Batteries charge quickly and retain capacity, thanks to new 3D nanostructure

Mar 20, 2011
Batteries charge quickly and retain capacity, thanks to new structure
Illinois researchers developed a 3-D nanostructure for battery cathodes that allows for very rapid charge and discharge, without sacrificing capacity. Credit: L. Brian Stauffer

The batteries in Illinois professor Paul Braun's lab look like any others, but they pack a surprise inside.

Braun's group developed a three-dimensional for cathodes that allows for dramatically faster charging and discharging without sacrificing capacity. The researchers' findings will be published in the March 20 advance online edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Aside from quick-charge consumer electronics, batteries that can store a lot of energy, release it fast and recharge quickly are desirable for electric vehicles, medical devices, lasers and military applications.

"This system that we have gives you capacitor-like power with battery-like energy," said Braun, a professor of materials science and engineering. "Most capacitors store very little energy. They can release it very fast, but they can't hold much. Most batteries store a reasonably large amount of energy, but they can't provide or receive energy rapidly. This does both."

The performance of typical lithium-ion (Li-ion) or nickel metal hydride (NiMH) degrades significantly when they are rapidly charged or discharged. Making the active material in the battery a thin film allows for very fast charging and discharging, but reduces the capacity to nearly zero because the active material lacks volume to store energy.

Braun's group wraps a thin film into three-dimensional structure, achieving both high active volume (high capacity) and large current. They have demonstrated battery electrodes that can charge or discharge in a few seconds, 10 to 100 times faster than equivalent bulk , yet can perform normally in existing devices.

This kind of performance could lead to phones that charge in seconds or laptops that charge in minutes, as well as high-power lasers and defibrillators that don't need time to power up before or between pulses.

Braun is particularly optimistic for the batteries' potential in electric vehicles. Battery life and recharging time are major limitations of . Long-distance road trips can be their own form of start-and-stop driving if the battery only lasts for 100 miles and then requires an hour to recharge.

"If you had the ability to charge rapidly, instead of taking hours to charge the vehicle you could potentially have vehicles that would charge in similar times as needed to refuel a car with gasoline," Braun said. "If you had five-minute charge capability, you would think of this the same way you do an internal combustion engine. You would just pull up to a charging station and fill up."

All of the processes the group used are also used at large scales in industry so the technique could be scaled up for manufacturing.

They key to the group's novel 3-D structure is self-assembly. They begin by coating a surface with tiny spheres, packing them tightly together to form a lattice. Trying to create such a uniform lattice by other means is time-consuming and impractical, but the inexpensive spheres settle into place
automatically.

Then the researchers fill the space between and around the spheres with metal. The spheres are melted or dissolved, leaving a porous 3-D metal scaffolding, like a sponge. Next, a process called electropolishing uniformly etches away the surface of the scaffold to enlarge the pores and make an open framework. Finally, the researchers coat the frame with a thin film of the active material.

The result is a bicontinuous electrode structure with small interconnects, so the lithium ions can move rapidly; a thin-film active material, so the diffusion kinetics are rapid; and a metal framework with good electrical conductivity.

The group demonstrated both NiMH and Li-ion batteries, but the structure is general, so any battery material that can be deposited on the metal frame could be used.

"We like that it's very universal, so if someone comes up with a better battery chemistry, this concept applies," said Braun, who is also affiliated with the Materials Research Laboratory and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "This is not linked to one very specific kind of battery, but rather it's a new paradigm in thinking about a battery in three dimensions for enhancing properties."

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bg1
1.1 / 5 (8) Mar 20, 2011
Faster charging means more power demand on the grid.
MediaWest
5 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
if it scales up, this is a big deal. makes charging a car much much faster!... fightin' illini!
dav_i
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011

DGBEACH
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2011
Faster charging means more power demand on the grid.

On a "smart grid" this could be mitigated easily, through multiplexing methods. I think this advance is great news :)
kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2011
weight/charge ratio?
Jaydawg
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 20, 2011
Faster charging means more power demand on the grid.


