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Isn’t this just excellent?

The joint project with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) has achieved a radical jump in the energy density of battery cells. The typical lithium-ion battery used in the car industry today stores about 200 watt-hours per kilo (Wh/kg). Their lab experiment has already reached 675 Wh/kg with a lithium-air variant.

This is a high enough density to power trucks, trains, and arguably mid-haul aircraft, long thought to be beyond the reach of electrification. The team believes it can reach 1,200 Wh/kg. If so, almost all global transport can be decarbonised more easily than we thought, and probably at a negative net cost compared to continuation of the hydrocarbon status quo.

I don’t believe it for a moment but imagine that we do. Super.

So, climate change is solved and everyone can bugger off with their insistence on a just and equitable solution, can’t they?

TFor that’s what the negative net cost means – that this new tech is cheaper than the old tech so everyone will, quite naturally and happily, adopt it without any form of compulsion. Price will do it all for us.

So, given that no one is going to give up their plans to force everyone then they don’t believe this news either, do they?

26 thoughts on “Isn’t this just excellent?”

  1. I don’t believe it either.
    It’s Armageddon Ambrose, he of the frenetic hyperbole.
    I wonder what the recharge time is?

  2. So.. It’s still In The Lab..
    And application not in the immedeate future , but not far away either. So the famous “within 10 years..”.
    Possibly applicable to sodium ( at what energy density?), so Give Us More Grants.

    Other than that the article is a rambling piece of associative box-checking and the usual Britain Is Missing Out/ We Must Rule The Waves.

    I’m definitely not opposed to reliable high-density energy storage for mobile applications. It’s, in important ways, a missing link between safe nuclear power and applying all that energy to Real Life™.
    It’s the guff and posturing around it for all the wrong reasons that gets.. Old…

  3. I see this stuff every other week on Some small-scale lab experiment produces these amazing energy/power density figures, then we never hear of it again. Show me the plant that makes them at scale.

  4. It doesn’t matter whether its possible or not. The whole point of the exercise is for those in power to demonstrate that power by forcing the rest of us to do that which we do not want to do. Why are the “green” bunch so vehemently anti-nuclear? Because it’s a solution that meets their purported demands without the rest of us having to wear hair shirts.

    Similarly… diesel cars were a fantastic thing while diesel engines were feeble and noisy, but better turbochargers came along meaning that diesels were no longer an unpleasant option and all of a sudden they became public enemy no. 1. We’re starting to see it with electric cars now: they were expensive and range-limited, but as they get better we hear more and more about how it’s actually tyres that are the problem. As soon as an electric car comes along with decent performance and range that is affordable for the average Joe, they will suddenly become the devil incarnate.

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    It may be a wonderful technology leap but it still doesn’t solve the problem of getting enough electricity from where it is generated to where it is needed, when it is needed, let alone the problem of generating enough given the restrictions on nuclear, gas and fracking.

  6. SomeBlokeFromCambridge

    Golly – according to my fag packet calculation, that’s almost 10% of the energy storage of a kilo of petrol.
    And, unlike their laboratory battery, a tankful of petrol can be “recharged” in about a minute.

  7. From the web:
    “With a complete combustion or fission, approx. 8 kWh of heat can be generated from 1 kg of coal”
    Coal isn’t a rechargeable battery of course but it’s over 10 times more energy dense than the 675 Wh/kg from this lithium-air set up.
    “With a 1% energy conversion from fission, 240,000 kWh is obtained from 1 kg of uranium-235”

  8. Some sample material in a lab test has achieved higher storage densities. Interesting (taking it at face value), but that’s a long way from a practical mass produced battery.

    But even if these batteries could be mass produced tomorrow, so what?

    The damn things have to be charged and that requires a massively expanded power grid based on reliable power sources (I.e. NOT unusables).

    More irrelevant milk float propaganda

  9. I’ve been watching Thunderf00t’s latest vid series. He’s playing around with feeding NaK alloy through car fuel injectors and igniting. (Also 10% energy density of Petrol). He suggests the resulting white smoke oxide and peroxides will help with albedo and therefore cooling. No he’s not presenting a solution rather just having fun exploring the idea.

