Lithium-ion battery with new chemistry could power electric vehicles

Feb 21, 2011 By Lisa Zyga feature
Images of the cathode, which is made of lithium manganese oxide doped with nickel and cobalt, as seen under a field emission scanning electron microscope. Image credit: Jusef Hassoun, et al. ©2011 American Chemical Society.

(PhysOrg.com) -- While car companies race to develop electric and hybrid electric vehicles, one of the biggest challenges they face is finding a suitable energy storage system. Lithium-ion batteries, which currently power a variety of smaller consumer electronics devices, could ideally fill this role. But at the moment, they require further improvements in terms of energy density and power density in order to be used effectively in electric vehicles. Now in a new study, researchers have developed a novel type of lithium-ion battery with an anode and cathode that involve new, advanced battery chemistries, greatly improving the battery’s performance and likely making it suitable for electric vehicles.

The researchers, Jusef Hassoun, Ki-Soo Lee, Yang-Kook Sun, and Bruno Scrosati, from the University of Rome Sapienza in Rome, Italy, and Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea, have published their study on the advanced in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Their study builds on the team’s previous research involving the development of novel, advanced lithium-ion battery chemistries. The key to the high performance lies in the battery’s . Here, the scientists use a tin-carbon anode and a made of lithium manganese oxide doped with nickel and cobalt. As far as the researchers know, a lithium-ion battery with this unique electrode combination has never been reported before.

“The battery is based on a new combination between a high-voltage cathode and a nanostructured anode material,” Scrosati told PhysOrg.com. “The battery operates with a very stable capacity at high discharge rates with no significant capacity losses throughout the entire cycling test.”

The new electrode materials provide certain advantages for the overall battery. As the researchers previously demonstrated, the tin-carbon anode has a high cycling life of several hundred cycles without a reduction in capacity, as well as discharge-charge efficiency approaching 100%. By applying a surface treatment to the anode, the researchers could further improve the capacity.

As for the new manganese-based cathode materials, they are more abundant, less expensive, more environmentally friendly, and have a higher stability at low temperatures compared to the lithium cobalt oxide cathode used in conventional lithium-ion batteries. Also, in designing the new cathode, the researchers carefully optimized the composition, particle size, shape, morphology, and tap density.

“The battery has: 1) a high volumetric and gravimetric energy density; 2) a high rate capability due to the nano-structured characteristics of the electrode materials; 3) an excellent cycle life; and 4) low cost, due to the use of electrode materials based on abundant elements,” Scrosati said.

The cathode’s high voltage and high capacity provides the new battery with a higher energy density (170 Wh/kg at average discharge voltage of 4.2 volts) than conventional lithium-ion batteries.

“The conventional lithium-ion batteries have an energy density of about 120-150 Wh/kg, depending on the used cathode material,” Scrosati said. “Generally, commercial lithium battery cells using layer structure cathode materials, for instance, NCA and NMC, deliver from 100 to 150 Wh/kg.”

Altogether, the high energy density, stable cycle life, and high rate capacity suggest that the battery looks very promising for powering electric vehicles.

“In summary, with respect to those using conventional lithium-ion batteries, using our may assure: 1) a longer driving range (210 km/charge vs. 150 km/charge due to the higher ; 2) a higher top speed; 3) a lower cost; and 4) better overall performance especially at low temperatures,” Scrosati said.

Explore further: Triplet threat from the sun

More information: Jusef Hassoun, et al. “An Advanced Lithium Ion Battery Based on High Performance Electrode Materials.” Journal of the American Chemical Society. DOI:10.1021/ja110522x

4.6 /5 (32 votes)

Related Stories

New Hitachi Li-ion batteries to last ten years

Apr 09, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Hitachi has announced they may be able to double the life of rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries through the development of a new cathode material. The material was developed in conjunction ...

Recommended for you

NASA is catalyst for hydrogen technology

4 hours ago

NASA answered a call to help the world's largest aerospace company develop a better way to generate electricity for its aircraft. Instead, it wound up helping a very small technology company to thrive.

Triplet threat from the sun

22 hours ago

The most obvious effects of too much sun exposure are cosmetic, like wrinkled and rough skin. Some damage, however, goes deeper—ultraviolet light can damage DNA and cause proteins in the body to break down ...

