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Why is battery technology so behind the times?

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I thought that once a fire starts it spreads to healthy cells.
 

Frick

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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.

Afaik there's absolutely research into it, but as always the downside is that one has to take into account the economic aspects of the modern world.

And yes @FordGT90Concept plz post more.
 
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I thought that once a fire starts it spreads to healthy cells.
Depends on how bad it is. However, the general idea is that instead of one big cell going off like a gasoline bomb, if small cells catch fire there is potentially enough time for people to notice it and escape the area/vehicle before it get's out of control. The bad thing is that once lithium start burning, it's very difficult to put it out because there is plenty of oxygen in the battery itself to sustain the reactions. For these reasons using lithium batteries is a very dangerous and bad idea in vehicles.

Afaik there's absolutely research into it, but as always the downside is that one has to take into account the economic aspects of the modern world.
Economies of scale are a factor. When you start to mass produce a thing it becomes less expensive. This was true even for early lithium batteries. Early costs should not be a limiting factor.
 
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Economies of scale are a factor. When you start to mass produce a thing it becomes less expensive. This was true even for early lithium batteries. Early costs should not be a limiting factor.
Agreed. But until mass producing is proven to work it's a risk, and in a world of chasing those quarterly results it's a tough sell. It will happen sooner or later (when the risk vs reward calculations look good enough) but until then improving lithium batteries is a good thing.
 
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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.
Its also just hard to get the chemistry to work the same as you scale up the size of the cell.

In a traditional cylindrical cell anyway. The BYD Blade cell is a lot larger than a typical round cell or pouch cell and is supposedly able to be punchered and not catch fire. The chemistry is largely the same, it just comes down to the amount of surface area the cell has to dispate the heat when the cell is penetrated by a foreign object.
 
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Its also just hard to get the chemistry to work the same as you scale up the size of the cell.
While true, it's a manageable factor. The main reason is safety.

Agreed. But until mass producing is proven to work it's a risk, and in a world of chasing those quarterly results it's a tough sell.
This is why we need leaders of industry to push the issue. Quarterlies go out the window when there is a motivating push.
 
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While true, it's a manageable factor. The main reason is safety.
Safety is a huge part for sure and kinda all tied together in making the cell stable.

I don't think Tesla is sitting a 4680 cell that meets all their performance expectations, is easy to manufacture and all the rest that make to it viable and are just holding off on it to get safety margins where they need to be.
This is why we need leaders of industry to push the issue. Quarterlies go out the window when there is a motivating push.
I think development is going about as fast as it can go without throwing money at every potential possible path which would eventually lead to chasing down a ton of dead ends and wasted resources. Its not easy stuff, anyone that thinks Panasonic and LG are just sitting around with the same old thing for last 10-15 years is naive. Its taken decades to get lithium batteries to whree they are today and even regular Li-ion batteries have improved quite a bit in just the last 8-10 years in power density.

Breakthroughs are going to come from academia and startups. Its kinda hard to follow everything through the investor speculation craziness but there is lots of stuff going on at QuantumScape and they seem like they are the closest to a next gen battery tech.
 
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"Why is battery technology so behind the times?"

I would say that the Eneloop was quite an improved Ni-MH battery.
 
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I think development is going about as fast as it can go
This is not true. As was discussed earlier, companies are heavily invested in current formulations and changing to a new one is costly. No one is eager to change. We the people need to motivate them to develop and use better, safer chemistries/formulations.
I would say that the Eneloop was quite an improved Ni-MH battery.
True! Best NiMH batteries I've ever owned. This chemistry is nearly on par with lithium and with no safety issues at all.
 
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This is not true. As was discussed earlier, companies are heavily invested in current formulations and changing to a new one is costly. No one is eager to change. We the people need to motivate them to develop and use better, safer chemistries/formulations.
Yeah, Samsung, Panasonic, and LG are all largely making the same thing but even traditional Li-ion cells have made quite a bit of progress over the last 10 years. The compact battery packs that came with BOSCH drill thats probably 8-10 years old now were 1.3Ah, new ones of the same size and weight are 2.0Ah. Maybe they are dragging their feet somewhat on R&D but its not like there is some easy solution to a better battery just sitting there on it, thats what all the startups are pushing for and they've been at it for like a decade now. Also if it was that easy China would have figured it out and put Samsung, LG and everyone else out of business long ago.

True! Best NiMH batteries I've ever owned. This chemistry is nearly on par with lithium and with no safety issues at all
Eneloops are nice and all but NiMH is nowhere near the energy density or the specif energy output of Li-ion. Can you imagine what a NiMH powered sawzaw or what laoptop computer would be like those cells?
 
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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.
It kinda does... I think what you mean is it doesn't mean they are technologically sufficient for the task, and I never claimed they were.

Eneloops are nice and all but NiMH is nowhere near the energy density or the specif energy output of Li-ion. Can you imagine what a NiMH powered sawzaw or what laoptop computer would be like those cells?
My old Compaq Contura 486 was Nimh powered... it's been done. It'd be heavier yes but not outrageously so.
 

bug

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bug

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Nickel is not harmful to the environment. It is a very common element.
It's not that common and it's compounds are carcinogenic. Also, afaik, recycling it is not that easy.

