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Why is battery technology so behind the times?

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In the past 50 years Electronics technology has come a long way. Now we have mobile computers, mobile phones and a whole host of other tech that has had years of ever increasing and improving development, but not battery technology, why not?

Is it because it is a difficult technology to develop? is it related to the car and petrol industry? if battery technology had got better in relation to other electronic development then E vehicles would be much more viable. The biggest cost and weight in a EV is the battery's, in todays high tech world this seems very backward in relation to other tech.
 

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It seems like every year we read about some ground breaking battery tech, but nothing ever comes of it. Last I heard solid state batteries are coming soon


toyota has announced mid 2020's hybrid cars will be solid state. which is innovative. :rockout:
 

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I guess its because the world is relatively going from 0-100 real quick as far as demand for electric cars go and the industry not having enough money ploughed into the R&D department to respond to life sized RC cars.

The demand has to be really there to push innovation forward the same way how a lot more weapons are designed and improved during times of war. But the difference is there were also a lot more companies that made planes, ships, tanks and other equipment competing against one another for a military contract.

Its a race to find a new element or composite that can hold more charge than lithium Ion and hopefully a be a lot more lighter.

It seems like every year we read about some ground breaking battery tech, but nothing ever comes of it. Last I heard solid state batteries are coming soon

The last battery tech i heard was 'Graphene' and that was a maybe a good 3-5years ago???
 
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Something battery related that gets me is this.

Most Lithium battery's cannot be just dropped in a normal bin, So where do you get rid of them? I have got stacks of old Laptop battery cells, quite a few flat lithium cells and some others in a box as i don't know what to do with them. Do the local council make it known of where to dispose of them? NO In the UK you cannot put them in the blue or black bin, so what are you supposed to do with them. How many million tons of these old battery's must there be in land fill, what will happen when all that lithium and other stuff leaks into the ground.

I can't wait till battery tech is better. I remember seeing stuff about battery's that charge in seconds, Where is it? There is seemingly zero research that is public knowledge regarding better battery's.

Is it the chemical stuff that is the reason? How toxic is Lithium?

Get an old Lithium cell and stab the point of a knife in it( PLEASE kids or young adults do not do this without some adult supervision from dad if you must try it), see what happens. These battery's are dangerous too.
 

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It's basically, because it's hard to do. The first thing is to increase the energy density, then things like safety and stability under various temperatures and material availability are all required to be within reasonable limits to make a sellable product. The first company that cracks it will make a killing so the will is there.

I too remember reading about those prototype batteries that charge in literally seconds, but it's gone quiet since so there must be problems with them.

btw, lithium batteries are a 1970s technology and were great for their time, but it's now high time that something better came along. I especially don't like their tendency to go off like a blowtorch when pierced or otherwise breached.
 
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It's basically, because it's hard to do. The first thing is to increase the energy density, then things like safety and stability under various temperatures and material availability are all required to be within reasonable limits to make a sellable product. The first company that cracks it will make a killing so the will is there.

I too remember reading about those prototype batteries that charge in literally seconds, but it's gone quiet since so there must be problems with them.

btw, lithium batteries are a 1970s technology and were great for their time, but it's now high time that something better came along. I especially don't like their tendency to go off like a blowtorch when pierced or otherwise breached.

I have changed battery's on our phones a few times, and when peeling the old ones off and they bend being terrified it was going to set on fire and destroy the phone.
 
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The problem, as with most things, is one of $: (1) Li-ion batteries are really, really good at what they do for what they cost to make (2) alternatives and/or improvements to Li-ion are really, really expensive. All those breakthroughs you keep reading about? They're happening in university laboratories which, by their very nature, have no concern for whether the research they're doing could ever be commercially viable - hence the vast majority of those breakthroughs aren't ever going to make it into products we can buy. Even if they do make it out of the lab, there are so many other factors (safety being a prime one) that control whether a new battery tech can ever succeed.

A lot of these "breakthroughs" are also just theoretical applications of research to existing technology. Nanotech or graphene will make batteries better... they will also make pretty much ANYTHING they're applied to better. But the cost and feasibility of those techs simply isn't there.