I agree. There are pros and cons. I think theoretically, through the nature of our society, the power consumption would average the power demand out over time. I am worried about the power 'spikes' however. This technology is opposed to batteries trickle charging, say, overnight.

Power stations only provide a base load but when power demands 'peak' we may experience power outages - i.e. worst case scenario - if there was an emergency requiring the evacuation of a city for say a hurricane or a tsunami, if everyone decided to charge their cars immediately and drive inland the power demand would be absolutely enormous in that local area that would cause power outages to occur, keeping everyone stranded if in the future most people relied on electric cars to get them out...

Regardless of the new power requirements and infrastructure improvements on the current power grid - I think these are problems that can be solved.
fuviss_co_uk
3.8 / 5 (4) Mar 20, 2011
electric cars are the future
Jaydawg
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
I like the possibilities for vehicles other than cars. we are a long way from electric utility vehicles, semi-trailers, tractors, earth moving machinery, and other vehicles in need of high power. High discharge means more power is available for these kinds of vehicles.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2011
They forgot to say when this tech will be available? Great idea for transportation. Wonder how much they will cost? Great way to store electricity from solar cells for off peak hours. Maybe electric jets will be right around the corner? Hurry; lets build 200 nuclear power plants right away so the politicians and the elite can dominate the people with debt for the next fifty to one-hundred years. Natural gas is still the best alternative for the moment.
PaulRadcliff
3 / 5 (9) Mar 20, 2011
Big Oil is on its way out. If thorium Fueled Nuclear Power gains traction and gets development funding, before we have to buy the technology from China, Electric everything will become cheaper, easier to implement than previously thought, and less of an negative impact on the environment. Battery evolution just took a giant leap forward. But, as with anything so new, development time and licensing and start up funding will take from 2 to 5 years. Unless these technologies get priority fast track government funding, of course. The current slash everything, but our tax breaks for the richest and subsidizing Oil, GOP mindset will derail any such development. Never mind.....
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2011
Natural gas is here and now, and lots of it. Try powering a car, semi-truck, train or jet with a nuclear power engine. Why do you hate oil companies so much? Do you know GE owns NBC and Westinghouse, now Toshiba or B&W, own CBS. Those two companies are in the nuclear reactor manufacturing business. The media is telling us nuclear is the way to go. Looks like you have been brainwashed, while a lot of people are going to get filthy rich. Nuclear power in America could end up being a quadrillion-dollar business. If we were talking about nuclear fusion, then I would be ready to signup.
harryhill
1 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
If they 'fast charge', does that imply 'high current'?
I don't think 'at home charging' for an auto could quite handle that.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (7) Mar 20, 2011
If they 'fast charge', does that imply 'high current'?
I don't think 'at home charging' for an auto could quite handle that.
That is why electric cars in the short future will require 60 amp 240 volt receptacles or magnetic induction plates with at least a 200 amp electrical service panel. Very expensive and easier to convert a car or truck to CNG.
Duude
3 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
While this is a great breakthrough, a practical all-electric car is still more than a decade away. How about a 300 mile range, 5 minute charge time, and a battery that will last 200K miles. At the end of that 200K miles, it would be important to have an option to buy a new battery for less than $5000. We also need to get the price of the vehicle somewhat more competitive with the internal combustion engine vehicle without subsidies. Right now, we have none of this.
kaasinees
3 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2011
Natural gas is here and now, and lots of it. Try powering a car, semi-truck, train or jet with a nuclear power engine.

High speed boats are just a s good as air planes.
Most trains ARE running on electricty?
Nobody said anything about running vehicles with nuclear engines? :O

did i miss something?
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
Few seconds in, few seconds out.

The faster you make the battery, the more dangerous you actually make it because you remove the internal limiting factors that prevent it from releasing a lot of energy in a short period of time.

