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Power Technology

Stanford Researchers Invent Everlasting Battery Material 180

Posted by timothy
from the for-practical-purposes dept.
judgecorp writes "Researchers at Stanford University have invented a battery material that could allow batteries to go through 400,000 charging cycles instead of the 400 or so which today's Li-ion batteries can manage. Among the uses could be storing energy to even out the availability of renewable sources such as sun and wind." Adds a story at ExtremeTech, "The only problem is, a high-voltage cathode (-) requires a very low-voltage anode (+) — and the Stanford researchers haven’t found the right one yet; and so they haven’t actually made a battery with this new discovery."
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Stanford Researchers Invent Everlasting Battery Material

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  • by sugarmotor (621907) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @07:50PM (#38161780) Homepage

    Nice to hear the phrase "renewable sources" being used.

  • Re:Impossible! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sadness203 (1539377) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @08:02PM (#38161846)
    Obvious troll, but still. Not every country rely on coal/gas to generate its electricity.
    And better battery technology might help to store energies produced by other means, like solar or wind.
  • by skids (119237) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @08:12PM (#38161890) Homepage

    ...and the original article plays it loose with the 400 charge/discharge cycles figure for Li-ion. They took the low-end of the range from Wikipedia's Li-ion article. Typical is more like 1000 for standard chemistries and higher for some of the more stable chemistries like li-FePO4.

    Still, nice to see even more evidence that there's a menu of options for improving battery energy density, cycle life, and calendar life. Now if we could just make an educated guess and pick a suite of them to develop into large scale production instead of constantly dithering waiting for the next grad student to up the bar and never actually opening a factory.

  • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @08:18PM (#38161938)

    Everlasting should mean forever, not 400,000

    I'm going to have to agree with the Pastor on this one. 400k isn't really "everlasting", it's got a finite limit to the lasting.

  • Re:Nothing special (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tomato42 (2416694) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @09:02PM (#38162246)
    Battery charge and discharge has efficiency in the order of 60%. That's pathetic in electricity land. Pumped storage (making use of huge lakes) has efficiency in the area of 90%. Wasting the space for warehouses to store batteries is, err, let me say, "not smart".
  • Re:Nothing special (Score:5, Insightful)

    by skids (119237) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @09:08PM (#38162296) Homepage

    There are three ways to rate battery life: "calendar life" (actual age deterioration), "shelf life" (how long it retains a charge), and "cycle life" (number of cycles of some depth that may be processed). While there are some chemistries with very high cycle life, this is higher than anything in production, save of course for ultra-capacitors. So yes, it is new.

  • Re:Nothing special (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 24, 2011 @11:05PM (#38162830)

    Pumped storage (making use of huge lakes) has efficiency in the area of 90%

    Bull Fucking Shit. The full load efficiency of a large electric motor isn't often over 92-95% on its own--a lot of that is lost in frictional losses to windage and bearings, you see, not forgetting losses through conductors and eddy currents. In other words: you're already dangerously close to your 90% threshold right in the motor. Then you have the frictional losses of a turbine to pump the water up, and friction head losses due to the plumbing itself.

    Then once you get the water up to a lake: if it's an open body of water, you're going to have evaporation. That reduces the net efficiency all the same. Ok. Now that it's in the lake, we gotta do the reverse. More losses to friction in the plumbing and generator turbine, and to the generator itself, and then to any power conversion necessary down the line.

    Even if you went to heroic efforts in turbine mechanics and used hydrogen cooled motors and generators to reduce loss to air friction, I'd bet net efficiency over 70% would be very, very difficult to achieve, even in the best and most optimistic scenario involving an open body of water.

    Not to say that's a bad thing, but whether or not that would be useful is entirely dependent on the needs of the grid and the type of power supply on that grid. If you've got a nuclear station that needs to run at 90%+ 100% of the time (or whatever the case may be), hydro storage might make a lot of sense; use the surplus to store energy during the low demand times.

  • by haruchai (17472) on Friday November 25, 2011 @12:16AM (#38163166)
    Only God can be a piece of shit and an asshole at the same time; any lesser being would have to be one or the other.
  • by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Friday November 25, 2011 @07:36AM (#38164556)

    Everlasting battery - apparently this means not everlasting (400,000 cycles) and not a battery (since they don't know how to actually build one yet)

    I have a perpetual motion machine, except it's not a machine and isn't perpetually in motion ....

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