Friday, January 26, 2007

Technology Review: Battery Breakthrough?

Technology Review: Battery Breakthrough?
Well, that's certainly interesting.
... dramatically outperform the best lithium-ion batteries on the market in terms of energy density, price, charge time, and safety. Pound for pound, it will also pack 10 times the punch of lead-acid batteries at half the cost and without the need for toxic materials or chemicals ...
... specific energy of about 280 watt hours per kilogram, compared with around 120 watt hours per kilogram for lithium-ion and 32 watt hours per kilogram for lead-acid gel batteries.
As for a first production run,
a 15-kilowatt-hour energy-storage system for a small electric car weighing less than 100 pounds, and with a 200-mile driving range. The vehicle, the company says, will be able to recharge in less than 10 minutes.
If my numbers are right that's a 90 kilowatt charge rate, several times the maximum my house uses at summer peak. Home plug-in charging will have to be throttled considerably, or dedicated charging stations will be required. The range and energy numbers imply something like 5 kilowatt drain, which may be reasonable for a small, aerodynamic car.

Should this thing take off in the automotive sector it will have significant implications for the electricity grid. That's no biggie, as the electricity grid already faces significant issues. This'll just be one more challenge, and not the biggest one.

Even if the thing doesn't work out in the automotive arena, and if this isn't a bunch of hype (such as I've become accustomed to with flywheels over the years), and if self-discharge isn't an issue, this could be a big deal. In any event it's worth watching.

My biggest problem with the article is the final part of this sentence:
Such a breakthrough has the potential to radically transform a transportation sector already flirting with an electric renaissance, improve the performance of intermittent energy sources such as wind and sun, and increase the efficiency and stability of power grids--all while fulfilling an oil-addicted America's quest for energy security.
It's a battery, not an energy source, and it's not going to fulfill any quest for energy security. Maybe I'm nitpicking.

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