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back to article BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff

Battery capacity remains a big issue in devices ranging from phones to electric vehicles – and one of the biggest constraints is the materials used to make electrodes. A paper published at Nature Nanotechnology (abstract here), offers a promising lead for improvements as boffins say they've hit on a way to replace today's anode …

Anonymous Coward

The real question is what is it like after 1000 cycles?

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or how about once a day for say 5 years or 10 ~ 3650 cycles before I have to replace the car/battery, assuming you plug it back in when you get home each day.

So with that electrical density number, can someone tell me how to work out the theoretical storage potential with a view to comparison with fuel cells, petrol etc. Assuming the tech improves would it be theoretically possible to have a car size battery with the capacity for say 600 to 1000km?

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Assuming

they're not being deliberately misleading and are quoting the efficiency at 100 cycles because that's what they've tested (rather than because, say, it drops off a cliff at 101 cycles) I'd suspect that at 1000 cycles it's still pretty good. (99% efficiency is good for any technology - 99.9% is better.) But as always with these new battery technologies it's wait and see.

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Did you want 700 mile range or are you plugging it in every day?

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The real question is, how cheap can they make it?

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WTF?

Vehicle range

You need around 100KWh for s decent car motive battery

I cant quite make the numbers add up, but at 3.8Ah per gram., that's (at a cell voltage of 3.7v) around 10Wh per gram or 10kWh per kg.

That is so far from actual battery weights that I simply don't believe it.

Wiki suggest lithium is less than 0.5Wh per gram

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"The real question is, how cheap can they make it?"

Lithium is relatively cheap. Lots of it around, and it tends to be produced by very large operations who minimize production costs.

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"Lithium is relatively cheap. Lots of it around..."

Analogies can sometimes be tricky, but your comment is a lot like saying "Carbon is relatively cheap. Lots of it around...so diamonds are cheap too" or perhaps more pertinent to the flavour of this article "Silica is relatively cheap. Lots of it around...so aerogel would be cheap to make too."

The trick to this new anode is in the construction of the lithium within the carbon nanoshperes. I suspect the final cost will probably relate more to the expense and complexity of the manufacturing process, rather than the cost of the base lithium itself.

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Once the boffins get done, then there's the headache of figuring out how to mass produce it. Just because the boys in the lab can make something doesn't mean it can done on a production line. It should be interesting to see where this goes... including who buys the patent.

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Here's hoping that it can be modified for mass production and some company doesn't sit on the patient to milk existing factory equipment.

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MrT
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Ouch...

...they don't have to be that cruel, Shirley? :-)

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Re: Ouch...

Someday I am going to get round to fixing that autocorrect.

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Def
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Happy

Re: Ouch...

Someday I am going to get round to fixing that autocorrect.

Please don't.

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Pint

Re: Ouch...

As you asked so nicely.

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Thumb Up

Still V 0.1 tech.

Obvious concern what's the cost (in bulk) of those carbon nano spheres and how do you lay them down consistently.

Still thumbs up for continuing to try to improve capacity, which has a long way to go.

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Re: Still V 0.1 tech.

"and how do you lay them down consistently"

Very small tweezers and mucilage.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

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Stop

Re: Chemical Battery limitations....

Are you capable of coming on here to comment without shilling your own blog?

No? Thought not. Time to test El reg's report button.

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Isn't there a problem coming with shortages of Lithium?

And they want to double usage of it?

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Nope. Lithium is very common. Are you thinking of the rare earths?

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The rare earths are also, ironically, not that rare :-)

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Pint

"...if the anode could be made of lithium, it would make batteries lighter..."

Anode surface = chemistry.

Anode center = conductor.

The anode structure should be made of something that is a good conductor and light (and might even be hollow if applicable), and then it should be plated with whatever the heck they want to make the chemistry work. It matters not if the plating 'weighs the Moon' per unit volume since it could be a thin layer.

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evs

Re: "...if the anode could be made of lithium, it would make batteries lighter..."

The "plating" is not a catalyst. It is actually consumed by the reaction and replaced by charging. A very thin coating would be consumed almost instantly leaving you with a flat battery.

To use the lead anode of a lead acid battery as an example, the discharge reaction is:

Pb(s) + HSO4-(aq) → PbSO4(s) + H+(aq) + 2e−

In other words, the battery will only run until there's no more Pb (the anode/plating is gone).

I believe that the gist of the article is that the problem with lithium anodes is that recharging doesn't plate the Li onto the anode nicely but forms "hair" instead. The carbon structure acts like a hairnet.

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Def
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Joke

Re: "...if the anode could be made of lithium, it would make batteries lighter..."

Good God, man! This is the internet. Won't you think of the children before you let all those facts, science, and reason fly?

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Joke

So very close...

...but they need to be working with dilithium crystals. Chief Engineer Scott should join this team immediately...

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Re: So very close...

Would that be di-lithium? Two working lithium crystals?

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Alien

Eh?

so that's a "No" then?

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Meh

New batteries...

Are like the new River Thames crossing in East London, I will believe it once I see them building it.

Or in the case of the batteries; I will believe it the day I can buy them off the store.

On both of those things (The crossing and the batteries) news of a better improved one come every now and then.

But until then it will continue to be the classic battle of educating the wife to buy the original rabbit batteries instead of the cheap Chinese generic ones they sell at the super market.

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Re: New batteries...

Whatever the ultimate battery tech is, it's probably no single one of any of these stories, but a combination of bits of all of them. The power to weight ratio on this example is so amazing I'm not sure I believe it - I hope this isn't another "poke ordinary cells to make stem cells, honest!" type paper. And I'd like to know how easy it is to coat something with buckyballs - that sounds groundbreaking all by itself.

On the other hand there has been a lot of progress in battery tech - for example I recently purchased a jumpstarter that weighs less than a pound (the Jackco Zeta), replacing one I used to keep in my car that weighs 25 pounds. And the Zeta works better! I keep the old jumpstarter in my garage to inflate my bike tires (which it is quite good at, at least).

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Re: New batteries...

That's no big deal. They swapped Lead acid batteries for Lithium.

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Re: New batteries...

You really don't want Lithium batteries in your Rabbit. Oh gods no...

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Re: New batteries...

<snip>

"But until then it will continue to be the classic battle of educating the wife to buy the original rabbit batteries instead of the cheap Chinese generic ones they sell at the super market."

Does she go through a lot of batteries in her rabbit? Enquiring minds and all that.

They have heavy duty ones in the US that run off the mains or any handy 25 KVA generator. I am not sure whether this is a testament to US women or possibly US technology.

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Re: New batteries...

But until then it will continue to be the classic battle of educating the wife to buy the original rabbit batteries instead of the cheap Chinese generic ones they sell at the super market.

Disappointment is an effective teacher.

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Re: New batteries...

@Pet Peeve

Awesome. You fill your bike tyres with electricity! Why didn't I think of that? Oh wait...

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5 years ago we were promised x4 capacity batteries using nanotechnology. Where did they go?

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The future I believe. Hang on, let me check, brb.

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35 minutes in now, still nothing.

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"5 years ago we were promised x4 capacity batteries using nanotechnology. Where did they go?"

They are in the small drawer underneath the one where the cutlery is kept. You might have to test them all because somebody keeps putting the dead ones back.

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somebody keeps putting the dead ones back.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who suffers with that. One of the few times I appreciate the expense of the duracell batteries with the charge test strips on them.

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Don't those test strips use up a lot of power?

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"Don't those test strips use up a lot of power?"

Only if you have small children that like to watch the colours change.......

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I'd rather we skipped all this folderol and went right to Foundation-style micro-mini nuke reactors. :)

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