User comments : 57

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

holoman
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2011
Present technology takes 18 to 24 months before lithium product is produced.

A new process under investigation will produce large
amounts of lithium in real time.

colossal storage corp.
petrossa
1.7 / 5 (12) Feb 21, 2011
Will be fun to watch the electric grid from the spacestation. At the evening when commuters come and recharge their vehicles they can see it glow red for 1/10th of second and watch the nice explosions of transformers buckling under the stress.

Even at present most western nations powergrids can just about cope, imagine when for example the US grid is suddenly are called upon to supply the equal amount of energy of approx 40% of 22,000,000 bbl/day. (traffic consumption)

I can't be bothered to calculate it, but it is a lot. Rewiring the grid to be able to cope is sheer impossible. You'd need such thick main cables they'd just sag to the ground under their own weight.

But hey. Dream on.

Eikka
2.8 / 5 (12) Feb 21, 2011
The impact of every household having an electric car would be About the same as every household running a washing machine for 4-8 hours every night.

The grid could supply all these cars with minor improvements and more local stations, but the real problem is that since wind power doesn't turn on demand, nor does the sun shine, nor do we have many more places to put up dams because of ecological concerns, nor can we build more nuclear power stations due to similiar objections, the energy for these cars must come from coal, oil and gas.

So the solution is a non-solution. A sleight of hand.

If we start buying electric cars now, then we must build fossil fuel powerplants now. The operational lifetime of those plants will be decades, which means many generations of electric cars will run all their life with zero impact on our fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions.

Hoping for some future clean electricity thus does not help at all. We need the clean energy before we need the electric car.

fmfbrestel
3.8 / 5 (8) Feb 21, 2011
supply and demand. the cables are not the problem, grid capacity is the limiting factor. lets say we go gang busters and triple Obama's goal of 1 million electric cars by 2015. 3m electric cars can easily charge at night without making the grid even blink. Now 300m electric cars is another matter, but we probably have 15 years minimum before we near a 100% electric fleet. Plenty of time to upgrade the grid gradually.
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (4) Feb 21, 2011
But anyways. 170 Wh/kg is a nice improvement. It puts batteries at roughly 1 kg per 1 km for range for low speed commuter "smart cars".

With this improvement, the current EV models can now actually reach the number of miles per charge that they're already advertising without having to rely on dubious test standards. That's about all it's worth, though. The R&D department caught up with the marketing department.
Eikka
3.2 / 5 (6) Feb 21, 2011
3m electric cars can easily charge at night without making the grid even blink.


And what's even better, we don't need more generating capacity for those few cars. All we need to do is not turn the coal plants down at night, but keep shoveling more coal in. That makes better profit for the company because the plants give out more bang for the buck.

Isn't it nice?
fmfbrestel
5 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2011
"On average, a typical household in the United States uses 920 kWh of electricity per month" -- US department of Energy.

3 kWh *30 days = 90 kWh per month added to the grid per household. or about 10% and its all coming at night with plenty of excess capacity in the grid.
Walter_Mrak
4.6 / 5 (5) Feb 21, 2011
Stop worrying guys! We'll send you the clean power from Canada. Here in Manitoba where I live, we have excess power just going down the line to no one after all our needs are filled. Clean hydro electricity is more effidient than wind and has no deleterious environmental consequences to speak of. When Ontario had a reactor down, we sent them power and didn't even notice it.
kevinrtrs
3.7 / 5 (16) Feb 21, 2011
If we start buying electric cars now, then we must build fossil fuel powerplants now.

Or...we could start using those higher capacity batteries to start storing more energy from solar and wind powered stations....just a thought.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2011
This sounds like a step in the right direction, but I wonder how real it is. It seems like every time I read a story like this one I find out later that there was some big detail they left out.

A fully electric car is a bit hard to accept right now for private use. I guess if you have a little money to spare and your transportation needs are a good fit, then a fully electric car would be okay. The cost is just so high compared to a conventional car and the limited range would be a problem for me. I would need a second vehicle in addition to the electric one. Insurance and taxes on two vehicles would kill the deal for me. If they can get prices down to about equal with a normal car, then a hybrid would be better. At least then you only need one car, if the limitations and expense of a hybrid are within your needs and means. I'm just a poor, working, single parent so I need a car that will be reliable and affordable for 10+ years of use and have the utility to fill all my needs.
that_guy
3 / 5 (6) Feb 21, 2011
All of you people talking about blowing the electrical grid...do some research idiots.

