In person, energy storage equipment has certain demand towards the conformity of battery cell. Poor conformity of retired battery results in deviation. In an energy storage equipment, if one of the cell remains 80% SOC (state of charge), the other 70%, the gap is huge. Although there is relevant threshold, and we also have strategies and products aiming at energy storage market, specific situation of recycled batteries still need detection, which costs a lot. Apart from that, national policy orientation is a practical problem, stimulating and guiding the development of industry to a great extent.

Q: Recycle of traction battery is another hot topic, and there are many companies specializing in it. What about the situation and direction of it in OptimumNano? Is there any specific layout towards energy storage?  
A: Answering the national call, OptimumNano insists on sellers are responsible for recycle. Retired traction batteries will be strictly filtered, used for energy storage and recycled. We also have cooperation with companies focus on battery and material recycle. Now about the use of retired battery, OptimumNano has released mobile charging car which is like a small “charging station”, serving as a distributed energy-storage power supply or an emergency power supply whose function is to fast charge for EV anywhere and anytime. OptimumNano has already have layout overseas in energy storage market. Besides, we also use retired batteries for 1 MWh energy storage power station in case of emergency, in order to exploring the route of echelon use of traction battery again, and is also in implementation. 

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