Ever tried shorting out a large capacitor?
eachus
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
If the new batteries don't have a "memory" problem, home charging vs. service station charging is not a big deal. Say you have an induction plate in your garage that can provide a charge at 10 kilowatts (actually kVA but that is a detail). Normally you keep your car charged, and if you use it "too much" or park it in unpowered locations, now you go to a service station. Or on a long trip, you go to a service station. The service station might provide ten megaVoltAmpere hours of DC through a very fat plug. ;-) Hmmm. Maybe we had better cut that to 1 MVA. Two kilovolts at 500 Amps could be handled by a plugable connection--but there had better be a big (fast-discharge) battery in the service station to make this work.
Newbeak
5 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2011
I see charging stations providing fast charging from flywheel power storage,which in turn draws power at a sustainable rate from the grid.
Eikka
3.6 / 5 (5) Mar 20, 2011
I see charging stations providing fast charging from flywheel power storage,which in turn draws power at a sustainable rate from the grid.


And wastes about half of it turning energy to motion and back again through the converters and regulators.
bfast
5 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
"Faster charging means more power demand on the grid." Actually not. There is some truth to this statement in that faster charging means that more people will use electricity. But the fact that the electricity is put into the devices faster has no direct relationship to more grid demand.

Let me explain. Electricity is a current, like water. If we have a garden hose filled with 60psi water, and we let a pin-prick of water out, it may take 1 hour to fill a pail. If we try to fill 200 pails at a time, from 100 pin pricks, we will get a certain flow -- 200 pails per hour. If we put in faster taps, allowing pails to be filled once every 5 minutes. And if on average we are filling 10 pails at a time, our current drain remains to be 10 * 20 (20 * 5 minutes = 1 hour), or 200 pails per hour. The load on the "grid", the hose, remains exactly the same.
NickFun
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
Or will this just be another of those world-changing technologies that we read about and then vanish? I have read much about advancement in things such as solar energy then the subject mysteriously disappears!
jimbo92107
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
Faster charging means more power demand on the grid.


There is always a fairly long lag time between the announcement of a discovery and its ubiquity in the marketplace. However, the clock is ticking on getting that new grid built...
tkjtkj
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
weight/charge ratio?


with a recent announcement re: aerogel batteries (physorg.com) , its not enough to consider only wgt/charge but also volume/charge.
If an automobile's aerogel battery weighs nearly nothing but occupies 3 m^3 , then its dead in the water.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
High speed boats are just as good as air planes.
Sure they are.

Most trains ARE running on electricty?
Where are you from, but yes power lines above them is better than all the noise and pollution.

Nobody said anything about running vehicles with nuclear engines?
No, I did as a joke. Ha, Ha, Ha.

Did i miss something?
You sure did. Where are you going to get the electricity to power all of this new stuff?
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (4) Mar 20, 2011
Let me explain. Electricity is a current, like water. The load on the "grid", the hose, remains exactly the same.
Yeah, yeah that's right. The more the load, the bigger the wire. The bigger the load, to larger the transformer. The bigger the transformer, the larger the power lines. The bigger the power lines, the larger the substations. The bigger the substation, the larger the power plant.

Anyone out there like natural gas turbines?
ECOnservative
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
You can limit inrush current at the charging end quite easily. No one said you had to connect the batteries directly to the grid. Non-peak charging on a device that can charge in a short period of time is a no-brainer.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
There is always a fairly long lag time between the announcement of a discovery and its ubiquity in the marketplace. However, the clock is ticking on getting that new grid built...
With all of the very recent talk about nuclear power that the politicians were going to ramrod thru Congress somehow until the Japan incident, what would you like to see for power, because a bigger grid is most likely going to require more power generation capacity?

You can limit inrush current at the charging end quite easily.
Yes, but then it takes longer to recharge.

No one said you had to connect the batteries directly to the grid. Non-peak charging on a device that can charge in a short period of time is a no-brainer.
When everyone gets home about the same time on a very hot day or night, and begin to recharge their car or truck, then what? Your neighbors will start complaining their lights are dimming or flickering.
Jmaximus
not rated yet Mar 21, 2011
5 minute recharge means none [or less range] anxiety, this changes everything if it works as promised. Gas stations will need to supplement there electricity sources with a solar or wind redox flow batteries.
Sanescience
5 / 5 (4) Mar 21, 2011
Wow, everybody is totally being functionally fixated. You put one of these batteries at home on a slow-ish charge, from the grid or from solar, wind, what not. Then when you get home, you plug in your car and do a rapid exchange of charge. "Filling" stations can have purpose built hookups to handle the volume.