On the topic of safety, please can we drop the hysteria about Li-ion batteries being "unsafe"? By the same argument, gasoline is unsafe because it can be lit on fire, yet somehow nobody has a problem riding around in vehicles carrying massive tanks of the stuff. Gasoline is completely safe if you treat it with the appropriate care, and so are Li-ion batteries.

Most Lithium battery's cannot be just dropped in a normal bin, So where do you get rid of them? I have got stacks of old Laptop battery cells, quite a few flat lithium cells and some others in a box as i don't know what to do with them. Do the local council make it known of where to dispose of them? NO In the UK you cannot put them in the blue or black bin, so what are you supposed to do with them. How many million tons of these old battery's must there be in land fill, what will happen when all that lithium and other stuff leaks into the ground.
Yes, you should contact your local council regarding disposal of used batteries (of all types). Some will even pick these up as part of ordinary refuse collection, but if not you can also find battery drop-off points at many big stores (e.g. Tesco - scroll down to "Recycling your batteries").

lithium batteries are a 1970s technology
Not really. The groundwork research into Li-ion batteries was performed in the 1970s, but it was only in 1985 that the first prototype was produced, and another 6 years until a commercially viable model finally emerged. Which is why it amuses me so much when people complain that battery tech advances so slowly... the internal combustion engine has been around for over TWO CENTURIES and yet scientists are still finding ways to squeeze more distance out a tank, or produce less pollutants, or...
 

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It's basically, because it's hard to do. The first thing is to increase the energy density, then things like safety and stability under various temperatures and material availability are all required to be within reasonable limits to make a sellable product. The first company that cracks it will make a killing so the will is there.

I too remember reading about those prototype batteries that charge in literally seconds, but it's gone quiet since so there must be problems with them.

btw, lithium batteries are a 1970s technology and were great for their time, but it's now high time that something better came along. I especially don't like their tendency to go off like a blowtorch when pierced or otherwise breached.

what are you talking about? toyota is on track for solid state battery hybrid cars to be released in 2025/2026. and I imagine they won't be super expensive as toyota is going to scale it, and since they are the biggest car maker in the world and in the usa, they have the ability to scale and keep costs low. I'm hopeful for a solid state battery hybrid toyota to cost 27k to 30k in year 2026. i already posted a link above, but its not just toyota, solid state is coming.

Solid-state batteries can reach an 80-percent charge within 15 minutes and incur less strain after multiple charging cycles. A lithium-ion battery will begin to degrade and lose power capacity after 1,000 cycles. On the other hand, a solid-state battery will maintain 90 percent of its capacity after 5,000 cycles.Aug 2, 2021 - JDPower
 

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In the past 50 years Electronics technology has come a long way. Now we have mobile computers, mobile phones and a whole host of other tech that has had years of ever increasing and improving development, but not battery technology, why not?

Is it because it is a difficult technology to develop? is it related to the car and petrol industry? if battery technology had got better in relation to other electronic development then E vehicles would be much more viable. The biggest cost and weight in a EV is the battery's, in todays high tech world this seems very backward in relation to other tech.
Because it's chemistry and chemical. No matter how much money you sink, you can't change how matter works on its most basic scale. (Ok, that would be sub-atomic, but you get the idea.)

What rechargeable batteries do (I'm assuming those are the ones you care about) is undergo a chemical reaction to store energy while charging and afterwards trying their best to give you as much as possible as from the energy they took in. All the while trying not to lose capacity as they got through charge/discharge cycles.
As you can imagine, this is both complicated and inefficient. There are some batteries that perform way better than what you can buy at Costco, but only in labs, as nobody has figured out how to manufacture them at a reasonable cost. Add the mandatory eco-rallies you get whenever you try to mine locally some the chemicals batteries need and the picture gets even more complicated.
Make no mistake, cell phones and EVs is not when people started into better batteries. That happened long ago, probably with the first hand-held flashlight. My gut feeling tells me we're on a dead-end with the current technology. We are very, vary far from exploiting electricity at its full potential. But in order to improve radically, we'll need some very smart guy to come with some outside-the-box thinking or something like that.
 

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Not really. The groundwork research into Li-ion batteries was performed in the 1970s, but it was only in 1985 that the first prototype was produced, and another 6 years until a commercially viable model finally emerged. Which is why it amuses me so much when people complain that battery tech advances so slowly... the internal combustion engine has been around for over TWO CENTURIES and yet scientists are still finding ways to squeeze more distance out a tank, or produce less pollutants, or...
Development started in the 70s and took quite a few years to reach commercialisation, hence 70s technology. Let's not split hairs.



