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Topic # 240826 27-Sep-2018 17:53
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One of my concerns re electric based vehicles is the battery technology. It seems they require rare metals or non recyclable materials. As such it seems we are stealing irreplaceable resources from our future generations.

Is there any movement on finding ways of storing electrcity or energy that doesn't involve lithium or beryllium or other rare elements or ways of solar generating power not using more polluting or rare and irreplaceable elements?

Would we be better finding ways of storing heat and using solar to run stream engines or similar to provide locomotion?

Is virtual capacitor technology likely to be useful soon?




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  Reply # 2097662 27-Sep-2018 18:03
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I think you will find the precious elements in the batteries stay in the batteries.

 

The batteries are not nuclear reactors, so the same amount of lithium will always be in the battery...

 

 

 

In the future, there will be battery recycling plants to recycle batteries back into their elemental forms. A similar thing happens with catalytic converters in ICE cars.


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  Reply # 2097667 27-Sep-2018 18:08
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Lithium is pretty neat - it's likely we'll have something else ready to go before we run out of it. Everyone is trying to move away from rare earth materials at the moment:

 

https://phys.org/news/2018-04-sodium-ion-battery.html

 

In the more immediate future, Tesla is moving to eliminate cobalt entirely, Panasonic reckon it will be some time in the next 12 months.The more energy dense the batteries get, the less of these rare-earth materials we'll need to maintain the same level of energy capacity. 

 

Don't forget there's all sorts of rare earth items in things like solar panels and even the motors in electric cars. 


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  Reply # 2097668 27-Sep-2018 18:10
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There really is nothing to worry about here.

 

Lithium is not exactly rare but in any case, the most fully recycled manufactured item today is the car battery. Last time I saw any data, car battery recycling was up around 99.x percent in the developed world.

 

There is no reason to suspect that this will change any time soon.


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  Reply # 2097673 27-Sep-2018 18:22
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jpoc:

There really is nothing to worry about here.


Lithium is not exactly rare but in any case, the most fully recycled manufactured item today is the car battery. Last time I saw any data, car battery recycling was up around 99.x percent in the developed world.


There is no reason to suspect that this will change any time soon.




When something has scrap metal value, it will definitely get recycled.

Inventing a battery technology that only needs commonly available materials. Means that those batteries will be very cheap to make. So a very big financial incentive to research and invent a better battery technology.





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  Reply # 2099253 1-Oct-2018 11:10
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Bit confused with that post on "solid-state" batteries. It seems to contrast them with liquid batteries. 

 

So, what are Lipo batteries if they aren't also "solid-state" batteries?


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  Reply # 2099279 1-Oct-2018 11:45
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nunz:

 

Is virtual capacitor technology likely to be useful soon?

 

With virtual capacitors and virtual power we should be able to go virtually anywhere :-)

 

Have virtual capacitors got off paper calculations to be of any real power use?

 

 





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  Reply # 2099287 1-Oct-2018 11:53
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Lithium has the highest energy density of anything we've been able to make into a battery. At number 3 on the periodic table (and the lowest metal), there aren't a lot of options for moving on. Interestingly, Li Ion batteries (like used in cars and phones) don't actually use lithium as an anode (cf. lithium metal batteries/watch cells), rather as the electrolyte. As such, Li Ion are actually less energy dense than Lithium Metal batteries.

 

And having just checked wikipedia's energy density list, it turns out that my phone's energy density is somewhat less than a potato chip, and much less than a ham and cheese sandwich. We need a Back to the Future Mr Fusion to power our cars!

 

IMHO, this is one of the reasons that Toyota in particular is focussing on fuel cell technologies, rather than BEV. Hydrogen is way more energy dense. Fuel cells are a completely different scientific principle to batteries though.

 

As a sci-fi fan, I also remain disappointed that capacitors (which store energy electro statically rather than electro chemically) haven't had a bit more focus. Not very energy dense, but (more or less) infinitely rechargeable without degradation. Might not be able to increase their density to the point where they fit in a car, but I'd be interested in their use as a short term store for time shifting solar energy (i.e. store energy from the day, use at night).

 

EDIT: Disregard the potato chip bit. Turns out I can't just assume that the same headers were used consistently across tables on Wikipedia.

 

EDIT 2: turns out strikethrough is '[s]' not '[strike]'


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  Reply # 2099289 1-Oct-2018 11:55
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Lithium is actually a fairly common element. They estimate there is 230 billion tonnes of it dissolved in the sea. Talk of there being a lithium shortage is putting the cart before the horse, where as it is actually a chicken or the egg coming first type scenario.