As for the danger of "Rapid unexpected disassembly" We have already seen that happen with laptop batteries. At some point considerations will have to be made to "cushion" such discharges, like some kind of heat activating foam.
Eikka
4 / 5 (4) Mar 21, 2011
Wow, everybody is totally being functionally fixated. You put one of these batteries at home on a slow-ish charge, from the grid or from solar, wind, what not.


Two problems.

1) efficiency: having a second battery is like recharging one car, and then using its power inverter to recharge another car. You lose a lot of energy. (about 30%)

2) batteries cost - a lot. You would double the cost of owning an electric car with a second battery and a fast charging system.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011
The load on the "grid", the hose, remains exactly the same.


Yeah, if you somehow manage to control everybody not to try and charge all the cars at once.

Given that people will behave rather predictably, most people would lead a 9-5 lifestyle and be at the service station at approximately the same time as everybody else. It's no longer about trickle charging a million cars every night, but charging the same cars between 4-6 PM.

The power required to charge even one car in 5 minutes is a problem anyways. Take the Nissan Leaf for example. 24 kWh : 5/60h = 288 kW + losses ~ 300 kW of power to service one car in 5 minutes. Take ten cars, and you got 3 Megawatts.

Take ten million cars (out of 300 million in the US) and you have 3 Terawatts! Granted, that is not very likely to happen, but if you only have 50-100 miles of range, you're going to pop in for a recharge quite often and so does everybody else.

Even 10k cars at the stations would take 3 GW or three big nuclear plants
Sanescience
not rated yet Mar 21, 2011
Don't know what the cost profile of a "self assembly" product and it's associated equipment would be when mass produced. Doubt it would double the cost though. As for efficiency, in the next decade or so enough people will have solar that it will grow impractical for the power company to buy it all back, and the state will probably tax you on it for infrastructure maintenance. People will probably just start storing energy at home for night time and low wind conditions. And for charging their electric cars.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011
Don't know what the cost profile of a "self assembly" product and it's associated equipment would be when mass produced. Doubt it would double the cost though.


$500 per kWh is about the cheapest you can get lithium batteries these days. I'm not certain that they are suitable for the task, but let's assume they are.

A home storage battery of 30 kWh would then cost $15 000 plus the necessary electronics and installation. It would be about as much as a second car. Mind, you don't "self assembly" a 300 kilowatt charging system.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011
As for efficiency, in the next decade or so enough people will have solar that it will grow impractical for the power company to buy it all back


It is already impractical due to the way the grid is arranged and built. It branches like a tree, and if you feed power back through one of the branches, all the protection circuits stop working correctly because they've been built with one direction of flow in mind. The local substation can't detect that your solar panels are powering an electric fire in your neighbor's house.

To really feed power back into the grid you would have to live near the trunk of the grid where it feeds into the local grid. Anything at the branches is just noise and trouble for the power company unless they have full control of how it runs.

Or, build the grid anew.
JadedIdealist
not rated yet Mar 21, 2011
Surely If you want to charge from Home you have two set's of batteries - one in your car that you want to charge up quickly, and one in your house that you want to discharge quickly.
Main questions are surely going to be cost - how expensive will they be - and how long they last.
Ah - just saw SaneScience's post - I agree.
SteveL
5 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2011
[qOr, build the grid anew.

This is exactly what will be needed to service this level of load on a national grid. The grid, and the power pricing structure, needs to be modified for a future reality. Here in the States before the election our current President stated that it would take $400 billion to update our national grid structure and make it capable to support the next 100 years of energy demand. Somehow that investment in our future was forgotten when it came time to create/save jobs.

The grid needs to become de-centralized. At home power source generation and high energy effeciency standards need to become part of the new construction home and building mortgaging rate structure.

