Skip to comments.A Car Battery at Half the Price
Posted on 05/27/2011 11:33:08 AM PDT by Red Badger
A startup hopes to commercialize a novel design that features fluid electrodes.
Last year, the battery startup A123 Systems spun out another company, called 24M, to develop a new kind of battery meant to make electric vehicles go farther and cost less. Now a research paper published in Advanced Energy Materials reveals the first details about how that battery would work. It also addresses the challenges in bringing the battery to market.
A big problem with the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids is that only about 25 percent of the battery's volume is taken up by materials that store energy. The rest is made up of inactive materials, such as packaging, conductive foils, and glues, which make the batteries bulky and account for a significant part of the cost.
24M intends to greatly reduce the inactive material in a battery. According to estimates in the new paper, its batteries could achieve almost twice the energy densities of today's vehicle battery packs. Batteries with a higher energy density would be smaller and cheaper, which means electric and hybrid cars would be less expensive. The paper estimates that the batteries could cost as little as $250 per kilowatt hourless than half what they cost now.
A conventional battery pack is made up of hundreds of cells. Each cell contains a stack of many thin, solid electrodes. These electrodes are paired with metal foil current collectors and separated from each other by plastic films. Increasing the energy storage requires adding more layers of electrode materialwhich in turn requires more layers of metal foil and plastic film.
24M's design makes it possible to increase energy storage without the extra metal foil and plastic film. The key difference is that the electrodes are not solid films stacked in a cell, but sludge-like materials stored in tanksone for the positive electrode material and another for the negative electrode.
The materials are pumped from the tanks into a small device, where they move through channels carved into blocks of metal. As this happens, ions move from one electrode to the other through the same kind of separator material used in a conventional battery. Electrons make their way out of the material to an external circuit. In this design, increasing energy storage is as simple as increasing the size of the storage tanksthe device that allows the electrodes to interact stays the same size. The design also does away with the need to wire together hundreds of cells to achieve adequate energy storage.
The new battery is similar to something called a flow battery, in which two electrolytes are pumped past each other. But conventional flow batteries are about 10 times larger than the new design because they use dilute energy storage solutions, which makes them impractical for use in cars.
Battery prototype: Two sludge-like electrode materials are fed into the device shown here. The anode material flows into the top half, and the cathode flows into the bottom. Lithium ions pass from one material to the other, and electrons flow through the black and red leads. Credit: Yet-Ming Chiang
Liquid Car Battery Ping!...........
By definition, higher energy density means a smaller battery — however, it does not necessarily mean cheaper. For instance, lithium batteries have higher energy density than lead-acid batteries — they are also much more expensive.
Looks to me like MIT professor YetMing Chiang, and the company he started, A123, is based on a lie.
I think the Chevy Volt is organic, by any definition it’s a lemon.
And you can eat your battery!...................
Them’s some damn big alligator clips (red and black) if that’s really a car battery....
It's not a car battery.
Imagine what you could do with a diesel-electric hybrid running on potato batteries and vegetable oil...
I believe they are normal size clips. The device is most likely a lab setup to demonstrate viability, and is probably the size of a matchbox....................
Yeah, I knew....just makin a funny.....it bombed I guess.
Yeah, post a title that says car battery and then show a penlight battery...nice bait and switch...it was a damned joke, son.
“A startup hopes ...” to make a new kind of car battery?
You win!!! You win!!! The chuckle of the day prize!!!!
Thanks soooooo much.
P.S. Is the photo-link publicly available for use??
In bold, below the photo it says 'prototype'.
Haven't a clue. It's just a photo Google Images found for me. You can get the link by right clicking on the picture and choosing "Properties":
Okay, okay, okay...it’s not worth arguing about even if it should have said “reduced scale prototype”......my comment was still a joke (both first and second times)......
Got some giggling going on over here.