Posting in Energy
MIT researchers have devised a way to make batteries with an energy density more comparable to gasoline.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently revealed an energy storage breakthrough that could one day make batteries more commercially competitive with gasoline.
Scientists dramatically increased the energy density in lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) batteries with the introduction of carbon nanotubes to the cathode. Though tiny, the nanotubes allow a battery to hold considerably more lithium oxide as the battery discharges.
"We were able to create a novel carpet-like material — composed of more than 90 percent void space — that can be filled by the reactive material during battery operation," says Yang Shao-Horn, a Gail E. Kendall Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at MIT.
The net effect is more time between discharges, less weight, and an energy density much closer to gasoline than previous attempts at the technology. The battery can store four times more energy for its weight than current lithium-ion battery electrodes, MIT stated in its press release.
Shao-Horn noted that more work was necessary before the technology could become commercialized; nonetheless, science bloggers have already begun to visualize its use in the transportation industry, and even in the creation of hybrid aircraft.
Advances in battery technology are a welcomed development; energy storage has been a drag on the adoption of electric vehicles, and engineers have must devise sometimes unorthodox solutions for electricity generation.
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Aug 12, 2011
The reason electric motor technology for electric vehicles is held back is a naval military one which has to do with high frequency drives on electric motors & the motors themselves. Torpedoes, the range of a torpedo is governed by its battery size & efficiency and the efficiency of its motor. The further & faster it can travel for a given size the greater the distance it can strike giving a great advantage over the enemy. Any breakthrough in this field is immediately taken by governments hushed up in case the other side find out & use it advantage being lost. This is not a new thing being going on for years. A similar thing also applies to electric motor control in high speed ships such as frigates which use a turbine to generate power for an inverter controlled multi pole motor to run at greater speeds than standard 3 phase or dc motors of same size & weight. Believe it or not one of the most closely guarded military secrets there is! So if you invent a better mousetrap people will beat a path to your door, but invent a better motor & ???they??? will take it from you give you nothing & a long prison sentence if you tell anybody, as with any patent you file that can be used for military. So many inventors have lost everything because of these laws which go back 100 years. I always advise people who think they have a new invention never patent it get family & friends to finance you build it test it then get it mass produced by getting different companies to build parts without knowing what the item is then assemble them your self & put a large amount on the market. you will have a head start on everybody else make your money be know as the person that invented it rather than have nothing. This does not apply to motors, battery???s but to anything you invent. Good luck!
everytime I saw "could one day", "shows great promise" or something similar, I would have been rich a long long time ago. I want to read "You can now", not about what might one day (but will very probably not) be. Just to show that I am just as smart as those MIT scientists: Antigravity could one day solve our transport problems to space. Superconducting materials could one day make Your laptop run for weeks on one charge. Fusion could be the energy of the future. Clever application of precise amounts of dihydrogenoxide could one day solve irrigation issues in the third world. Seriously though: keep on experimenting and maybe one day something could come out of it.
Same old aguements against... I wonder what these people said when ELECTICITY was rolled out across the land... "We'll all be killed! Can't run wires over the farm, they'll scare the cows! Kerosene lamps and candles are all we need!" I remember when a computer occupied a whole room... and they were SLOW... "Imagine having a computer in your lounge room!" Nah! It'll never happen..." Now they are so common I defy anyone on this forum to name all the places a computer will show up.. Market-driven investment guaranteed the computer's development to unheard of levels of efficiency and sophistication. We are at the "Mini-computer" stage now with battery (and solar etc) development.
I hope that they keep at it. Would be great if the oil companies finally had some real competition for a change.
petroleum 9.7 kW??h/litre maximum commercially available lithium-ion batteries: 0.5kW-h/litre MIT 'breakthrough' claims 4 times lithium-ion, namely: 2kW-h/litre Still a factor of times 5 to go, huh?
Come on, get you thoughts sorted out! Oil companies are in fierce competition with each another. If electric vehicles are to be competitive with oil they have to be efficient in comparison. So far, the only way electric cars have a chance in the market is through massive governent subsidies. So that does not count as real competition at all and is a complete waste of human resources that could be better spent on expanding everybody's standard of living. Get real. Do the sums! Stop all this wishful thinking!