Power demand pricing structures need to become smarter, more flexible at the load and less obtuse for the end user so that users can plan around and for their energy demands.
wealthychef
not rated yet Mar 21, 2011
Faster charging means more power demand on the grid.

That's potentially a good thing, IMO. Removing the power generators (internal combustion, etc.) from cars and replacing them with batteries could be good for the environment and provide efficiency of scale in terms of cost and environmental impact mitigation.

The big question is how much will this cost? Can it compete with oil?
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2011
This is exactly what will be needed to service this level of load on a national grid. The grid, and the power pricing structure, needs to be modified for a future reality. Here in the States before the election our current President stated that it would take $400 billion to update our national grid structure and make it capable to support the next 100 years of energy demand. Somehow that investment in our future was forgotten when it came time to create/save jobs.
Politicians will make things worse.

The grid needs to become de-centralized. At home power source generation and high energy efficiency standards need to become part of the new construction home and building mortgaging rate structure.
Politicians and the elite do not want that!

Power demand pricing structures need to become smarter, more flexible at the load and less obtuse for the end user so that users can plan around and for their energy demands.
Right on!
TabulaMentis
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2011
As a note; Israel has touted a system that exchanges batteries at service stations instead of waiting for them to recharge. It helps with the replacement cost in the event a battery fails. Maybe battery insurance will become hot. See link:

http://(omit).time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1705518,00.html
Newbeak
not rated yet Mar 21, 2011
I see charging stations providing fast charging from flywheel power storage,which in turn draws power at a sustainable rate from the grid.


And wastes about half of it turning energy to motion and back again through the converters and regulators.

Not according to Wikipedia.Flywheels running on magnetic bearings in a vacuum can be up to 97% efficient,and have none of the weaknesses of batteries.For commercial purposes,companies providing fast charging of electric vehicles would adjust their rates to compensate for conversion losses.No matter what system one uses,some losses are inevitable.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011

Not according to Wikipedia.Flywheels running on magnetic bearings in a vacuum can be up to 97% efficient,and have none of the weaknesses of batteries.


For short periods of time. A flywheel loses energy constantly, so the longer you spin it, the less efficient it is. They're also neglecting to take into account the power loss at the power inverter that is required to operate the motor-generator.

The problem is the same as with the battery solution: the battery itself is 99.6% efficient, but the charging/discharging circuit isn't.
Newbeak
not rated yet Mar 21, 2011
Nothing in this world is 100% efficient.ICE autos are notoriously inefficient,and convert less than 40% of the energy in gasoline into motive power. From a business standpoint,mobile recharging stations could be a major new industry.These units could be strategically placed to recharge the growing numbers of electric vehicles.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2011
If the electric car isn't more efficient than an ICE for the whole well-to-wheel chain, then it's pointless.

It wouldn't save energy, it wouldn't save pollution or CO2 (yet) and it would be a worse solution in every respect.

The power plant that is producing the electricity for the car is running at roughly 37% efficiency on average, so it's a tough job for the electric car to beat the gasoline car even without wasting power for quick charging or flywheel batteries etc.
Newbeak
4.5 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2011
We have hydro-electric produced power where I live,which can achieve 85-90% efficiency,and pollution is not an issue.Wikimedia says that gas turbine plants using HRSG can approach 60% efficiency.Even if electric vehicle well to wheel efficiency is only equal to ICE technology,which I doubt,at least pollution is easier to control from a central power plant as opposed to millions of ICE vehicles.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2011
Converting an ICE vehicle to CNG cost between $12,500 to $22,500. A new CNG vehicle versus ICE cost about $10,000 more. MPG cost is 50% less or even less than that. Pollution can be cut by approximately 30% to 88%.
Newbeak
5 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2011
Converting an ICE vehicle to CNG cost between $12,500 to $22,500. A new CNG vehicle versus ICE cost about $10,000 more. MPG cost is 50% less or even less than that. Pollution can be cut by approximately 30% to 88%.

CNG vehicles are still ICE vehicles,the only difference is the fuel,which I am told burns much cleaner than gasoline and extends the life of the oil.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2011
CNG vehicles are still ICE vehicles,the only difference is the fuel,which I am told burns much cleaner than gasoline and extends the life of the oil.