  10. Presumably the more energy stored in it, the bigger the bang when it escapes unexpectedly?

    It is a point worth considering, Jim. Petrol has about 4 times the energy density of nitroglycerine. What limits its explosive potential, is it requires access to oxygen. So unless you have a fuel/air mix, it’s self limiting. It can only burn at the interface. It’s not always obvious with these energy storage solutions, there’s the same limit. A simple torch battery has the same energy as a shotgun cartridge. But unlike the cartridge, you can’t get it all out at once.

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    In related news Scholz has now backed the FDP in their calls for EU to end the 2035 ICE ban, Italy has also called for an end to the ban and the German car industry is saying they’re going to continue developing petrol and diesel engines.

    It would be nice to think the green fantasy world is crashing.

  12. And contrary to what the movies tell us, petrol does not explode or even burn very well. It needs to be atomised and mixed with air. If cars exploded at the slightest provocation, nobody would buy them.

  13. It would be nice to think the green fantasy world is crashing.

    As bloke in spain reminds us – interests.

  14. Battery capacity is not the problem that needs to be solved, at least for surface transport it isn’t. The mani problems that need to be solved are:
    1. getting the energy into the battery in a reasonably short time. Internal combustion engined vehicles take a few minutes. A car can be refuelled in about 5 minutes including the time spent paying for the fuel. EV’s need to get close to that. Also, bear in mind, if it takes twice as long to fuel up an EV we’ll need twice as many charging points as we currently have fuel pumps, if it takes four times as long we’ll need four times as many, etc.
    2. Generating enough electricity to replace the petrol and diesel currently used to power our vehicles.

  15. @craig “….They still have to be charged”
    and what @FrankH says

    Battery capacity isn’t the biggest problem, it is the time and resources required to put the energy back into them.
    I have a thirsty V8 Landrover with a ridiculously small petrol tank which gives me a range of only about 250k (150 miles).
    Doesn’t matter because petrol stations are pretty much always nearby when I need them and it only takes a couple of minutes to refill.

  16. “Also, bear in mind, if it takes twice as long to fuel up an EV we’ll need twice as many charging points as we currently have fuel pumps”

    As has been said by many on here – it’s pretty clear that the intent of the great and the good is to limit ordinary proles mobility. So we won’t need as many charging stations.
    Hence the talk of “15 minute cities”, the expansion of ULEZ, and the abolition of the internal combustion engine etc.

  17. @FrankH
    And one has to consider the footprint of charging stations. Most gas stations double rank the pumps. Because the inconvenience of waiting for the car in front to pull off is short enough to be acceptable. With electrics, each charger will require its own bay & importantly, it’s own access route. If you look at a gas station, 2/3 of its footprint is access routes. If you consider a major used highway & the time vehicles will take charging, you’re talking service areas half a mile long. And you can’t have multiple smaller ones because the cost of cabling them into the grid would be prohibitive.
    Battery cars are just about working out now, because they’re few in number & most people who run them have home charging possibilities. But that’s only about half the total car owners .

  18. Depends where you are bloke in a shed, I know a few places where that range wouldn’t get you to the next fuel stop

  19. Battery cars are just about working out now, because they’re few in number & most people who run them have home charging possibilities. But that’s only about half the total car owners.

    EVs are a practical proposition only for those with access to home (or maybe work) charging, and (if they ever need to travel >200 miles/300km) can afford two cars. What proportion of these folk now own an EV? Round here, I’d definitely assess it as more than half.

  20. @Chris Miller
    “and (if they ever need to travel >200 miles/300km) can afford two cars. ”

    Depends how regularly they need the long journeys. If it’s just for the annual holiday to Cornwall then car rental is a serious alternative. If it’s every weekend and potentially at short notice on a weekday emergency to visit a sick parent, then you really want to own the thing. To be fair, a high proportion of households now have two or more cars. Most families I know with electric cars are doing what you suggest, a “workhorse” electric car plus a petrol or diesel for the heavier stuff.

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