As for energy density, Wikipedia* lists 250-693 Wh/L for Li-ion and 140-300 Wh/L for NiMH. that's 50%, not 85-90%. It's not bad, but we're talking double the volume for the same amount of energy.

*sorry, couldn't think of something more reliable otoh
 
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the big advantage with lithium is that it dosnt self discharge.. picking up devices with flat batteries and the only way you could guaranty they would function was charge them before use did my head in..

i go back to the ni-cad days and do know what the standard procedure used to be.. "charge overnight before use".. not quite the same as just picking up and using which is what lithium provides..

i have lithium batteries that have stood for several years you can still just pick them up and use them.. mostly they will still have a good charge in them..

trog
 

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the big advantage with lithium is that it dosnt self discharge.. picking up devices with flat batteries and the only way you could guaranty they would function was charge them before use did my head in..

i go back to the ni-cad days and do know what the standard procedure used to be.. "charge overnight before use".. not quite the same as just picking up and using which is what lithium provides..

i have lithium batteries that have stood for several years you can still just pick them up and use them.. mostly they will still have a good charge in them..

trog
It's what this thread is about: the whole battery problem has so many dimensions, it's practically impossible to balance them all at the same time. It's why I (and others) have said, we may need a fresh start or some out-of-the-box thinking instead.

And what people don't want to admit is that oil, despite its CO2 and being non-renewable problems, addresses almost everything else quite nicely. That's what makes it hard to move off oil: it has set the bar pretty damn high.
 
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Flow batteries are hardly ever mentioned in discussions about EV batteries, I'm wondering how much research is being done on them currently. Some are supposed to have an incredible energy density of 1400 Wh/kg. There are big issues of course, like low power density, highly reactive chemicals, and also I'm not sure how they connect many cells in series, given that they all share a common flow of electrolyte.
 

bug

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Flow batteries are hardly ever mentioned in discussions about EV batteries, I'm wondering how much research is being done on them currently. Some are supposed to have an incredible energy density of 1400 Wh/kg. There are big issues of course, like low power density, highly reactive chemicals, and also I'm not sure how they connect many cells in series, given that they all share a common flow of electrolyte.
Just goes to show labs have been places where those of us untrained in the field can only begin to imagine...
 
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It's what this thread is about: the whole battery problem has so many dimensions, it's practically impossible to balance them all at the same time. It's why I (and others) have said, we may need a fresh start or some out-of-the-box thinking instead.

And what people don't want to admit is that oil, despite its CO2 and being non-renewable problems, addresses almost everything else quite nicely. That's what makes it hard to move off oil: it has set the bar pretty damn high.

as i have said before i am quite happy with the current lithium technology.. it does what i want it to and i dont expect miracles.. i cant help thinking that some people do.. :)

trog
 

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85% to 90% is nowhere near? Total nonsense.
When it comes to specific density the best NiMH is comparable to some of the lower density Li-ion cells but if you compare the best of what each can do its not close.
he big advantage with lithium is that it dosnt self discharge.. picking up devices with flat batteries and the only way you could guaranty they would function was charge them before use did my head in..

i go back to the ni-cad days and do know what the standard procedure used to be.. "charge overnight before use".. not quite the same as just picking up and using which is what lithium provides..

i have lithium batteries that have stood for several years you can still just pick them up and use them.. mostly they will still have a good charge in them..
That and internal resistance, and charge cycles are also aspects where Li-ion blow away NiMH. Not only do they hold more power (amp hours), you can access more of it (watts), you can put it back in faster, they hold their charge longer (self discharge), you can charge them more times (life cycle), and you don't have to specific about how you charge them (maintenance).

I remember using my grandpas pretty expensive Milwaukee NiMH tools as a kid and performance was not even close, and the tools weighed a ton compared to even mid range modern Ryobi or Ridged tools let alone a modern equivalent Milwaukee, Dewalt, Bosch or similar which perform essentially as good as a corded tool.
 
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It's not that common
Rubbish! It is one of the most common metals found on Earth.
and it's compounds are carcinogenic.
Nickel does not cause cancer. Where are you getting this nonsense from?
As for energy density, Wikipedia* lists 250-693 Wh/L for Li-ion and 140-300 Wh/L for NiMH. that's 50%, not 85-90%.
Try to remember, Wikipedia is a good reference site, it is not the end-all-be-all of science data, especially chemistry. My set of AA NiMH batteries have 2500mah rating. I have a similar set of Lithium batteries and that are rated for 3000mah but only ever output 2800mah at max when new. The NiMH set is older than the lithium set and are still going strong. The lithium set is already starting to die. The NiMH cost less. and has lasted longer.

the big advantage with lithium is that it dosnt self discharge.
That's total nonsense as well. Lithium batteries have a slower standing discharge rate, but it does happen.
i go back to the ni-cad days
We were not talking about Nickel Cadmium batteries. We're talking about Nickel Metal Hydride vs Lithium Ion batteries.

Can we stop with the disinformation?
 
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The NiMH cost less. and has lasted longer.
Cost less yes and while maybe true in your case this statement does not represent Li-ion vs NiMH performance. Li-ion cells hold their charge longer, have a longer shelf life, and can go through far more charging cycles before they significantly degrade.
 
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