Reply to post: Re: We'll never get longer lasting batteries...

Google begins to roll out Lollipop to Nexus devices

Lee D Silver badge

Re: We'll never get longer lasting batteries...

"But it must be a conspiracy!"

Please point out any battery technology that comes into the same order of magnitude as petroleum in terms of energy density. You won't find one. There are claims from labs (usually before they've done anything past micro-scale tests on a single tiny cell and extrapolated up), but zero actual products - prototype or real - at scalable / commercial sizes. Because, inevitably, they become unwieldy and impractical very quickly.

Batteries are getting better all the time. You can now run your car or motorbike entirely from a battery. Hardly anybody does, because the charging times are in the same order of magnitude as the discharge times in use. It simply takes that long to put that much power into something that you want to push that much power out over any length of time. It took several million years and billions of tons of rock compressing organic matter to make your petrol, that's the only reason we can take it "for free" and use it almost immediately.

I have a 85KW car engine in my 15-year-old car. Do you have any concept on how much damn power that actually is? You house probably has 240V x standard 100A consumer unit = 24KW at absolute max. My car supplies over three times as much power as my house can take without asking the electricity board to up the incoming line for me. Even if you extrapolate that down from the maximum, my car at 3000rpm is generating levels of power that my house couldn't handle. From petroleum, it'll do it for half a day straight.

What you're asking for is the impossible at the moment, not the result of some conspiracy theory. The guy that fixes the battery problem, plus the associated current-handling problems for a decent time of charging, is a billionaire overnight. Just the patent would be worth billions. There are no patents of this kind even filed, let alone being sat on. There's plenty of research. THOUSANDS of "this will be the next battery". Nothing that scales, no matter how reproducible or well published it is.

I have a 240V 32A "commando connector" (building site connector to you and me) on the side of my house. We use it to power a pottery kiln to 1600 degrees for 12 hours. When we do that, we have to be careful of what else we turn on in the house, because that's the single-biggest current draw we have and very unusual for an ordinary house.

It's not even close to what's required to charge an electric car in any short amount of time. Standard charging units recommended for electric cars are usually in the 80A range. My connector, connected to a top-of-the-range electric MOPED would take a couple of hours to give a full charge that will get me 100 miles at 25mph. Just. Batteries are just atrocious storage units - actually, they're not, only when compared to petroleum do they look puny in comparison.

The next tech is super-capacitors. They don't have the "hours to charge" problem, but instead have immense "current-draw" problems which would blow the *street* fuse if you did what you want to do (charge in 15 minutes). They also lose current still, are stupendously expensive to make, and that amount of power going into and out of a device generates all kinds of issues - not least arcing at terminals, conductor degradation, heating, and actual PHYSICAL STRESS. You can make any high-power device move, click, buzz and bang by flicking the switch, imagine what something an order of magnitude more powerful does.

The world is moving away from oil. The company that holds a patent on a battery technology capable of even a fraction the energy density of petroleum will own the industry overnight. Energy companies, oil companies included, will give their right arm to secure their future as it's looking increasingly bleak for them - everything from pollution to renewable grants to energy prices to wars in oil-producing countries is against them. The first to do so will abandon oil for energy (maybe for plastics, etc.) and push their battery technology into your face and gain billions in worldwide government grants that would make our global oil budget look like chicken feed.

It's not a conspiracy. It's just impossible to pack that much energy into that small a device without doing it on the molecular level. And that's expensive and energy-intensive and difficult to do.

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