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Canada Power Transportation Technology

Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery 363

Jabrwock (985861) writes 'One of the biggest limitations on lithium battery-powered electric cars has been their range. Last year Israeli-based Phinergy introduced an "aluminum-air" battery. Today, partnering with Alcoa Canada, they announced a demo of the battery, which is charged up at Alcoa's aluminum smelter in Quebec. The plant uses hydro-electric power to charge up the battery, which would then need a tap-water refill every few months, and a swap (ideally at a local dealership) every 3,000km, since it cannot be recharged as simply as Lithium. The battery is meant to boost the range of standard electric cars, which would still use the Lithium batteries for short-range trips. The battery would add about 100 kg to an existing Tesla car's battery weight.'
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Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery

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  • Re:Getting better (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @08:36AM (#47170887)

    Isreal wish to strategically extract themselves (and everyone else) from oil dependence for obvious reasons. The US government (read: energy companies) does not have the same goal.

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @08:42AM (#47170939)

    It'll be pretty damn efficient at putting a lot of money into the hands of the dealerships where you have to switch those batteries out, though.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @09:00AM (#47171047)

    Its hard to see how the energy cycle makes sense. Melting down the aluminum to reform a "charged" battery does not seem intuitively efficient. Even if the process is powered from beautiful clean hydro.

    Battery trailers make more sense than swapping, IMO.

    It appears to be based on the oxidation of the Aluminum.

    The energy is released via a chemical reaction that draws oxygen from the air and uses water fed into the car by the user to turn the aluminum into alumina (similar to the reaction that turns iron into rust)

    So using the battery literally destroys it. The aluminum is all still there. So it's not rechargeable at all. It's disposable. They recycle it at the smelter, they don't recharge it. I suspect it will be treated like other car parts and there will be a core charge that you get back for swapping your old battery in.

    I've no idea how efficient the process is, that would really be the key question.

  • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @11:52AM (#47172339) Homepage Journal

    The average car in the US travels approximately 20,000 miles/year.

    The 20k/year warranty isn't due to the average, it's to catch like 90% of people. The average is more like 12k [] - light duty trucks(pickups) average closer to 15k [].

    1800 miles per charge is 7 swaps, or about every other month.

    If you keep even a 25 mile liIon battery in it though it'd become an annual swap for most people.

  • Re:Hm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kenaaker ( 774785 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @12:59PM (#47172957)
    Here's a prime example of someone speaking with absolute certainty and near complete ignorance.

    The "extremely nasty" chemicals in the battery are aluminum and oxygen. Solid aluminum metal will yield 8kWh of electricity per kilogram of aluminum mass when reacted with oxygen. When aluminum first became an affordable material it was referred to as "solidified electricity" because of how much electricity the Bayer process consumed to refine bauxite. Also, the aluminum is basically consumed by being transformed back into aluminum oxide. But, if you run the alumina back through the Bayer process you get aluminum metal again. Pretty much a closed cycle.

  • by jdschulteis ( 689834 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @02:01PM (#47173531)

    What I'm wondering is why I want to carry around 2 months worth of fuel in my car and be sitting on top of that amount of potential energy in a crash?

    Maybe because of the unlikelihood that all of that energy would be released rapidly enough to cause a safety concern?

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN