"The energy and power density of our microbattery cells (A–H) at low to high C rates, along with previous microbattery cells having 3D electrodes (MB1 through MB3). The plot also includes the performance range of conventional power technologies and commercial batteries from A123 (high power) and Sony (high energy)."
Where C rates stand for charge rates, with 1C being able to charge the full capacity of the battery in 1 hour.
The key take away for the new design's performance isn't the one quoted in the title (of the submission or the article), but rather "Compared with conventional supercapacitors, our microbattery delivers 10 × the power of a supercapacitor at comparable energy density, delivers 10 × the energy of a supercapacitor at comparable power density or has 10 × smaller volume than a supercapacitor at comparable performance".
Just by glancing at the graph, you can see that the design is orders of magnitudes less energy dense than today's lithium-ion batteries. This advancement will make high-power applications more feasible, but will probably not do very much to increase your phone/laptop's battery life.
So... now you end up with like a 30-60 mile range range, and can charge up fully in like 3-5 minutes. So we've brought charge times into the realm of filly up gas, but you're doing it waaay more often.
If this is a useful advancement or not depends completely on what type of infrastructure we want to envision. I would certainly love a world where this was possible/feasible, but it's certainly not a grand slam.
A stereotypical thermodynamics class assignment was something along the lines of assume your 10 gallon gas tank is filled in a minute at the gas pump through a little half inch gas nozzle. Now calculate the thermal energy of that nozzle assuming perfect combustion in megawatts. Then given that the gas nozzle is about half an inch, look up what diameter copper wire would be required to transfer that kind of energy if it was electricity. The answer was pretty stunning.
37.85L x 36MJ/L = 1,362 MJ in the tank.
1,362 MJ / 60s = 22MJ/s from the hose.
J/s is Watts, so that's 22 megawatts. A cable that carried 200A at 110KV would do it. I think 000 gauge would handle 200A, it's just under 11mm in diameter.
* Perhaps an EV might be 10x as efficient with its input energy as a gasoline powered car. Perhaps 220 KW would do.
* Perhaps a robotically mobile, rather than a counterweighted, manually lifted and connected cable is in order. The present day robotic car wash design where the car stays still while the motile, rotating washing machinery moves around it comes to mind.
* Electrical connectors give me more trouble than wires and cables. A replaceable, quick-disconnect connector capable of 20KA seems more of a design challenge than the cables that would go with it.
* High voltage insulation and wiring is "easier" than high current conductance (low resistance) wiring, for example: Common engineering practice with 30-volt solar panels is to wire them in series so that the total string voltage is 300 to 600 VDC at 8 Amps, rather than in parallel so that the current would be 80 to 160 Amps at 30 Volts. Air is a lousy and unsafe insulator, but there are good liquid insulators which could easily, temporarily fill a two-pole, ground-surround high-voltage connector (displacing the air) before it's allowed to be electrically energized and ramped up to a high voltage. Precise ground fault current detection could make it safe from fault currents (i.e. shocks & shorts) in the milliamp range even as the cable carries hundreds or thousands of Amps. But any HV supply requires up-conversion at the station and down-conversion in the EV; whilst these can be 95% efficient, the effect of each conversion inefficiency is multiplicative, and they add weight.
* Then there's the charging station itself. If it has eight charging stations at, say 250 KW each, that's 2 MW draw from the utility (or an underground group of batteries recharged at a lower rate from utility power?) when all stations are charging cars. Not trivial; just the 500 KVA (call it 500 KW for discussion purposes) utility distribution transformer outside building where I work is the size of four refrigerators, not including its switchgear, all of which is enclosed by a 20 foot tall fence surrounding about 200 sq feet. Multiply that by four in volume to get 2 MW supply required from the utility.
It would be pretty unreasonable. But burning gas at 100% efficiency is actually impossible, so it's sort of a silly scenario anyway.
...you'd need 20kA. That'd be a fat cable indeed.
Maybe not as fat as you'd think; this guy figures 50KA here, and you wouldn't want to work with an extension cord like that every day, but it's not like you'd need a crane to lift it, either:
There's a simpler way to do the analysis which doesn't require heat of combustion of typical gasoline analysis and flowrates and such.
Assume it takes a KW for a horsepower (perfectly accurate for 1 sig fig) and it takes a couple horsepower (kilowatts) to go down the highway on a long road trip. To at least one sig fig this is correct. Also it takes about 3 times the chemical gasoline energy to generate electricity because IC engines are not terribly efficient. We'll call it 10 KW gas equivalent to drive on the interstate at a constant-ish high speed.
Now what fraction of the time of a road trip do you spend pumping gas vs driving? Well it can't take more than 4 minutes to fill a 10 or so gallon gas tank, and on cross country trips I can get a good 8 hours or so outta one tank, so to one sig fig I spend WAY less than 1/100th the time pumping gas vs driving.
So multiply 10 KW by 100 times the flow rate (conservation of energy and all that)
Another way to look at it, is think of the flow rate, lets say 5 gallons per minute. The kind of engine required to burn a couple gallons per minute resembles my uncle's hospital UPS backup engines, certainly in the megawatt class. This is also in the thousand horsepower (aka megawatt) class airplane engine and race car category.
It's the same reason electric car designs favor putting a lot of cells in series -- a high-voltage electric motor gets more of the power delivered by the batteries, less of it is wasted in the connecting wires. Also, in the car's charging circuit, the high voltage choice maximizes power transfer for a given connecting wire size.
No, instead you charge the cells in series. That delivers the same power while avoiding the problem of having to produce overly high currents.
> The currents involved mean this converter is still likely to dissipate a lot of heat, even if it is extremely efficient.
Yes, but there are ways to minimize this loss factor. Obviously a fast-charging scheme for a car is going to involve a lot of current, but the system designers do all they can to minimize that current. The primary way they do that is by both charging and discharging the cells arranged as much in series as is practical.
In the Tesla design, there are 11 modules connected in series and delivering 375 volts nominal (and requiring 375 volts to produce an optimal charging current). So there's no issue of changing individual cells at their normal cell voltage, instead the system charges modules consisting of 621 cells in an optimized series-parallel scheme:
Quote: "Tesla Motors refers to the Roadster's battery pack as the Energy Storage System or ESS. The ESS contains 6,831 lithium ion cells arranged into 11 "sheets" connected in series; each sheet contains 9 "bricks" connected in series; each "brick" contains 69 cells connected in parallel (11S 9S 69P)"
From your link: "A full recharge of the battery system requires 3½ hours using the High Power Connector which supplies 70 amp, 240 volt electricity"
Multiply that current by 10-100 to 'charge it faster' and you have a huge problem with thermal dissipation, not to mention using truly massive cables.
No, that can't be done without damaging the batteries. A fast charge in this context means multiplying the default charging current by roughly three, not 10, and certainly not 100.
If the voltage is high enough, there is no way to break the circuit anyway. The electricity will just arc across the (ionized) air, even if the computer physically disconnect it. Assuming the computer itself isn't killed by the spark, which is pretty likely. This is why linemen on high voltage lines don't even try to electrically insulate themselves when they're working with it live. Ask wikipedia:
For high-voltage and extra-high-voltage transmission lines, specially trained personnel use "live line" techniques to allow hands-on contact with energized equipment. In this case the worker is electrically connected to the high-voltage line but thoroughly insulated from the earth so that he is at the same electrical potential as that of the line. Since training for such operations is lengthy, and still presents a danger to personnel, only very important transmission lines are subject to maintenance while live. Outside these properly engineered situations, insulation from earth does not guarantee that no current flows to earth—as grounding or arcing to ground can occur in unexpected ways, and high-frequency currents can burn even an ungrounded person. Touching a transmitting antenna is dangerous for this reason, and a high-frequency Tesla Coil can sustain a spark with only one endpoint).
Energy density determines the size of the battery required to store a specific amount of energy. There's only so much space in the car, and you also have to factor in that any battery that will be moved by its own power loses efficiency with lower energy density. You've got a huge battery to move, and physics dictate that accelerating this battery is going to use more energy.
So, let's say you split this hybrid battery 50/50, your quick charge-discharge battery quickly becomes too small to deliver meaningful range, and you've given up space that could be used for the traditional battery.
PS: As to faster charging, issues are going to Limit that. A 99% efficient battery charging 100x as fast as Li-Ion is going to dump a lot of heat vary quickly. Duping heat is not really an issue for small battery's but scale this up into the 50+kwh range for an electric car or even just a cellphone battery and you will have significant issues.
For simple regenerative braking its not so big of a deal but if you're hoping to use it as a primary energy source its a big deal.
This submission's title: "New lithium-ion battery 2000 times more powerful, recharges 1000 times faster"
The actual title: "New lithium-ion battery design that’s 2,000 times more powerful, recharges 1,000 times faster"
The missing word is "design", a word that is crucial to the meaning of the article. The article discusses a design for a battery, not a battery. How important is that? Here's the last sentence in the linked article:
"For this to occur, though, the University of Illinois will first have to prove that their technology scales to larger battery sizes, and that the production process isn’t prohibitively expensive for commercial production."
It's a design, not a battery.
The solution to this problem, as I have pointed out many times before, is to copy the article's title, do not invent your own.
The original is 95 characters. "design that’s " and two comma's in the numbers get dropped and we're down to exactly 78.
Dropping words from a title in order to fit the 80 char limit is a bit of an art if you don't want to change the meaning, and making a new title is frowned upon because then you care not using the original title. Effectively you can't post an article with a title > 80 characters and not break the rules.
I never knew that. Thanks for the heads-up. I find it annoying that people rewrite headlines, but I didn't realize there was an actual reason.
> copy the article's title, do not invent your own.
Unfortunately you can't always do that. Dropping words is one technique to shorten the title, rewriting it is another, both techniques are employed.
"New Li+ battery design - 2,000x more powerful, recharges 1,000x faster"
Now you just have to know that Li is Lithium and the + is for an ion.
> "New Li+ battery design - 2,000x more powerful, recharges 1,000x faster"
In that spirit (and just for fun): "New Li+ battery design - 2k x more power, charges 1k x faster.
I originally tried scientific numeric notation, but that didn't actually shorten the title: 2x10^3 versus 2,000. :(
That sounds like a battery to me. The new design has actually been built and tested. The quote you pulled out refers to scaling it up to things like lasers and F1 cars. A button-sized battery sounds fine for a lot of electronics today. Just not an F1 car.
Yield probably is low, and the current process will likely be way too labour intensive.
True technological innovation needs not just engineering feasibility but also economic feasibility. I'm not trying to say that the research that "dead ends" is pointless. Progress is progress. All I am trying to say is that it doesn't mean economic viability is right around the corner.
Often, researchers are well aware of scaling or manufacturing hurdles when they embark on the experiments. For the sake of academic careers and exposure, the research will get hyped regardless of the viability of implementing the research.
Yes, but guess what? That's true -- it's not a marketable product, it's a laboratory curiosity. That difference mustn't be dismissed. There are any number of research developments that never become products for reasons other than their theoretical properties.
> Isn't that how bleeding-edge innovation works?
Not exactly. If if were, a solar panel that converted a higher percentage of the sun's energy into electricity would beat a panel that produced more power per dollar. But in reality, it's the other way around.
Not when the public thinks a battery is something you can buy for a reasonable price. This reminds me of the solar panel business, where the driving market issue is not cell efficiency, it's cell cost per watt. A panel that produces more watts per dollar will usually beat a panel that's more efficient at capturing the sun's energy.
Maybe a decade ago there was a fad of sticking a bare, unbiased LED across a button cell and relying on the internal resistance of the cell to current limit the LED. Then you superglue a magnet on it and toss it and you've got a LED throwie. If you tried that with a super low internal resistance battery like this, the effect would be vaguely similar to sticking the LED across a power outlet (boom).
For context a number of surface area improvements in Lithium-Ion anodes have failed at scale due to the creation of lithium dendrites (metal 'wires' that grow during recharge) which have either rendered large sections of the anode worthless and reduced the capacity of the battery, or created rapid exothermic reactions (aka fires) in the battery.
Ah here we go: http://xkcd.com/678/
I really love progress, but I've seen too many of these "N times better" articles and no actual consumption products by now.
Same with these memristors, MRAM and feRAM, and 1000x faster internet.
I don't know about you, but my first internet connection was 56 kbps, now I can easily buy 100 Mbps one (I don't cause 10 Mbps is good enough for me) and it would be much cheaper than what I had to pay 15 years ago for that 56 kbps, even including inflation.
Progress is here, we just don't notice (also media and inventors overhype). But in the end the progress is still happening unbeliveably fast. It's decimal order of magnitude every 5 years!
Today, this ratio enables about 70-100 miles travel for an electric car with a similar weight and size as a gasoline car.
will be interesting to follow this initiative.
I wonder if people could buy electric cars like they buy cellphones - you sign a contract with a provider, you pay X USD per month for the car and access to the grid, additionaly you have access to free regular car if you need to drive somehwere the grid doesn't exist yet(but you pay for the fuel by yourself).
The problem is infrastructure, I think.
The 1000x recharge rate means you can put the energy back in 1000x faster than the benchmark battery (e.g. 1000A x 2 hours vs. 1A x 2000 hours).
Due to the energy density being comparable, I would expect the actual size of a 2000AH New Improved[tm] lithium-ion battery would be comparable to the size of a traditional 2000AH "benchmark" battery.
Disclaimer: All the numbers made up out of thin air using values that were easy to do in my head.
Discharging fast make it more possible to catch fire.
Overall, it seems not very useful for smartphones.
I love this research but have seen similar articles for the past decade. At scale production is hard, just ask A123.
The real: Sell, build, design.
That doesn't seem very forward thinking.
If you want to shove tens of amps into something tiny its gotta be nearly perfectly efficient and/or excellent cooling and/or be tiny to get a great surface area/volume ratio.
I bet this would rock for bluetooth earpieces.
Also people expect some apps like cars to last for 15 years, but if you're "nervous" about long life, your stereotypical disposable cellphone is a great app.