I want to see this technology in the White Zombie at Portland's Plasma Boy Racing. They already have the record for trap speed and 0-60 for a street legal. Maybe now they can best their 120 mile range as well.
Multiply all those numbers by their respective prime movers and the article makes more sense. Gas engine (a good one) ~20% thermal efficiency. Brushless DC electric ~ 87% thermal efficiency Gas @ 9.7kW/hr/L x .2 = 1.92kW/hr/L usable. MIT stuff @ 2kW/hr/L x .87 = 1.74kW/hr/L usable. There's comparatively inexpensive BDC motors out there that get higher than 90% efficiency, as well, and plenty of advancement in the technology every year. ICE's, on the other hand, have not had significant increases in efficiency except by the reduction of their output. True, you still have charge times for batteries, and the electricity still originates mostly from fossil fuels, but this definitely brings electrics much more firmly into the realm of reasonable convenience.
is to have an automotive manufacturer actually apply more than 2kWh/litre to the drive wheels of a vehicle.
"The battery can store four times more energy for its weight than current lithium-ion battery electrodes, MIT stated in its press release." Note the use of the word weight, not volume. Litre is a volume measure.
Like the oil companies don't get "massive subsidies". And as for "expanding everybody's standard of living", burning oil seems to be rather counterproductive, given the current evidence. The only standard of living that it helps in the long run is that of the oil company executives.
...and you are being unnecessarily rude. The important issue for batteries in electric vehicles is the volume they occupy because currently this is huge when compared with a fuel tank. A secondary consideration is indeed the weight because a heavy battery will contribute to energy losses incurred during acceleration. But in practice volume and weight (not surprisingly) correlate quite closely so either way MIT are still of the order of a factor of 5 off target. Trying to be dismissive by being over-smart on a point of detail is a characteristic tactic of "true believers" who think that by finding a small flaw in a counter-argument they have negated its force and have successfully hidden the enormous flaw in their own (wishful) thinking.
From Wikipedia: The United States government provides a large subsidy to oil companies, with major tax breaks at virtually every stage of oil exploration and extraction. Revenue attributable to capital investment, including the costs of oil field leases and drilling equipment, are taxed at an effective rate of nine percent, which is a much lower rate than the 25% rate for general business taxes and lower than the taxes of virtually any other industry, according to a 2005 study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. For example, while the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was registered in the Marshall Islands, since registering off-shore lowered the U.S. tax liability, the U.S. government was giving the rig's owner, British Petroleum (BP), a major tax break when BP leased the rig: 70% of the rent was written off in the form of a tax break used only by the oil industry, for a tax deduction of more than $225,000 per day from the day the lease began."
If you believe that oil companies get subsidies then please provide some evidence. The oil industry is incredibly competitive. The electric car industry is massively uncompetitive and is subsidised to the hilt. Subsidising electric cars does not help anybody's standard of living. You may think the subsidies are justified because they are going to save the planet but that is a completely different (and highly contentious) issue.
Dont forget that this "solution" is still a research project and has a long, long way to go before it can be proven whether or not it is a commercial reality. And even if all that happens it will still be a factor of around 5 uncompetitive on weight and/or volume compared with petroleum. On your other point, you say "If 500Wh/l is enough to use commercially (as at present), then 2kWh/l is probably enough for some real competition anyway". Again your reasoning is characteristically oblique. Current electric cars using batteries whose energy storage density is around 500W-h/litre are manifestly not commercially viable, they are subsidised. Duh!
There may still be some way to go, but this is a big improvement. If people can find a few more discoveries of this magnitude, then batteries could be directly competitive with gasoline for energy, rather than just making good progress. This one gave a 4 x improvement; if someone can come up with something to give a 4 x improvement over nanotubed lithium air, then the resultant 8kWh/litre would be close enough to give gasoline a run for its money. If 500Wh/l is enough to use commercially (as at present), then 2kWh/l is probably enough for some real competition anyway, so pointing out the factor of 5 to match gasoline seems quite "dismissive" itself.