1. Most power plants (Coal, nuclear, oil) cannot be easily ramped up or down. Others (Water, wind) can produce power at any time of day.
2. When you consider DEMAND, then it makes sense. We use tremendously less electricity at night, and yet most utilities keep on producing.

So instead of wasting electricity, we would be using it...more efficiently...at almost no extra cost...win, win, win....idiots.
Eikka
3 / 5 (4) Feb 21, 2011
If we start buying electric cars now, then we must build fossil fuel powerplants now.

Or...we could start using those higher capacity batteries to start storing more energy from solar and wind powered stations....just a thought.


Good idea.

The practical implications are a bit more daunting though. For example, a battery must be available at all times, with plenty of capacity for both in and out to smooth out the weekly, monthly and yearly variations in production and consumption, which means that you need to multiply the amount of batteries per car from one to several.

Where I live, wind power typically produces 30% less energy in the summer than in the winter, which means that to smooth out the difference, you need a battery that can store 15% of 6 months' production total, which is on the order of 500 kWh or ten times the size of the Tesla Roadster's battery.

It would cost you a million dollars per car.
Eikka
3 / 5 (5) Feb 21, 2011

2. When you consider DEMAND, then it makes sense. We use tremendously less electricity at night, and yet most utilities keep on producing.


No. They don't.

Supply and demand must match on the grid, otherwise things go bang. They do wind the generators down by anticipating the drop in demand, and predicting what the exact demand will be days, weeks, even months in advance is a big part of the business.

To reduce production for the night, they rev up peaking powerplants first so they can turn down the slower capacity in advance, and then ramp down the peaking plants as the demand for electricity drops.

Same thing in reverse in the morning.
petrossa
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 21, 2011
I might be an idiot, but there's no way no how you're going to push the energy required through the grid. All your sums ASSUME an even distribution. It's like calculating the global temperature, you just can't ASSUME all households connect nicely distributed. They just don't. They peak enormously here, a bit less there a bit more there. With all the brown/blackouts happening already with today's demands you are seriously imagining it can take up the strain of transport energy?

No matter if the energy is available, you need to bring it were it's needed. Todays loadbalancers are just about up tot the task. And no, you're not going to upgrade the grid in 15 years. Some smart people have invented 'smart grids'. So new installations will be 'smart'.

Let me make a prediction: Smart grids will be extremely stupid.
Predication Date: feb 21th 2011. Call me in 15 years to tell me i was right.

Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2011
you need a battery that can store 15% of 6 months' production total, which is on the order of 500 kWh or ten times the size of the Tesla Roadster's battery.

It would cost you a million dollars per car.


To clarify, the assumption was that each car would use 3 kWh per day on average, corresponding to about 12 miles of travel.

It thus follows, that to make ends meet with wind power that produces the required energy on average, with a variability of 30% between summer and winter, you would need an extra battery for each car that would be 30 * 3 * 6 = 540 kWh. Such battery today would cost you about $300 000 at the cheapest, without any of the other infrastructure involved like chargers or grid ties.

Even twenty years from now, it would likely cost more than two new cars to build a battery buffer in the grid for one car.

And it isn't just about cars. There's a reason why nobody isn't even spitting at grid battery power before the price drops well below $500 per kWh.
ab3a
3 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2011
Even at present most western nations powergrids can just about cope, imagine when for example the US grid is suddenly are called upon to supply the equal amount of energy of approx 40% of 22,000,000 bbl/day. (traffic consumption)


Preventing that scenario is one of the goals for the Smart Grid initiative. Also, imagine what it would be like if your car could be configured to store energy for the grid and to provide what it doesn't use back to stabilize the grid.
that_guy
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2011
Where I live, wind power typically produces 30% less energy in the summer than in the winter, which means that to smooth out the difference, you need a battery that can store 15% of 6 months' production total, which is on the order of 500 kWh or ten times the size of the Tesla Roadster's battery.

It would cost you a million dollars per car.