 

Yes, there are not many lithium mining operations, but that is because historically demand has been low - the ceramics/glass industry used to be a primary consumer. The market won't waste money by mining more than is needed. Now there is increasing demand, new mines are being built. China has been developing domestic lithium mines and ramping up local production. Many mineral companies are reviewing opportunities in their areas of influence.

 

All metals were a struggle to mine and concentrate in the early days of their development and production. For instance, aluminium was extremely hard to find, mine and very expensive (it was more expensive than platinum) to refine back in the 1800's. But now it has developed and industrialised to the point that it's so cheap and easy that we use it in single use packaging. The biggest challenge with lithium is that although there is lots of it on earth, it readily dissolves in water, so the concentrations of it are low, with few dense deposits like iron. No one paid lithium much attention in the past but now (pretty much) for the first time ever lots of smart minds are focusing on industrialising the mining/concentration processes. Presently new methods of concentrating it out of salt water etc are being developed with some breakthroughs/leaps that are being used to improve existing mine efficiency and exploit concentrations formerly considered marginal. This will continue, driven by demand. The ultimate goal will be to concentrate if from sea water, and once there anyone next to the ocean will be able to make it.


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  Reply # 2099291 1-Oct-2018 11:58
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Hydro is a big battery that doesn't steal from future generations and uses reality available and recyclable materials. A lot of self labelled environmentalists don't like to admit it, but hydro is the perfect complement to solar energy.


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  Reply # 2099296 1-Oct-2018 12:09
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linw: Bit confused with that post on "solid-state" batteries. It seems to contrast them with liquid batteries. 

 

So, what are Lipo batteries if they aren't also "solid-state" batteries?

 

LiPo batteries still have a flammable liquid electrolyte. The flammable electrolyte is one of the reasons they are restricted for air transport. Just because the liquid isn't sloshing around in a container like a lead-acid doesn't mean is isn't a liquid. In many batteries is in the form of a paste, jell or suspended in a porous spongy separator.

 

The function of an electrolyte is to enable ions to move between neg and pos plates, which is simple in a liquid so liquids have been the natural electrolyte choice. Ion's moving through a solid is much more challenging, hence solid state batteries have been a bit of a unicorn.


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  Reply # 2099529 1-Oct-2018 16:52
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Thanks, Tripper, for your comprehensive answer.




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  Reply # 2100890 3-Oct-2018 16:41
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tripper1000:

Hydro is a big battery that doesn't steal from future generations and uses reality available and recyclable materials. A lot of self labelled environmentalists don't like to admit it, but hydro is the perfect complement to solar energy.



I agree . for houses its ideal but unless you have abig extension cord our can run your own vehicle based hydro system it's back to batteries for vehicles.

I saw an article about someone trying to get electric conductive or inductive roadiing set up. Cars ran off the power in the road. That makes hydro agood use for vehicles.

Wellington units and trolley buses worked well and are agood model for public transport.

're hydrogen cell. My understanding is they require rare metals and deplete them. Using metals must change their charge and use them up other wise we would use lead acid batteries and just replace the acid.

Ditto lithium? If not then why do they fade? Something must get used up or converted to another compound requiring energy input to get them back to their initial state.

Ocean mining has been a passionate belief since i was akid. Surprised we don't do more.





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  Reply # 2100901 3-Oct-2018 17:32
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There was some discussion in the last few years of carbon-carbon batteries.  Expected to be cheaper than lithium and carbon is common/cheap.  I'm not sure about the energy density.  I haven't seen anything about them in a while.  http://powerjapanplus.com/about/

 

Helium and hydrogen are lighter than lithium.

 

Helium is inert so it's as much use as nipples on a breast plate.

 

Hydrogen is problematic for use in batteries due to being an explosive gas - unless dissolved as an acid and then the water adds weight.  In theory if you pressurise hydrogen enough it will behave like a metal ... but good luck trying that in any practical application.  Hydrogen makes more sense in a fuel cell application.

 

So yep for batteries lithium is where it's at.  No sign yet of the energy density improvement of lithium batteries flattening off in recent graphs I have seen.  There will be an asymptote, but we aren't there yet.

 

 





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  Reply # 2100912 3-Oct-2018 18:14
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Hydrogen instead of PHEV or EV or Hybrids is the answer from Toyota.

 

Up till recently NiMH were not recycled in New Zealand. It had changed - those are now recycled and shipped abroad (certain volume required).

 

We will see a huge pile of useless batteries from Leafs in a few year time - surely someone will find incentive to ship those away for recycling abroad.





Toyota / Lexus Hybrid and EV Battery Expert Battery Test & Repair 

 

 


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