@lynx29 They haven't actually released a commercial product have they? And it's projected for a release in 3 years' time. A lot can happen in that time and possibly go wrong, too. Let's see when it's actually released shall we? One can't actually buy such a product now and that's the critical point. There's loads of battery technologies in development. Big deal, it's a commercialised product that counts.

That's what I'm talking about.
 
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The most promising new chemistry I have seen (though more evolutionary than revolutionary) is LiFePO4 cells. They are available now, and do better than Li-Ion or LiPo.
 
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The most promising new chemistry I have seen (though more evolutionary than revolutionary) is LiFePO4 cells. They are available now, and do better than Li-Ion or LiPo.
This is pretty good too
Lifepo4_Voltage_Chart_and_Lifespan_Specifications.png
 

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Batteries are better though, and perhaps more importantly, more ubiquitous and cheaper.

The original commercial lithium-ion battery, produced by Sony in the early 1990s, had an energy density of under 100 watt-hours per kilogram. That number has climbed over time, with the familiar cylindrical 18650 cells on the market hitting 200 watt-hours per kilogram by 2010. According to BloombergNEF, batteries used in electric vehicles have gotten as high as 300 watt-hours per kilogram in the last couple of years.




Another thing that is very important to remember is that we manage to do a whole lot of stuff on batteries. People like to compare new phones with old phones and say "my old Nokia lasted weeks!" but they forget that the old Nokia did a fraction of the thing a modern smartphone does with less than a fraction of performance avaliable. I used a feature phone as my only phone a few years back and honestly I don't miss it. Remember how the phone got super slow when writing long SMS messeges? Yeah.
 
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Yes it appears to be a LiFePO4 chart.

alright it seems obvious what needs to happen then, this needs to be mass produced immediately.


so are the new Tesla's using this? or is this just a sub category of that I wonder. from what I can gather these are actually worse batteries Tesla is using, but they have a similar but not exact name as this battery... very confusing... ffs lol
 

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alright it seems obvious what needs to happen then, this needs to be mass produced immediately.


so are the new Tesla's using this? or is this just a sub category of that I wonder. from what I can gather these are actually worse batteries Tesla is using, but they have a similar but not exact name as this battery... very confusing... ffs lol

Those names are referencing the internal chemistry in the battery. I don't pretend to know why, but that "new" composition (as per the link) makes for lower power density and is basically meant to increase profit margins. Other manufacturers are considering it for budget cars.

As for LiFePo4, sure. It has lower energy density now though. Other than that start a factory and get going I guess.

Some reading btw:

Spcifically the design section.
 

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The problem, as with most things, is one of $: (1) Li-ion batteries are really, really good at what they do for what they cost to make (2) alternatives and/or improvements to Li-ion are really, really expensive. All those breakthroughs you keep reading about? They're happening in university laboratories which, by their very nature, have no concern for whether the research they're doing could ever be commercially viable - hence the vast majority of those breakthroughs aren't ever going to make it into products we can buy. Even if they do make it out of the lab, there are so many other factors (safety being a prime one) that control whether a new battery tech can ever succeed.

A lot of these "breakthroughs" are also just theoretical applications of research to existing technology. Nanotech or graphene will make batteries better... they will also make pretty much ANYTHING they're applied to better. But the cost and feasibility of those techs simply isn't there.

On the topic of safety, please can we drop the hysteria about Li-ion batteries being "unsafe"? By the same argument, gasoline is unsafe because it can be lit on fire, yet somehow nobody has a problem riding around in vehicles carrying massive tanks of the stuff. Gasoline is completely safe if you treat it with the appropriate care, and so are Li-ion batteries.


Yes, you should contact your local council regarding disposal of used batteries (of all types). Some will even pick these up as part of ordinary refuse collection, but if not you can also find battery drop-off points at many big stores (e.g. Tesco - scroll down to "Recycling your batteries").


