Various Forcasts for Battery Improvements

Anyone knowledgeable on energy storage technology who gives advice on investing in, say, copper, might be wondering about future advances in
battery technology.
No one can predict names, dates or improvements but time-profiles of the most plausible developments may be useful.
Fix cost/watt-hr and plot energy density vs time.
or
Fix efficiency and plot cost-watt-hr vs. time.
or
and so on.
Bret Cahill
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<http://www.ec.gc.ca/nopp/docs/rpt/battery/en/c7.cfm Since the first battery prototype developed in the late 19th century, the basic battery design has not changed significantly; only the chemistries have evolved. Introduction of new chemistry composition, such as lithium ion, has improved battery life but has not solved the demand. In fact, for most batteries, it is believed that they have been optimized to reach their maximum output and lifespan. This especially applies to primary batteries and nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries. Conventional batteries are falling behind the demand for more battery "juice". It does not appear, however, that the lithium-ion battery has reached its maximum charge limit. Recent announcements by Sony and Matsushita (which makes Panasonic batteries) claim to have improved the life of the lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery by up to 30%.
<http://www.ec.gc.ca/nopp/docs/rpt/battery/en/c7.cfm#s7_3 To date, there have been no revolutionary advancements in battery design, but this may soon change with the introduction of the micro fuel cell battery. In recent years there has been a flurry of activity as the battery industry focuses its research efforts on the micro fuel cell. The fuel cell shows promise in being able to deliver higher energies over a longer period of time. Instead of hoping for a laptop that stays charged for eight hours, fuel cell proponents are hoping that battery life can increase two to ten fold. It is estimated that more than 60 companies are competing to develop the micro fuel cell battery, including IBM, Motorola, Toshiba and NEC.
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There are advances in solid state & thin film batteries. Check out the technologies of
www.excellatron.com
Kitty
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Getting the grid entirely on solar and wind seems somewhat less daunting now.
If it actually cycles 40K times then it can cost an order of magnitude more/charge and still be competitive for some applications, stationary energy storage, semi-trolly buses and tractors.
Even sharing a commuter vehicle with with a quarter ton battery that needs to be recharged every 200 miles would be preferable to many solutions.
Bret Cahill
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wrote:>There are advances in solid state & thin film batteries. Check out the

6 years of research. 10,000 prototypes. Production capacity of 100,000 batteries per month.
You'd think they might have a product one of these years.
John
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There's also this company with their silver-zinc battery technology:
http://www.zpowerbattery.com /
The only thing I know for sure is that they're close to where I live. I don't like going into Camarillo, because every time I do, I start singing the song Camarillo Brillo by Frank Zappa.
"She had a snake for a pet, and an amulet, and she was breeding a dwarf, but it wasn't done, yet. She had grey-green skin ... a doll with a pin. I told her she was alright, but I couldn't come in."
See what I mean?
Bob
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== All google group posts are automatically deleted due to spam ==



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Sounds like Edison's light bulb effort.
Of course, if the technology is twice as challenging as getting a filament white hot then they are only half way there.
Bret Cahill
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On Sun, 17 Aug 2008 07:58:23 -0700 (PDT), Bret Cahill

Batteries must haul around both chemical reactants, and the resulting waste products. Both electrodes must be electrically conductive, which is chemically tricky... metals don't react well with other metals.
So far, all batteries eventually destroy themselves.
What's even worse, batteries must be recharged electrically; bummer.
John
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The thin film people claim they can cycle 40K losing only 5% of initial capacity.

What's worse is they destroy themselves. The electricity is less than half the cost of the battery over it's lifetime.
Even a low efficiency energy storage system that can cycle an order or magnitude or more than conventional batteries could be more cost effective.
Anyway all this dodges the issue:
What are some plausible battery breakthrough scenarios?
Or is the field dead?
Bret Cahill
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On Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:13:24 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@peoplepc.com wrote:

Claims are cheap [1]. Let me know when they're in the Mouser catalog.
John
[1] Unless you're a 3F investor; then they can get very expensive.
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That was what I was asking the group.
When do you think what will be where?
Bret Cahill
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There seem to be moderate improvements with some breakthroughs in all important aspects of rechargeable batteries : energy density, power density, (deep) cycle life, cycle efficiency, cost, safety etc. But it's nothing like what Moore's law does in microelectronics.
When thinking about future battery developments, one interesting fact stands out like a sore :
The actual energy density obtained for packaged batteries today is FAR lower than the theoretical specific energy density !
I've long scratched my head why that is. This site talks about that difference briefly : http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id 595&page$
I can understand that container, electrode support, connectors, diluted electrolyte, unreacted materials etc would reduce the capacity to 75% or so of theoretical. But it's much worse than that. Most types get only 15-25% of their theoretical capacity !
For example, molten salt Na-NiCl2 cells (ZEBRAs) used to be spec'ed at 90 Wh/kg, recently enhanced by MESA to 120 Wh/kg. A moderate improvement, similar to what we see with development of other battery types. In contrast, the theoretical energy density of a Na-NiCl2 cell is 790 Wh/kg. 790 Wh/kg !!!! That is some 5-6 times higher than current best Li-ion's !!
ZEBRAs are made from very cheap materials : Nickel and NaCl (table salt) and a little bit of aluminum (at the basics). So just imagine if we could make a ZEBRA that gets even HALF of its theoretical capacity !! Combined with a reasonable power-density and good cycle lifetime, that would completely change (read 'solve') the economics of battery driven vehicles. It would open up a multi-billion dollar market ! Talking about incentives !
This brings up an interesting issue : Reducing the 'inactive' material in rechargeable batteries is an engineering task, and not a task that requires scientific breakthroughs. So, for future developments, I expect gradual improvement of existing battery types over time as engineers find more optimal ways to make the chemistry work with less and less inactive material in the cell.
From an investment point of view, Lithium (metal) is probably the safest bet to invest in (or buy lithium carbonate futures if they exist). Once we start using Lithium for hybrids/PHEVs in large volume, the price of Lithium will likely go through the roof rather fast. Even without Lithium cells used for hybrids, the world's 'easily harvested' Lithium supplies are pretty limited, and could even be peaking pretty soon, and that is why I don't believe that large-scale use of Lithium-ion for electric drive vehicles is smart. But as an investment it should be (pretty succesfull).
My 2 cts
Rob
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wrote:

I don't think I want to drive a car that's lugging around a hundred kilograms of liquid sodium at 300C or so. Or wait two days or so for it to warm up. Or wait a couple of hours to recharge it.
It's admittedly a little more appealing than a sodium-sulphur battery.
Gasoline-powered cars work great, and don't need to be fixed. As the price of gas goes up, people will be discouraged from driving hideous beasts like Expeditions and Escalades and Ram trucks; fine by me.
John
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John,
My point was about battery development in general ; that engineering has a lot of room to play with until theoretical limits are obtained in current cell chemistries.
Your comment is specifically on the Zebra, but seems rather uninformed. But since you brought it up, here goes :
The Zebra has been tested by NREL and found to be safe under all fail conditions : http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/servlets/purl/7101-0by8BY/native/7101.PDF Regarding the liquid sodium : Noone (including NREL) has been able to rapture the cell and get liquid sodium out. The explanation : the sodium will immediately react with the clorine ions when the cell is ruptured, creating....NaCl (table salt).
On warming up : Only needed if the battery cooled down all the way AND there is no auxilary power unit in the vehicle.
On recharge : Mostly 'recharge' is considered a benefit of batteries. Remember 'plug-in' ?

Sodium-sulphur had serious safety issues, so I agree.

Opinion.
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Actually they dump 2X more oil from their crankcases onto oyster beds than all the media hyped oil spills combined.

They need to be fixed all the time. If they aren't maintained then they spew more crap into the air than WMD.

Fuel prices are going up 30% a year.
A smaller vehicle ain't gonna wipe out that 30% for more than 18 months.
Bret Cahill
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On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 23:08:34 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@peoplepc.com wrote:

Then don't dump oil into a sewer, or drive into the water.
Motorboats are terrible: often 2-cycle, no emission controls at all.

My 14-year old Golf was running single-digit PPMs of CO and hydrocarbons and NOx when the tranny blew up. After zero maintanance on the emission controls.

Except this year. Crude is down to $112.

In the US, adjusted for inflation and income, gasoline is about the same cost as it's historically been.
John
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John Larkin wrote:

Huh? http://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui
I don't think you are getting this. Where is your embargo?
At that, debt/gdb was quit different and that embargo ended with a lot of damage.
http://lakeweb.com/money/creditmarketdebt_GDP_06.pdf
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