By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Energy
A new material called Aluminum-Celmet can triple the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries.
Although it's difficult to pinpoint what exactly it would take to alleviate electric car "range anxiety," but I'll go out on a limb and say that for the vast majority of people, oh, 732 miles on a charge would more than suffice.
While such a technology doesn't exist, Japanese researchers at Sumitomo Electric have come up with a breakthrough that could triple the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries, and in effect make it a very real possibility. It's called Aluminum-Celmet, a 98 percent porous material that, when used in place of a standard aluminum foil anode, allows for electric car batteries to be packed with a lot more lithium.
Aluminum-Celmet is similar to nickel Celmet, a material that can be found in nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries. Both are produced using a process that involves applying an electro conductive coating to plastic foam, followed by nickel plating. The resulting material then undergoes heat treatment to remove the plastic foam, leaving behind something resembling a mesh fabric, but in metallic form. However, the difference is that Aluminum-Celmet is lighter, has better electrical conductivity and the kind of corrosion resistance necessary to hold up to the rigors that electric cars are put through each day.
The degree in which Celmet anodes may improve battery capacity is exponential. According to a company statement, the material could "increase battery capacity 1.5 to 3 times. Alternatively, with no change in capacity, battery volume can be reduced to one-third to two-thirds. These changes afford such benefits as reduced footprint of home-use storage batteries for power generated by solar and other natural sources, as well as by fuel cells."
- Is this 400-mile electric car battery for real?
- $20,000, 350-mile-per-charge electric car only a few years away
That means the range of a Tesla Roadster, which has the top rated per charge distance, could be boosted to about 732 miles. Even the Nissan Leaf would suddenly be a lot more appealing if it was capable of going 219 miles, instead of the standard anxiety-inducing 73 miles per charge.
While this latest development is promising, Sumitomo Electric hasn't provided any sort of timeline of when they expect to scale up the technology for automotive markets. All the company is willing to say at this point is that it will continue to improve Aluminum-Celmet for commercial use in lithium-ion battery and capacitors. A good sign is that the company has set up a small-scale production line at Osaka Works in preparation for the manufacturing phase.
But if I had to take a gander, I'd say it might be a while -- that is if it ever does happen.
(via press release)
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Jul 20, 2011
The best fossil fuel powered car I've ever had only got 500 miles out of a tank and that was a tiny french econobox. My daily driver gets 320-350. "range anxiety" is mostly about getting things done day to day. For longer hauls a battery or generator trailer is likely to be a better option. (If you want REAL range anxiety, try ferry flying small aircraft over wide expanses of open ocean. Coming to a stop at the side of the road is a minor thing by comparison)
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Umm.. If the battery capacity is increased for current vehicles and all else remains the same, doesn't that mean the TIME to charge, say the Volt and Leaf, is also extended 1.5 to 3 times?
A petrol or diesel engine is most efficient when running at a constant RPM. If the engine were linked to a generator which constantly charged the battery & an electric motor was fed from the batteries.This might be a better way of doing things battery would never go flat because as soon as it went below a preset level the engine would start. The battery would give good acceleration & distance as always kept fully charged. If the driver went too fast or up many hills (regenerative braking as well) & took too much power the car would just reduce speed until battery charge level caught up. Drivers would understand its either very fast for short time or standard speed all the time. In emergency the constant RPM could be increased with override switch use very much more fuel & bring speed up to normal or charge battery very quickly losing any economy of driving . battery could also be charged from mains power when available. The best of both worlds. No new technology needed just rearranging it. If there were local power failures the vehicle could connect to external inverter be run stationary & power house or farm electrics. ?? Ron angel Design Eng elect.
The people most excited about EVs seem to equate electrical energy with near free. If the Grid needs to double or triple in capacity, you will pay. Off peak power production is important to a modern grid, take it away with off peak EV battery charging and we'll spend billions more to cover peak loads. In the case of an EV, our engine is back at the power plant, and we insert a lot of extra losses between that engine and the rear wheels of the EV. Be realistic and measure all the losses. If we study most areas in North America, the Energy demand to heat or cool the car is often as great or greater than what it takes to power the wheels. We also need to defrost windows for safety, run wipers, headlights, and more. Minus 40F happens, so does 113F plus. There's also many areas with steep hills that will suck the guts out of a battery. Many EV fans measure efficiency in the middle and only the power to turn the wheels,(Enron Accounting Methods?) We need measure it from the real power source..starting back at the energy source where we typically dump in all those hydro carbons. A stack of Popular Science Magazines going back 50 years is a real education. All those break throughs ready for production that NEVER happened. IF EVs become popular, the State and FED will come out of the wood work to TAX you big time because all those road taxes are generally on top of a gallon of fuel at the pump, and they are significant. Be a realist and figure in all those fuel taxes per mile because >you< WILL be paying them to keep the roads up, and support all the monkey business presently funded by this source of revenue.
