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Why is battery technology so behind the times?

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There needs to be a fundamental change in the way batteries work. I don't know what or how this would work, but needs to somehow move away from the chemicals we are using now for battery technology. I wish i understood exactly how battery tech works, but i don't. I get the anode-cathode bit but don't understand how the chemicals, lithium, is used in the battery. What stores the power?

Is it not going to change for the next X years? or s there going to be a magic discovery that will be a revelation for battery tech.

There is no doubt there needs to be something, imo battery's in most mobile devices are rubbish.
 

bug

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There needs to be a fundamental change in the way batteries work. I don't know what or how this would work, but needs to somehow move away from the chemicals we are using now for battery technology. I wish i understood exactly how battery tech works, but i don't. I get the anode-cathode bit but don't understand how the chemicals, lithium, is used in the battery. What stores the power?

Is it not going to change for the next X years? or s there going to be a magic discovery that will be a revelation for battery tech.

There is no doubt there needs to be something, imo battery's in most mobile devices are rubbish.
Here's a simple explanation: https://depts.washington.edu/matseed/batteries/MSE/components.html

Basically electrons flow from the anode to the cathode and that discharges the battery. Recharging is the process of herding the electrons back through the electrolyte to the anode.
And we want to do this:
a) quickly, so we can charge in minutes, not hours
b) efficiently, without "using up" any of the materials involved
c) without releasing too much heat either

That's a tall order, if there ever was one. So yes, chemicals and chemistry as we know them today most likely aren't the solution we're looking for.
 
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FordGT90Concept

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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.
Physics. Capacitors can hold a lot more electrons per kg but they also can't hold them for very long before the electrons escape. Batteries hold electrons for a long time, but comparatively, they entrap far less per kg. Decades of research has gone into engineering hybrid devices that act like a capacitor for charging and a battery for retention. There's been successes, but then they run into problems with endurance (charge/drain cycles).

There is little evidence to suggest commercial batteries will get much better than Li-ion available today. Most R&D is going into eliminating cobalt (mostly sourced from Africa) from Li-ion production.
 
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More stuff needs to be movement powered, possibly using piezoelectric effect and human power.
 
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Physics. Capacitors can hold a lot more electrons per kg but they also can't hold them for very long before the electrons escape. Batteries hold electrons for a long time, but comparatively, they entrap far less per kg.

I have some large super-capacitors but they each hold about as much energy as an AA battery.

Recharging is the process of herding the electrons back through the electrolyte to the anode.
And we want to do this:
a) quickly, so we can charge in minutes, not hours

I still like the idea of a standardized battery that one swaps out at the station.
 

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bug

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Then you want them to be light enough so you can move them without a forklift.
And then there's the issue of ownership/warranty... It's pretty messed up.

What's the avg ecar battery about 1/3rd or more of the gross weight
 
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As I understand it, lithium batteries don't so much lose capacity as suffer increased internal resistance; so old car batteries would still be good for lower power applications.
 
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So yes, chemicals and chemistry as we know them today most likely aren't the solution we're looking for.
Hell, lithium was outdated decades ago. We really need to explore and refine alternate chemistries not involving lithium.

lithium batteries don't so much lose capacity as suffer increased internal resistance
This is partly correct. The chemistry degrades to the point where it loses some capacity and increases internal resistance. If we can find a way to do....

Most R&D is going into eliminating cobalt (mostly sourced from Africa) from Li-ion production.
...this, lithium formulations would become more durable(more charge/discharge cycles), safer(because cobalt and lithium react well together) and less costly(because cobalt is expensive).

There are very good articles about this subject at the links below;
https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/articles/reducing-reliance-cobalt-lithium-ion-batteries
https://cen.acs.org/energy/energy-storage-/Lithium-ion-batteries-cobalt-free/98/i29

BTW, Welcome back Ford! Good to see you again!
 
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This is partly correct. The chemistry degrades to the point where it loses some capacity and increases internal resistance.

So still good to use for household storage for solar cells.
 

bug

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I wouldn't. Once the cells degrade beyond 15% loss, the degradation generally cascades. That curve is startling. They also have a tendency of becoming more dangerous as they degrade. Reusing them is a bad idea. Best to recycle them at that point.
For bonus points, when one cell goes poof, it tends to cascade :cool:
 
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Here's a simple explanation: https://depts.washington.edu/matseed/batteries/MSE/components.html

Basically electrons flow from the anode to the cathode and that discharges the battery. Recharging is the process of herding the electrons back through the electrolyte to the anode.
And we want to do this:
a) quickly, so we can charge in minutes, not hours
b) efficiently, without "using up" any of the materials involved
c) without releasing too much heat either

That's a tall order, if there ever was one. So yes, chemicals and chemistry as we know them today most likely aren't the solution we're looking for.

There are physical limits, so one would need to find either new material, or composite, or somehow bend rules.

The issue is for example C and A together. Charging requires moving electrons, movement requires energy, which causes heating and simply put it will always do that in pretty much all materials used today. Not mentioning you do waste about 20% of electricity required to fuel battery (lost during recharge).

Gas is insanely energy dense fuel, so even when gas vehicles have fairly low effectivity, they have no issues with refueling or capacity.

IMHO intense research in ways to further improve gas engine would be pretty good too. There are aspects that will require gas or diesel cars in the future, probably even in case of battery tech/material breakthrough.

As for B, wearout is not possible to avoid, only solution would be if charged and discharged state were actually different material altogether. Which would require something we cant do, creating matter from energy.

There is quite decent possibility, that batteries in current sense are pretty much impossible to improve due physical laws. Maybe we dont need better bateries, maybe we need completely different approach.
 
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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.
A part of that is how and what more advanced batteries are made from. But what do mean by "behind the times"? What other times have there been better batteries? The amount of money and research into the next big thing is in development all over the world. The real question is how and where are we going to store all the old batteries. Like the promise of nuclear power the promise of "greener" energy has a cost ofn the backend. But I dont think there is a lack of funding or research for batteries and lithium has really made power options better considering how short NiCd batteries lived in early cordless power tools.
 
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Hell, lithium was outdated decades ago. We really need to explore and refine alternate chemistries not involving lithium.
Only outdated if there is something better, man. That's what we're missing.
 

bug

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Only outdated if there is something better, man. That's what we're missing.
And that school of thought is why we don't have a replacement. Just because there's nothing better doesn't mean what exists is not obsolete. Chemical engineers need to stop looking for ways to improve lithium formulations and look for chemistries that do not carry serious safety hazards. Perhaps even improve upon the NiMH formulations or explore experimental chemistries like NickelCopperCarbonPolymer for example. That formulation showed great potential but was trash-canned for reasons that was never explained. And there are more chemistries to be explored, all of which do not suffer from serious fire safety problems.
 
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Why are the cells so small? Seems to me that increases the chance of failure as one needs so many.
 
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Why are the cells so small? Seems to me that increases the chance of failure as one needs so many.
It's a safety thing. Making large lithium batteries becomes exponentially more dangerous as you increase mass. Keeping individual cells small and in large packs reduces the danger level, but only to a certain degree which is why they're not allowed to be shipped in bulk on aircraft.
 
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