You are absolutely correct. It is important to mention with demand the price of CNG and electric cars will become lower.

As far as I am concerned, the remaining oil can stay in the ground until scientists figure a way to make it much cleaner.
gunslingor1
5 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2011
Faster charging means more power demand on the grid.

-no it actually means less. Slower the charge, the more heat is generated. Do the math.

we are a long way from electric utility vehicles, semi-trailers..

-Really? I thought Japan just build their first maglev? I though electric trolly cars were around in the 1920s? I thought city buses are already electric powered. Your wrong bud.

Natural gas is here and now, and lots of it.

-sure, if your willing to sacrifice our air and water and possibly climate.

If they 'fast charge', does that imply high current?
I don't think 'at home charging' for an auto could quite handle that.

-it can, nonissue.

The faster you make the battery, the more dangerous you actually make it because you remove the internal limiting factors that prevent it from releasing a lot of energy in a short period of time.

-what is your point, gasoline is far more dangerous than an explosive battery, so its an improvement.
gunslingor1
5 / 5 (3) Mar 24, 2011
Natural gas is here and now, and lots of it.

-uranium is here, and there's lots of it! It's also more profitable and non-polluting.

How about a 300 mile range, 5 minute charge time, and a battery that will last 200K miles. At the end of that 200K miles, it would be important to have an option to buy a new battery for less than $5000. We also need to get the price of the vehicle somewhat more competitive with the internal combustion engine vehicle without subsidies. Right now, we have none of this.

-an electric motor will last 50+ years, try getting that performance out of a combustion engine.
-why without subsidies? Do you have any idea how much we pay oil companies and car companies not to price f_ck us. Your advocating an unfair playing field.

They forgot to say when this tech will be available?

-never, the patent has already been purchased by Exxon for supression.
ScorpZ
3 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2011
The process to suppress this has already been started. Just like the US Department of Energy's asymmetric magnets, and Los Alamos National Labs quantum solar energy breakthrough by Victor Klimov. Along with many others...

I love reading into these breakthroughs, but I accept the fact that we are not ALLOWED to utilize them.

Our governments and the corporations that run them will not allow these technology's to be wide spread and available.

Consume Consume Consume until we are all dead, thats what 'they' want.

TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2011
Uranium is here, and there's lots of it! It's also more profitable and non-polluting.
You need to go back to school.

P.S.: I accidently gave you two 5s. My mistake.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2011
The process to suppress this has already been started. Just like the US Department of Energy's asymmetric magnets, and Los Alamos National Labs quantum solar energy breakthrough by Victor Klimov. Along with many others...

I love reading into these breakthroughs, but I accept the fact that we are not ALLOWED to utilize them.

Our governments and the corporations that run them will not allow these technology's to be wide spread and available.

Consume Consume Consume until we are all dead, thats what 'they' want.
So you are one of those conspiracy nuts!
ScorpZ
not rated yet Mar 25, 2011
So you are one of those conspiracy nuts!

Not at all, just stating the facts.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2011
Not at all, just stating the facts.
Watch out, the Russians will shot you if you try to reveal the secret.....
MorituriMax
1 / 5 (1) Mar 26, 2011
Faster charging means more power demand on the grid.


No, atually it's the same demand in a smaller period of time. The power grid can use the same technology to store power away for people to use. The problem up till now has been that the grid has to balance the load in order to manage the same power output with varying demand over the day. We wouldn't just use the technology at home and not at the power generator itself.

Try to think things through a little in the future, bg1.
MorituriMax
3 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2011
Big Oil is on the way out...

...as a provider of oil. Eventually they will be the ones who sell us the next big energy technology. Good or bad, they have the infrastructure in place to market energy to many people.