So we are to assume that your utility would never consider a mix of renewables and fossil fuels...such as a nat gas plant, or a small coal plant to make up the seasonal difference for wind? Seems a bit...no, that seems really myopic. Utilities would never waste their time trying to store energy for six months. Why? Because there a range of cheaper and more practical options.
Raygunner
3 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2011
When we get serious about this, power recharge stations (assuming a five to ten minute super-fast recharge using new generation battery cells) will have ultra-caps to store energy locally. These would fill gradually or quickly depending on smart power grid feedback, especially overnight where a low rate would replenish the charging station within an hour or two. Individual charge stations could link and share capacity with others to keep the local station charging network balanced. So you would have a station with typical gas pumps islands and islands for high-rate ultra-quick charging using DC voltage at 440v or above. Red or green LED arrays would alert the driver if the charging station was ready, or have "Kilowatt/H available" indicators analogous to a total gallon rating. If your EV is rated 15Kw-H total capacity and the station shows 20Kw-H local storage, then you would be good to go. Heck, if I ran the station I would throw in a free drink with the hamburger while they wait!
wiyosaya
5 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2011
Will be fun to watch the electric grid from the spacestation. At the evening when commuters come and recharge their vehicles they can see it glow red for 1/10th of second and watch the nice explosions of transformers buckling under the stress.

Even at present most western nations powergrids can just about cope, imagine when for example the US grid is suddenly are called upon to supply the equal amount of energy of approx 40% of 22,000,000 bbl/day. (traffic consumption)

I can't be bothered to calculate it, but it is a lot. Rewiring the grid to be able to cope is sheer impossible. You'd need such thick main cables they'd just sag to the ground under their own weight.

But hey. Dream on.


Actually, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory studied this a couple of years ago. According to the report (sorry, I don't have a link to it) the current grid has enough capacity to power 80 of all vehicles on the road today.
ODesign
5 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2011
Article is good news. Would like to hear more.

Anyone committed to implementing the technology yet? Anyone buy the patents yet? estimates for production costs and fabrication equipment (can we easily convert or modify existing fabrications tech).

Thanks for the positive article.

P.s. It seems to me the electric vehicle should be easily decoupled from the battery so they are independent systems. Build the car today with a 160 mile range and swap out the battery in 2 years with one that has a 210 mile range. Are the electric and hybrid cars manufactured currently build with that in mind?
joefarah
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 21, 2011
1. Battery technology is about to take off. We'll see energy densities quadruple by 2020.
2. The smart grid will work well, allowing a reduction in peak power usage from today's requirements
3. Obama's 1M on the road goal is lower than what we'll hit.
4. Most cars that are target for electric vehicles are in a multi-car family. That means, electric vehicle will supplement the main vehicle.
5. Cost of an electric vehicle will drop fast, but even if it doesn't, the combined reduction in gas costs (90%ish) and maintenance (TBD), and the longer life of the vehicle (as battery technology matures) will make gas cars unaffordable in comparison to electrics.
6. I want one now, but will wait 2 or 3 years for a better battery lifetime and density, as long as gas prices don't continue to rise
petrossa
1 / 5 (3) Feb 22, 2011
Battery power is about to take off.
Reality check:
90% of known lithium resources are owned by the Chinese.
Lithium is a limited resource.
Lithium will be needed for Tritium reactors.
Lithium battery production has a very negative environmental impact.
Battery power is never going to be able to equal hydrocarbon efficiency of energy storage per volume. It just can't. There is just no way to store energy as dense, riskfree using other methods, except for direct matter/energy conversion.
Storing electricity is THE most wasteful system of energy transference. The losses in generation, production of (fragile) storage units, losses in reconversion. The list is endless why it's a silly idea.
petrossa
not rated yet Feb 22, 2011
What is not a silly idea, and therefor will never be implemented, is natural gas conversion into diesel or other liquid hydrocarbons. An decades old process. If all the money wasted electric cars (with the build in certainty of failure) into finding a way to safely extract methane from the ocean deposits we'd be driving cars till the end of times.
It has too many advantages, it's too simple and just too common sense to ever take off.
No need for alteration of any kind in present infrastructure, no need for any changes to vehicles.
88HUX88
5 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2011
apparently 95% of UK journeys are less than 5 miles, instead of plugging in an electric car why not ride a bicycle over that distance? What's wrong with old and perfectly appropriate technology?
Eikka
2.5 / 5 (2) Feb 22, 2011

So we are to assume that your utility would never consider a mix of renewables and fossil fuels...such as a nat gas plant, or a small coal plant to make up the seasonal difference for wind? Seems a bit...no, that seems really myopic. Utilities would never waste their time trying to store energy for six months. Why? Because there a range of cheaper and more practical options.


