Engineering Fundamentals: Is Moore’s Law the Wright One? Battery Tech Hopes So

Will Moore’s Law yield to the Wright one for battery technology?
By John Blyler – Scientific laws describe observed phenomena, like Newton’s Law of Gravity. Engineering “laws” tend to focus on design or manufacturing processes, such as Moore’s Law. Although this most famous of engineering laws is really a corollary to a more comprehensive principle (as we’ll see shortly), it is nevertheless so well known that non-semiconductor experts refer to it often in their predictions. For example, several technology advocates have lamented the lack of a Moore’s Law equivalent in the automotive battery space.

“There is a focus (in the battery market) on halving cost while doubling energy density in the next three years,” observed Michael Doyle, Corporate Fellow in Material Sciences in the Dassault Systemes Strategy and Research Team. The specific reference to doubling within a particular time frame mimics Gordon Moore’s famous design and manufacturing law predictions. But let’s see what is behind Doyle’s statement for trends in battery technology.

What drives this desire for the doubling of density every three years (as opposed to 18 months with semiconductor nodes)? Several issues explained Doyle. Cost is one driver. The reality is that $50,000 for a new car is not an everyman or mass-market solution. So, costs will have to come down, hence the halving prediction. Fortunately, a scale price reduction has been a common occurrence in the semiconductor and automotive sectors. Of course, these sectors are not mutually exclusive as automobiles are dependent upon semiconductors and related technologies. more>

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