Tesla battery guru and new super-lifetime cell

Tags: 

Tesla's "battery guru" from Halifax, NS released a paper on some new battery cells they have been testing in his lab and getting 6,000 cycles from 0 to 100% on. That's a lot better than today's cells which offer 2000 cycles from 20% to 80% if you are lucky. This could be very big for electric cars, grid storage and it is suggested even robotaxis -- but their needs turn out to be more straightforward than originally thought. But it does bring down the cost.

See my analysis of what longer lasting batteries mean at Forbes.com in Tesla battery guru describes a new cell with massive lifetime

Comments

Its also possible to imagine reducing depreciation by discharging the EV battery onto the grid during peak hours, thus EARNING money.

As batteries get cheaper and cheaper, dedicated banks of batteries will be peak shaving and solving the renewables intermittency problem.

Why not earn still more money from your car while sitting in your office cubicle?

It seems to me that the economics of battery lifetime change dramatically depending on whether the chemicals in the battery can be efficiently recovered and used in the construction of new batteries. I would be interested in an article on this aspect of the problem.

It's an interesting field, with constant development. People are both trying to find chemistries that avoid certain elements (like cobalt) that are difficult to get or difficult to recycle, and also working at the best ways to recycle.

I have some optimism. The lead-acid battery is actually, I have read, the most recycled thing in our society, with numbers in the high 9x% range. When an EV or its pack is junked, it seems almost certain it will head to recycling if that is economical.

Brad,
I applaud your insightful comments about hydrogen as a storage battery rather than a fuel.
I encourage you to weave this technology (see the link - hydrogen on demand) into your hypothesis.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/bradtempleton/2019/11/12/whats-hydrogens-future-as-transportation-energy/#24a164334bd7

http://www.hydroalumina.com/

So as I understand this, you take aluminum (which of course took lots of electricity to make) and you convert it back to lower energy alumina and get heat and hydrogen. Then you turn that hydrogen back to electricity via a fuel cell. What's the efficiency of the progress in terms of electricity used at the smelter plant to electricity out at the car or home? I presume the process is too slow to be used to generate electricity right in a car or other vehicle.

Brad,
I am not an expert on all of the variables involved in the various conversion processes but I'm enamored with the idea that using aluminum as an intermediate storage tank you can avoid a high percentage of the cost of transportation / refrigeration and pipeline construction. We agree on the fact that hydrogen used as a fuel is the final step. The final step in the process (http://www.hydroalumina.com/) I am referring to requires no additional energy input.

http://bauxite.world-aluminium.org/refining/energy-efficiency/

Aluminium is an “energy bank”; most of the original input can be recovered every time the product is recycled.Bauxite mining requires relatively low energy inputs, compared to other steps in the aluminium production process – with less than 1.5 kilograms of fuel oil (mainly in the form of diesel for haul trucks) and less than 5 kWh of electricity consumed per tonne of bauxite extracted.The bauxite refining process requires significantly higher energy, primarily in the form of heat and steam; natural gas, coal and oil are the main fuel sources and are combusted on site.The energy required by the Bayer Process is very much dependent on the quality of the raw material, with böhemitic or diasporic bauxites requiring higher temperature digestion, often associated with a higher fuel input. Investments in cost effective technology upgrades at existing facilities can improve the energy efficiency with no change in input material, as can “sweetening” of the feedstock with small quantities of higher quality bauxite. Such improvements, along with the addition of new, best available technology, refining capacity has driven an almost 10% improvement in global refining energy efficiency in just 5 years. Today, the average specific energy consumption is around 14.5 GJ per tonne of alumina, including electrical energy of around 150 kWh/t Al2O3. 
Cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP), wherein fuel is combusted to generate both electricity and useful heat simultaneously, is increasingly being employed in refineries. While a significant capital investment is required to build a CHP plant, there can be significant benefits, both in terms of energy efficiency and as a valuable resource for local communities. In an alumina refinery, a cogeneration facility provides all the electricity needed to power the refining process and supporting systems (such as lighting, offices etc). The waste heat from the generator is captured and used to produce steam for the refining process. The CHP plant is sometimes designed to produce surplus electricity for export to local communities, a local customer or to the grid. In some instances, excess or lower quality steam can also be exported.The greenhouse gas emissions from alumina production are predominantly related to fuel combustion; therefore improved energy efficiency along with fuel switching, where viable and appropriate, is the primary means of reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of refining processes, which currently stands at around 1 tonne of CO2e per tonne of alumina produced.

In this case the devil is not in the details, it is in the efficiency number. Hydrogen and aluminum are not fuels, they are batteries. And with any process it is actually relatively easy to calculate how much energy you have to put in, and how much electricity you get out. For a battery it's as high as 95%. For hydrogen, it's as low as 30% in cars.

So what is it for aluminum and aluminum->hydrogen?

There are some other numbers, such as the cost of shipping the alumina back for recycling. One particular place that's an issue is in aircraft, which take great gain from the fact they empty their fuel tank as they fly, landing with far less weight than on take-off. Of course, aircraft and others care about energy density of the storage, both in weight and volume.

And finally cost of the system, to add to the cost of its inefficiencies. If you are going to tout a technology, these are the key numbers that matter.

Add new comment