I did, and the reason why you can't is because the renewable powers are so variable and their outputs don't match. Wind pushes solar out of the grid by producing at the same time while the demand is low, and vice versa.

Wind operates on a 15/75 probability, that is, 15% of the time it cranks up at almost full power, and 75% of the time it barely turns. To make it work, to not produce more than the demand is at any given time, you can only produce about 20% of the total energy in the grid with wind power, and at that point all the other power plants have to sway up and down to match the wind output.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2011
Actually, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory studied this a couple of years ago. According to the report (sorry, I don't have a link to it) the current grid has enough capacity to power 80 of all vehicles on the road today.


Uh yeah, you're gonna need to produce that link, because that claim stretches credulity past the breaking point....
Eikka
3 / 5 (3) Feb 22, 2011
That means, with conventional backup from gas/oil/coal you will still produce about 80% of your energy from fossil fuels, and you're stuck with it. You can't inject e.g. solar power because you can't adjust the output.

You can, but that's just wasting money because the panels have to be throttled down very often, and thus their energy produced per investment is lower and the cost of such electricity shoots up and becomes unaffordable.

Alternatively, you can wind the wind power down if they happen to turn at the same time as the sun shines, but that also drives up the cost of wind electricity and again makes it unaffordable by not allowing the mills to turn as much energy as they could.

The only real solution to it, that allows you to break free of fossil fuels for the majority of electricity production is to use massive grid scale energy storage, which is currently... unaffordable.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2011
apparently 95% of UK journeys are less than 5 miles, instead of plugging in an electric car why not ride a bicycle over that distance? What's wrong with old and perfectly appropriate technology?


Nothing. Just attitudes. On a velomobile, you can go 30 miles on a kWh, or 5 miles with just 170 Wh. A single car starter battery would get you ten miles, and you wouldn't even have to peddle yourself. Twenty miles if you want to ruin the battery quickly.
RodC
not rated yet Feb 22, 2011
==> Clean nuclear energy is REAL, it's PROVEN technology (40 years old), and it comes from that "electric rock" thorium. Please Google "Energy From Thorium" and "Thorium Energy Alliance" for the details. I promise you'll be amazed! And the Chinese Academy of Science has initiated a development program (25Jan2011) for Thorium Fueled Molten Salt Reactors (TFMSR's). China has an absolute worldwide monopoly on rare earth minerals. (The US military is at their mercy.) Thorium is a "waste" by-product of rare earth extraction, but the Chinese have been stockpiling this "waste" for decades. In 5 years you may be able to buy a small, modular TFMSR at Walmart for only $9,995, including an NRC license. The fuel will cost $9.95 for a 100-year supply, and it arrives as a sphere about the size of a "shooter" marble.
petrossa
5 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2011
apparently 95% of UK journeys are less than 5 miles, instead of plugging in an electric car why not ride a bicycle over that distance? What's wrong with old and perfectly appropriate technology?


Uh...Rain, Snow, Storm,Temperature, Age, Handicaps......
long list.

Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Feb 22, 2011
==> Clean nuclear energy is REAL, it's PROVEN technology (40 years old), and it comes from that "electric rock" thorium.


Thorium isn't really clean. It's cleaner, but it still leaves behind radioactive waste. The trick is that the waste is more radioactive than in traditional fission reactors, so it fizzles out and turns harmless faster.

It still takes hundreds of years before the radioactivity is at par with naturally occurring uranium.
jdbertron
1.5 / 5 (2) Feb 22, 2011
Has anyone thought that maybe trying to squeeze all the power in the battery is a problem we don't need to solve ?
Sure making better batteries with a higher energy density would be great, just as making engines that use less of the energy in them would be too. This is no different than improving the efficiency of gasoline engines.
But that problem doesn't need to be solved today. You can easily come up with ways to 'swap' car batteries at regular intervals just like you swap your barbecue's propane tank every time you run out.
It would be annoying if the range is short, but not impossible. It would also spread the charge time over longer periods. Finally, the swapping doesn't have to be manual. One can imagine a battery 'tank' with a serpentine/chain type of battery storage, that could be exchanged (even in fractional amounts) for fresh batteries.
So, please, no more of this 'it can't be done'. Let's start thinking creatively.
petrossa
not rated yet Feb 22, 2011
I'm sure that somewhere on this globe we'll find a place to store even the output of the entire worlds most dirty reactors produced over the next century without even trying as riskfree as anything on the earth.