Yes, the future automobile drivetrain standard should be electric, and battery advancement is necessary. However, only the plug-in hybrid drivetrain offers the advantages and benefits necessary to break our driving addiction. Advanced battery-electric vehicles will not save us from our stupid driving habit, as automobile-related business interest "dealers" know perfectly well.
The trouble with speculation about battery technology is that without firm dates, it's all a bit pointless. Using Moore's law (the traditional technology uptick measure) it's unlikely that EV's are going to offer "consumer happy" batteries for another 10 - 15 years. It's essential that the car industry gets to grips with the idea of a single standardised battery platform and hot swapping them - so that consumers drive into a charging station dump their battery pick up a charge one and get gone. It's the only way to overcome consumer resistance at this stage of technology uptake.
You might want to do a bit of research on the term 'exponential' before you toss it into another article. An increase of 1.5 times capacity is actually an exponential increase of only .17.
there are also foamed lead acid batteries that would help. After being on the waiting list for 2 years I was told there would be no public availability. Production goes first to the military, next to heavy truck companies (the batteries are strong enough that trucks don't need to be kept idling for heat and power) and to OEMs that wanted small powerful batteries for things like lawn and garden equipment. I figured it out at half the weight per unit of stored power compared to standard lead acid batteries.
Affordable improved storage would make many green technologies more appealing. The impact on EVs could be huge if this material is actually lighter than current batteries. We could be looking at batteries that are 50% smaller with the same capacity effectively giving the car more range because it is now hauling less battery weight.
Here is the key to this article "While such a technology doesn???t exist..." Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
For sure the electric car is on it's way in the near future. The hours of reliable service from the battery(s) is the key factor as well as the battery recharging time. The winner that holds the aces will obviously hold the power and control. There is a lot of money to be made out there with the new and changing technology of today. Wealth will go to those who provide the best product... but at what cost or long term risks to the consumer? Think back to Marie Curie, physicist/chemist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity.
They should do this because it makes things way more efficient and easier. I am so glad they are developing this for the next generation of car drivers. I wonder how much more better mobile devices could be if they added this to them for charging. They could last months maybe.
While this sounds compelling, I've heard of many things that sound great but never come to commercial use for one reason or another. I won't hold my breath waiting for this "breakthrough" to improve battery life either.
I strongly believe that the US National Debt could be paid off, by building breeder reactors as a matter of National Security, an agency like the BPA or TVA (or Britain's defunct CEGB) owning them, and charging per kWh for the electricity just twice what the actual cost of producing it would be. It would be cheap enough, IMHO, to put wind turbines, oil, coal, and even gas out of business. Of course if we required oil, coal, and gas to be no more filthy than nuclear, even the present generation of nuclear would put them out of business.
The combination of rooftop solar panels with PHEVs is a better match than with BEVs because the battery pack is 1/3 the size. The household with this combo gains the means to more closely monitor (and conserve) household energy consumption, and gains the choice whether to drive or cut utility bills. Even if a PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid EV) affords only a 10-20 mile driving range on the battery, this limitation leads to driving less whereby more routine trips become possible without having to drive. Walking, bicycling and mass transit, (fundmental travel modes more energy efficient than an electric car), become more viable travel alternatives. PHEVs offer many additional benefits/advantages over BEVs, but these conservation-oriented points are most important. We drive too much and there's no getting around that with a battery-electric or fuel cell car that allows us to pretend we can continue the bad habit.
I have read that it is possible to use energy sources to provide a battery that although not traditionally rechargeable, can be refurbished as a fully charged unit. It was claimed that such a technology could be significantly more efficient than present practice. However, I do not think that wind turbines or any of the popular "renewables" could replace oil, gas, or even alcohol. Nuclear is theway to go, and coutries that have had high rates of success with it did it as a nationally owned resource. In the USA, the only major mode of transportation that is oil-free is our nuclear powered capital ships, owned by a Government Agency, called the US Navy.
