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back to article Boffins builds lithium battery that can't explode

Scientists from Stanford University in the US have worked out how to build a lithium-sulphur battery that doesn't require a lithium metal electrode. That, they say, will make it free from the "serious safety issues" that have been holding the technology back. Lithium-sulphur is seen as a strong contender for the next generation …

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Gold badge
Go

Looks impressive on paper

Just like other technologies did.

And "Silicon wire" for the Anode? sounds tricky to make and expensive.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple?

after five discharge and recharge cycles, the Stanford battery's capacity has fallen by two-thirds. After between 40 and 50 cycles, the battery stops holding any charge at all.

Sounds about right for the ipad v2.

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Alert

Never, a truer word.

http://www.itproportal.com/portal/news/article/2010/3/15/apple-has-no-ipad-battery-replacement-plans-swaps-device-instead/

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FAIL

Oh please.

It's exactly the same f*cking policy they've had for years on the iPhone and iPad. It's much, much easier (and cheaper) to just send the things off to their recycling centres.

Many countries—particularly in the EU—require manufacturers to take care of recycling their products, so this is just a trivial extension of the same logistics and infrastructure. It's certainly cheaper

The customer gets a new (or refurb, which Apple defines as "including a brand new casing") replacement unit instead.

The *effect* is identical: you get a product back which works and holds its charge. This is all the customer actually gives a shit about; how it's achieved—a big factory in China, or some guy in an Apple Store's storeroom with a screwdriver—is utterly irrelevant.

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Alert

@ Oh please.

I'd have to disagree with the idea that the effect is identical. I take good care of my personal electronics and do not think a refurb with a new casing is a sufficiently valuable trade-off, nor do I find any electronics worked on by some low pay junior technician to have been handled well in the process.

No thanks, I'd MUCH rather replace the battery myself even if it means heating up the ole soldering iron to do so. Then again, I cringe every time I need to take my automobile to a mechanic instead of having to DIY too, as the quality of most work these days leaves a lot to be desired.

Lastly, it is not much easier and cheaper to send a device back and forth than it is to just order a compatible battery and pop a gadget apart unless the designer takes measures to prevent that. These batteries don't use alien tech, just order the right size or smaller form factor and Bob's your uncle. Quick, and probably less than half the cost.

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Silver badge
Unhappy

Will it work in other countries?

The ones that use Sulphur?

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Happy

RE: Will it work in other countries?

I have never heard of a battery that refuses to work when it passes national boundaries and works again when it enters another country. Batteries usually don't have GPS technology built in. ;-)

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RE: Will it work in other countries?

No GPS yet, but one day, who knows? Batteries already have a processor and firmware in them... it amused me when I had to install a firmware update for the battery on my laptop a few years ago.

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FAIL

well, yes because...

..., while sulphur is its classical british name, element 16 has three accepted variations according to the OED (to which one should defer) namely: sulpur, sulphur and sulfur.

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Boffin

However, the IUPAC name is Sulfur

Which just goes to show that our transatlantic cousins have more influence over such matters than they should. Glod alone knows what the RSC were thinking when they accepted this spelling in the UK, over the historical spelling with the ph, which had stood for over 600 years...

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Whats' the betting...

>The biggest hurdle is the low charge-recharge cycle count

That the answer to this will start with 'nano'?

Good going people - keep banging those rocks together.

ttfn

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Bronze badge
Unhappy

@hplasm

Don't worry mate, I got it and entirely agree with you - what the fark is this "sulfur"?

The battery in this article sounds like just another example of battery tech that will end up going nowhere.

And what a disappointing final paragraph, it actually makes me wonder why this is news at all. "Boffins make less dangerous battery, manages only 5 recharge cycles" sums it up. I'll take my chances with the pyrotechnic variety batteries as they're far more useful in the long run.

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Thumb Up

RE: Will it work in other countries?

I'm sure it will. However, it will only be made in America 'cause that's the only place that Sulfur is available. Elsewhere someone will have to develop the parallel sulphur battery. Hopefully they're not too far behind.

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Megaphone

Suphur, sulfur

Damn you modernist I want my batteries made of good olde world Brimstone!

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Thumb Up

What's that you say?

Ye olde Brimftone? I agree!

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But they have

Sulphide too? Is that imported?

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Boffin

Its an interesting glimpse of whats possible.

I find this research interesting as it shows another way to theoretically go beyond lithium-ion batteries. Its obviously not finished technology but I just don't get the narrow minded criticism of this *research*. Sure its disappointing its not finished, but its research. Progress moves forward regardless of if you learn something doesn't work just as you move forward if you learn something does work. The point is you still learn whatever happens. In inventing anything, each obstacle in turn needs to be worked around and research like that takes time to *learn* what does and doesn't work, to finally workout how to solve the problems at hand.

Im frankly dismayed at the narrow minded criticism. History is filled with examples of the top inventors in the world who had to suffer similar onslaughts of sickening laughter and criticism at every move they made. So cut inventors and researchers some slack.

I'll leave the last words to no less than Mahatma Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win"

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Silver badge
Boffin

energy density

Bertone are already using lithium-polymer batteries that have a claimed 1000 Wh/kg, they're already in production since last year, just saw it yesterday at the Geneva motor show . No word on number of charge/discharge cycles but is being used in a car that's already available for sale now so must be in the high hundreds at least (1000 = daily chareg for 3 years, not bad for reltively new tech)

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Boffin

Sulfur<>Sulphur

So how does one stand on a patent infringement?

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Coat

Re:Sulfur<>Sulphur

"So how does one stand on a patent infringement?"

With one foot on the neck, leaving the other foot free to get the boot in.

Mine's the one with the matching Doc Martens.

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Brimstone

+1 definitely, definitely.

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Alert

No more bloating smoking...

li-ion and li-poly batteries? Can't wait to see the day, hopefully this setup is commercially feasible.

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Gold badge
Jobs Horns

Will leak detection become a lot easier

Just follow your nose to find the bad battery.

Finally a product of the horned one worthy of his talent.

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Anonymous Coward

No explosions?

Damnit, that takes all the fun out of it.

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Re:Narrow-minded criticism

Couldn't agree more. If it can be made to work in the future then the research is valuable. If it can't be made to work then they've at least tried it and ruled it out which is almost as valuable since it helps the original goal of finding a better battery technology. No glory in failed projects but they are just as important as successful ones overall.

Plus the cathode tech might be transferable to other concepts.

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