Riskfreer even because causing the massive destruction and loss of life of one single sunami using just spent fuel takes some really concentrated effort.

It's just the pure fear installed in people and the total lack of any notion of size/danger ratio's, or for that matter even the total lack of any knowledge on the subject amongst the decision-makers that such a place hasn't been even discussed yet.

Fearmongers (weirdly mostly those who want us to stop using oil) keep on drumming the drum of danger. Their unreasonable fear is almost mystical, the fear of a god. Which fits in a rather weird way, green/durability is a religion to all intents and purposes.
petrossa
not rated yet Feb 22, 2011
So, please, no more of this 'it can't be done'. Let's start thinking creatively.


Here's a creative thought, the more energy you concentrate in one point in such a fragile system as a battery the greater the damage done when (not if) it explodes.

Batteries are expensive, dangerous and (certainly when massproduced to accomodate for a sizeable worldproduction) unreliable.

Modern batteries need a lot of electronics to keep them from turning into bombs. The assumption that only military grade IC's will be used is rather naive.

Furthermore it's a pipedream. Any system, no matter it's nature, is balanced between positives and negatives. So for all the good to say about electric cars, there's a balance of bad. No free lunches in this universe.
So why trade in a perfectly, well developed propulsion system, risks totally known, with a totally unknown if it's only done for the sake of some weird new-age Utopian fantasy?.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2011
You can easily come up with ways to 'swap' car batteries at regular intervals just like you swap your barbecue's propane tank every time you run out.


A nice idea yes, but again the practical reality needs to be considered. A car is not your barbeque that needs a replacement tank once in a blue moon.

The sheer number of batteries required to make it a practical reality drives the cost up so high that it becomes unfeasible with current and near future technologies that struggle to produce one battery for a car that would cost little enough to be sensible. Swapping it would require at least two, and having one always available everywhere you go would require, at least initially, many many more batteries than there are cars.

Would you pay for it?

Furthermore, the use of multiple steps in getting the energy into the car obviously complicates the matter in terms of efficiency, which ultimately makes or breaks the electric car in its impact on the environment.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2011

Here's a creative thought, the more energy you concentrate in one point in such a fragile system as a battery the greater the damage done when (not if) it explodes.


Before anyone complains that cars have gasoline which is explosive, I might remind them that gasoline does not include its own oxidizer to make it explode.

Batteries contain both parts of the chemical equation necessary to release the energy. They only lack the specific configuration to do so. That's like carrying solid rocket fuel in a canister. Set it on fire and it will go off in a boom.

However, as fragile as batteries are, very special circumstances are necessary for it to do so. Like the simultaneous shorting of all the cells in the battery. Such failures are easily limited, so while dangerous, a battery won't turn into a crater in the road for any trivial reasons.
petrossa
1 / 5 (1) Feb 23, 2011
The much vaunted Tesla contians a battreypack of 53 kw.

Which is 53*3.6 megajoules= 190 megajoules.
1 kg of TNT is 4.2 megajoules.

Petroltanks don't explode when full, only when you put an explosive next to it.
Batteries can explode when a chip fails, and release the equivalent of 45 kg of TNT.

No thanks.
mgb
not rated yet Feb 23, 2011
My two cents:
betterplace.com
Phyvyn
5 / 5 (1) Feb 23, 2011
How was that last breath of air? As a child of the universe we are able to do more when we try to take the next breath. This is another step to understand our problems and to consider solutions. It is one of many. Please stop being so negative. Just breathe. Take more time to appreciate what you have and improve on that. Happiness is a nice miracle.
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 24, 2011

Batteries can explode when a chip fails, and release the equivalent of 45 kg of TNT.

No thanks.


Technically, batteries can't explode. An explosion would be a supersonic shockwave through the material that advances faster than the flamefront of burning. There's nothing in a battery that could make it do that.