Not really. The groundwork research into Li-ion batteries was performed in the 1970s, but it was only in 1985 that the first prototype was produced, and another 6 years until a commercially viable model finally emerged. Which is why it amuses me so much when people complain that battery tech advances so slowly... the internal combustion engine has been around for over TWO CENTURIES and yet scientists are still finding ways to squeeze more distance out a tank, or produce less pollutants, or...
The F-16 was using Lithium Batteries back then
 
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As for LiFePo4, sure. It has lower energy density now though.
Ah, always an achiles heel. I only knew it beat out Li-Ion in longevity, and Lead Acid in density (but that's easy to do).
 

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Ah, always an achiles heel. I only knew it beat out Li-Ion in longevity, and Lead Acid in density (but that's easy to do).

Elon needs to cut costs so he can afford Mars after all. That battery could be made better, from what I understand, but Tesla is trying to save a few bucks, that upper management wants that yacht club membership boys! :roll:
 
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I was looking up electric ride on mowers that use Lithium batteries and the run time is only up to 1.5 hours, which proves battery technology needs to improve to increase that.
 
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In the past 50 years Electronics technology has come a long way. Now we have mobile computers, mobile phones and a whole host of other tech that has had years of ever increasing and improving development, but not battery technology, why not?

Is it because it is a difficult technology to develop? is it related to the car and petrol industry? if battery technology had got better in relation to other electronic development then E vehicles would be much more viable. The biggest cost and weight in a EV is the battery's, in todays high tech world this seems very backward in relation to other tech.
I think it's as much a Matter of focus, materials science and particle physics has been largely involved in other areas until battery tech attracted the attention and money.
Plus on purely a principle nature storing energy in small area's is not yet something we're great at, we went with fuel, and the money paid to science the shit out of it, same with nuclear, at least until they found a way to optimise weapons grade waste production then progress slowed.
I think the next decade will be a literal evolution from Materials science and bio engineering , things we consider hard , like co2 capture, will become uniform, productized and in all likelihood a business selling it's waste somehow..
 
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Just like medicines that can cure stuff they want to sell shit to make profit.

Same with batteries.
 

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I was looking up electric ride on mowers that use Lithium batteries and the run time is only up to 1.5 hours, which proves battery technology needs to improve to increase that.


honestly what needs to happen is Samsung/Apple/Toyota and fill in blank for every major AAA player in the field that needs batteries, need to stop having a pissing contest, and come together and just make solid state batteries happen faster, source it together, build a factory together, and share that particular source together. I honestly don't think it would hurt sales one or the other, as people who buy certain products buy it for other reasons. For those of you who are pessimists, they have come together in the past to do similar things, though from what I remember in my studies, it was mainly like standards in certain technical aspects, but alas it does prove they can work together.

Yeah, I know it will never happen, cause they can't stop their pissing contest, better the world burns then the **** measuring contest ends. God forbid we try to use a little logic and reason with capitalism.

Just like medicines that can cure stuff they want to sell shit to make profit.

Same with batteries.

meh they can still make profit, hell Apple had the worst batteries for the longest of times until recent years and they were always the biggest in the USA. people never bought Apple for battery, and they don't buy Apple for battery now, they buy it because of the image it gives them or the security, or both, or they are just used to that UI.

there is no reason they shouldn't all work together on solid state and make it happen overnight. they could if they wanted. and ironically if we could test this out in an alternate universe, I bet you would find it wouldn't hurt sales for any of them. but none of them want to take the first dive into mass volume production of solid state batteries to bring costs down. it would take all of them together to do it.

but as I always say, -humans capable of so much, yet so little.
 

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I think it's as much a Matter of focus, materials science and particle physics has been largely involved in other areas until battery tech attracted the attention and money.
That's exactly what it is not. Money have been flowing into this for a hundred years. It's simply a hard nut to crack.
Plus on purely a principle nature storing energy in small area's is not yet something we're great at, we went with fuel, and the money paid to science the shit out of it, same with nuclear, at least until they found a way to optimise weapons grade waste production then progress slowed.
It's hard to beat oil that literally jumps out of the ground and has a damn good energy density. We'll have to beat that, it's just hard to do it.
I think the next decade will be a literal evolution from Materials science and bio engineering , things we consider hard , like co2 capture, will become uniform, productized and in all likelihood a business selling it's waste somehow..
Anyone uninformed on the subject think they'll see a radical change in about a decade. I've been hearing that ever since I was a kid. It's almost up there with flying cars.
 
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