Unless we come up with a way for individual households or neighborhoods to generate all the energy they need locally.
Newbeak
not rated yet Mar 26, 2011
"Unless we come up with a way for individual households or neighborhoods to generate all the energy they need locally."
We're drifting off topic here,but you have touched a raw nerve with the quoted sentence.I am a firm believer in distributed power generation-ever since I saw a report on 60 Minutes about Bloom Energy fuel cells.DPG has numerous advantages: it is clean,efficient (no transmission losses) and not vulnerable to central power plant outages.
resinoth
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
what other 3d solids that have a higher edge (tube): volume ratio can we allow to self-assemble? a sheet of cubes of comparable edge (tube) length has a different edge:volume ratio than every other squished-micro-object solid.
Is there a 'best' design for that?
gunslingor1
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
So you are one of those conspiracy nuts!

-Its not a matter of conspiracy, its a matter of common business sense. Business, very often, will purchase a patent not for the purposes of producing a product but rather, to supress the knowledge. One of many examples is Debears diamonds, who have been quitely purchasing diamond manufacturing patents for the last 50 years. The logic being that if people start manufacturing diamonds in their garage, they will go out of business.

Another example is thomas edison himself, who spent years trying to find the perfect material for lights... something that lasts long enough not to have to be replaced constantly, yet doesn't last so long as to diminish yearly profits. Once he found the perfect duration material, he manufactered it, and pattented the rest to stop others from producing light bulbs that last 50 years. Trust me, we have the technology to get much better performance out of our lights, why do you think the products aren't out?
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
Faster charging means more power demand on the grid.

-no it actually means less. Slower the charge, the more heat is generated. Do the math.


I will. The heat generated is pretty much Q = tRI^2 or time by resistance by the square of current. It's the Joule's law.

That tells us directly that the faster you try to charge a battery with a specific amount of amp-hours, the more heat you will make, because as t is halved, I is doubled, and I^2 is quadrupled, so you end up with twice the heat from half the charging time.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
Once he found the perfect duration material, he manufactered it, and pattented the rest to stop others from producing light bulbs that last 50 years.


A nice tale, but a complete fabrication. US patents have never stopped the rest of the world from doing what ever they want. Just like with the cobasys/ovonics battery debacle in "who killed the electric car". The car companies bought the patent, but the batteries could still be made elsewhere, and they were. They were good, but not good enough.

There was an international light bulb cartel that aimed to reduce light bulbs to 1000 hours a pop. Edison had nothing to do with it, and they weren't universally succesful. Eventually they were found out, and nowadays you can buy light bulbs that last for 2000+ hours and more.

The problem with the 50 year light bulb is that not only is it too cool to burn out, it's too dim to produce any appreciable amount of light. It's simply a space heater that gives some amount of yellow light.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
And Edison didn't even invent the modern tungsten filament. He invented the carbon filament.

Reason being that tungsten evaporates in a vacuum when hot, and blackens the bulb. Carbon doesn't, unless you run it way too hot. This temperature limit put a maximum brightness and efficiency to the Edison bulbs, but they wouldn't burn out very easily.

The modern tungsten filament came to be when they realized that certain gasses in the bulb recycle the tungsten back to the filament, so they switched from vacuum and carbon bulbs to tungsten and gas bulbs that burned brighter and more efficiently. And this mixture of gas in the bulb allowed the international cartel to tweak the bulb to last only a 1000 hours.

Other possible methods to better light included the Nernst bulb, which had a ceramic stick for the filament, and would get twice the efficiency of the Edison bulb while being almost indestructable, but it required a heater to get started. It wouldn't just switch on.
gunslingor1
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
The heat generated is pretty much Q = tRI^2 or time by resistance by the square of current. It's the Joule's law.

That tells us directly that the faster you try to charge a battery with a specific amount of amp-hours, the more heat you will make, because as t is halved, I is doubled, and I^2 is quadrupled, so you end up with twice the heat from half the charging time.


Your equation is correct, however, you are forgeting that resistance inherently drops with decreased minimum charging time. Resistance and heat is what determines how fast a battery can be charged; Rt will now compensate for I^2. You need to plot the equations on a graph.

Regarding the filiment issue, word are limited so I had to leave out lots of details, same issue here: Multifilitment lights with auto switchs have been demonstrated. The point is patents are often used as tools to supress technological progress for the sake of immediate profits, nothing more.

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