They may vent fire very violently and rupture with a bang, but they can't explode. Even with "45 kg of TNT", the release of energy is many orders of magnitude slower.
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 24, 2011
The reason why TNT explodes is that it contains unstable nitrogen bonds that release energy when broken. A sufficiently strong shock will break those bonds and release the energy - the TNT detonates because all those chemical bonds are broken almost instantly.

A battery works in the opposite direction. The lithium ions have to move between the cathode and the anode and combine chemically to release the energy. The ions won't move unless there's an electrical connection between the anode and the cathode.

So it would require very extraordinary circumstances for a battery to explode. Even if you short it out completely, every single cell, its internal resistance would limit the rate of reaction and the thing would simply melt and catch fire. It would burn like a pile of gunpowder, but not explode.
petrossa
2 / 5 (1) Feb 24, 2011
You might try tell that to the all the persons whose lion battery pack of their cellphones blew up. I rather doubt they'd agree with you.

Google: Exploding battery
About 4,370,000 results (0.23 seconds)

Even if the rate of energy release is slower then TNT (so is gunpowder) its still mighty fast enough to make you very unhappy.
kaasinees
1.5 / 5 (6) Feb 24, 2011
Batteries dont explode, they combust...
Batteries have safety standard to comply to, and they undergo heavy testing.
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 24, 2011
You might try tell that to the all the persons whose lion battery pack of their cellphones blew up. I rather doubt they'd agree with you.


To the general public, anything that gives off a flash and a bang is an explosion.

Besides, cellphone and laptop batteries are typically lithium polymer batteries, which are prone to outgassing and combustion when you puncture one. Batteries like lithium iron phosphate cells are extremely difficult to light up. You can shoot one with a pistol and all you get is a hole.
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 24, 2011
And then there's the possibility of metal-air batteries that operate with an incomplete set of chemicals. Oxygen has to be brought in by a pump, so the reaction is limited in the same way as with gasoline.
petrossa
2 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2011
Google Scholar Explosion battery Results 1 - 10 of about 3,740. (0.08 sec)

Explosion resistant battery cells
Improvement design of lithium battery explosion-proof equipment based on TRIZ and AFD
P Chen, T Zhang, L Wang… - 2010 - ieeexplore.ieee.org

(EN) COMBINED EXPLOSION-PROOF COVER CAP FOR CYLINDRICAL BATTERY
X YANG - WO Patent WO/2011/003,367, 2011 - wipo.int
END COVER ASSEMBLY FOR BATTERY AND BATTERY CONTAINING THE SAME
G Che… - US Patent App. 12/702,941, 2010 - Google Patents

Catastrophe analysis of cylindrical lithium ion battery
Q Wang, P Ping… - 2010 - Springer
Battery vent and pressure blowout relief frit
B Schulte-Ladbeck - US Patent 7,678,492, 2010 - Google Patents

Safety Apparatus and Protection Method of Secondary Battery for Electric Vehicle Using Switch
etc etc.
Remarkable how many patents there are for something that never happens.
Etreum
not rated yet Feb 27, 2011
Isn't more efficient to use very high pressure compressed air?
How much energy can you store in a Keblar or carbon composite tank holding air at 7-8k psi? And using natural gas to re-heat the cold expanding air?
petrossa
4 / 5 (1) Feb 27, 2011
And how do you compress the air? The losses involved in compressing/decompressing are enormous. The engines are very noisy and don't have much torque per size.

You have to set up special loading stations, i.e. change the whole infrastructure, just as costly,pointless as electric.

Till there are production units of fusionreactors creating electricity is hugely inefficient. Transporting electricity is inefficient and costly. Storing electricity in any form is inefficient.

The only efficiency is in the turning of stored electricity into motive power. Not much of a success.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 28, 2011
Remarkable how many patents there are for something that never happens.


If you put a closed metal cylinder in a fire, it will "explode" even if it's empty, because the pressure inside will rupture it. That's the kind of things that these patents deal with.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 28, 2011
Oh, and then there's flooded cell batteries like ordinary car batteries that develop hydrogen when overcharged because the water in them gets electrolyzed, and thus explode, sometimes very dramatically sending plastic shrapnel all over the place, which is why they don't advice you to recharge them indoors.

petrossa
not rated yet Feb 28, 2011
@eika
And your point being? If you put X energy in a closed container and you release it all at once you get that.