There is one company that is rolling this type of methodology out that I bumped into "better place" (betterplace.com)--I realize not an industry standard. I watched a video several months ago about their extremely ambitious roll out plans--I'm unconvinced they can achieve them but they might as well set the bar high and dream big. Their test project with a set of Tokyo taxi cabs is quite interesting with the cabs running 8 hour shifts (if memory serves) and refueling through battery pack swaps in 60 seconds. I do believe thats faster than pumping a full tank of gas. The point about the burden to the existing power system is well made, as well as factoring the losses through production, transmission etc. However, I would suggest that is in-the-box or thinking that is limited in scope. While your points are quite valid, true and I do actually agree with you, by focusing only on the negative aspects you forego the opportunities out there, especially combining opportunities. Not to mention the ability to concentrate efforts on harm reduction to the power generation facilities rather than millions of cars running around. Speaking with a fellow from our local Board of Trade recently, he was familiar with a program in Denmark, I believe he said, where land, power and waste disposal are all issues. To handle the waste they have built, or are building, an incinerator in town. This will allow them to move waste easily to the facility, readily monitor the cleanliness, address the waste problem, and generate power (I would guess heating as well). What would normally be a large eyesore that nobody would want near them will be upgraded to have an artificial ski slope with artificial snow around the stack. Instant multi-purpose positive solution using today's available technologies. Is this a be all end all answer? Of course not, but it IS one piece of the puzzle we need to make things better. My point being is that we can generate the additional power, address other issues at the same time, and improve the area with more attractions or attractive views. It will not be easy, but if WE (not reliance on corporations or governments) have the will to make it happen, it can through continued pressure and demands for accountability.
I, too, dislike the sloppy use of terms like "exponential" almost as much as I scoff at "incredible" and "unbelievable" and "legendary". I'd replace every "legendary" with "mythical", and the other two with "implausible" or "improbable".
The oil companies make a great pretence of backing solar, wind, and biofuels. I am quite sure that they have scientists smart enough to have reckoned, as I do, that these technologies are no threat to their business. But I do suspect that some of the "environmental" opposition to nuclear civilian power, is clandestinely encouraged by the fossil carbon lobby. If I were given the mission to put oil, coal and fractural gas out of business, I'd do it with Small Modular breeder reactors of the U-238 -> Pu-239 type, and put enough money into Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors ( Th-232 -> U-233) to have them deployed in perhaps ten years. If we don't, China will be taking care of the world's energy demands in fifty years, using technology thet the USA pioneered.
I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic, suggesting that the oil companies would want to keep this from happening. If so, you might want to know that Exxon invented the thin-film-polymer that is now being used between the cells of Li-Ion batteries, which allowed those batteries to be reduced in size by about half. They're interested in advancing battery technology, not squashing it. If they were to buy this patent, it would be because they were interested in producing the material.
but where I live, a 10-20 mile range is just at the fringe of getting me to work from my home. That's totally unacceptable for me and for thousands of people in the US. There's no public transportation option to get me from my house to my work, so that point is moot.
1. You are referencing an infrastructure that is not all that prevalent in all urban areas, especially smaller cities, towns, and villages 2. In Rural areas there is NO public transportation, and a 10-20 mile driving range may make for a one way trip, or worse, a multi-stop in the middle of nowhere and pray they have a way to charge or swap batteries.
Exxon's recent efforts to advance battery technology are in direct contrast to thier historic (and Chevon) efforts to shelve and / or agressively pursue legal infringment of owned technology. Â Much has been written about big oil's suppression of alternative energy technology. Not much was good. Social / political pressures may now beginning to influence big oil ito being part of the solution and not being the problem.
Oil co's control bottleneck technologies to slow the speed at which disruptors can roll out into the market. Of course they do this. It's their mandate - to maximize stockholder equity. If they were to expedite battery technology and decrease oil profits, they would be sued by their stockholders. There is no good or bad. There is only profit. And if buying up disruptive patents and technologies in order to shelve them is unethical but profitable, they are bound by law to be unethical. It's pure wish-thinking to believe otherwise.
Many hate the oil companies because they believe they'd be living near free if it weren't for them. So many advances thanks to oil companies.. look at modern composites and materials alone..
I think the days of big oil ( The word is quashing ) fuel savings is over. They now can pick their profit at will. That profit can come from anywhere. Remember they changed from petroleum to energy I imagine a cheap or DIY energy source or system WILL be a target.
The logical consequences of private megacorporate enterprise are quite obnoxious enough to cause oil companies to behave badly. I can say that the self interests of oil companies are inimical to leaving a decent world for our great grandchildren.
Hate is a good word to remove reason from the debate. There are some unhinged people out there, but by far the thick bell curve of oil opposition is not based on hate. It's based on facts as they affect self interests. If your drinking water comes from the Ogallala aquifer, you oppose Keystone. If you own oil stock, you promote Keystone, and don't really care if there's collateral damage as a result of your investment unless you are held financially accountable for your disasters, which history shows us you are not. If you've seem the incredible environmental disaster that tar sands wreaks, even if you don't live within contamination distance, and if you have any sense of stewardship for the planet and it's future, you oppose Keystone and this kind of dirty energy, and support technologies that replace the need for increased carbon extraction. It really isn't hate. Accusations of hate are a not-so-clever tool to deny facts and deflect debate.