If you put a slow burning explosive just out there it'll give just a nice burn. Put it in a closed canister and it'll explode. That's how they make(made) bombs.

In a Tesla pack sits 53kw waiting to get out. What is between it getting out rather fast then slow is the electronics. Since even military grade components aren't 100% foolproof, commercial grade ones for sure aren't.

So if your loader or batterycontrol unit decides it's about time to fail, the batterypack fails with it.
Hence the patents to cope with the effects of that.

ANY contained energy risks catastrophic failure. The difference between a hydro-carbon fuel tank and a battery is the the first is passively safe whilst the latter is actively safe.

A full petrol tank can not explode without major external energy input.
A battery can fail because a chip has a bad hair day.

sv87411
not rated yet Mar 01, 2011
P.s. It seems to me the electric vehicle should be easily decoupled from the battery so they are independent systems. Build the car today with a 160 mile range and swap out the battery in 2 years with one that has a 210 mile range. Are the electric and hybrid cars manufactured currently build with that in mind?


A great idea... a similarly great idea would be to decouple every battery powered article from it's battery technology and introduce standards, but just look at the various types of re-chargeable battery technologies and lack of capacity/connectivity standards already plaguing consumers in the laptop/mobile phone/power tool markets.

Why should car manufacturers behave any differently. They will want to tie you in to their battery tech and their connectivity standard and make sure that to use that new battery tech you 'need' their new "2020 model" EV?
petrossa
not rated yet Mar 01, 2011
The EU has mandated universal phone chargers lately, so all that can/will be arranged.
Politicians are so blinded by the supposed marvel of electric vehicles that anything goes to accommodate that. So i don't see that being a problem.

Just the whole concept is faulty. Electricity as motive power only works in hybrids. Which makes the whole issue moot, since gasmileage is getting higher and higher in standard cars. So why bother?

sv87411
not rated yet Mar 01, 2011
The EU has mandated universal phone chargers lately, so all that can/will be arranged.
Politicians are so blinded by the supposed marvel of electric vehicles that anything goes to accommodate that. So i don't see that being a problem.


Universal chargers for phones maybe, but no mandate on standardising the battery itself to make them transferrable/upgradable between products - which was what the original poster suggested would be a good idea for EV batteries.

Charging points for EVs will have to be standardised otherwise all EV manufacturers would need to install their own. It doesn't stop them from implementing the equivelent of the black power bricks that sit between your country's standard power source and your non standard EV from being implemented and non-standard (almost certainly non-user replaceable/upgradeable - warranty/safety issues) batteries!

Decoupling the battery system from the vehicle would be a great idea, but it probably won't be realised.
petrossa
not rated yet Mar 01, 2011
Where there is a will, there is a way. Baby steps. Phone chargers first sheep over the dam. I'm sure some form of universal system will be imposed or selfimposed sooner rather then later. It's like the AGW hoax, too many people stand to lose face/money/stature if it doesn't go ahead. Pity though about all the investment and resources lost for a pipedream. Oh well. Taxmoney enough.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Mar 02, 2011

ANY contained energy risks catastrophic failure. The difference between a hydro-carbon fuel tank and a battery is the the first is passively safe whilst the latter is actively safe.

A battery can fail because a chip has a bad hair day.


There's these things called fuses you know? They're passive elements designed to break the circuit if "a chip has a bad hair day".

Each cell in a larger battery has its own overcurrent and overvoltage protection circuits that work with simple passive components. For example, an avalanche diode that breaks down at overcharge and shorts the cell to blow the fuse. After that, the cell just sits there and does nothing. It can't do anything, its conductors are broken so the chemical reactions don't work.

You can drop a spanner on the terminals - all it does is spark a lot, and then you have a dead cell. Batteries are passively safe when designed to be so.

petrossa
not rated yet Mar 03, 2011
Sure there are fuses. And?
The patent holders just invented a danger and thought, what the heck, we'll write up a patent. You never know.

Generally a patent application costs:
" Fees associated with simple mechanical cases are typically between $3500 and $4500 depending upon the complexity of the invention. Cases involving electrical circuits, computers and software systems are much more expensive, ranging between about $5000 and $7000. "

Bit much for a prank.
I don't understand your tenacity. You just don't want it to be true or something.