×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Li-Ion Batteries Get Green Seal of Approval

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the earth-approved dept.

Power 69

thecarchik writes "It is not an easy task to compare the environmental effects of battery powered cars to those caused by conventionally fueled automobiles. The degree to which manufacture, usage and disposal of the batteries used to store the necessary electrical energy are detrimental to the environment is not exactly known. Now, for the first time, a team of Empa scientists have made a detailed life cycle assessment (LCA) or ecobalance of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, in particular the chemically improved (i.e. more environmentally friendly) version of the ones most frequently used in electric vehicles. Researchers decided to find out for sure. They calculated the ecological footprints of electric cars fitted with Li-ion batteries, taking into account all possible relevant factors, from those associated with the production of individual parts all the way through to the scrapping of the vehicle and the disposal of the remains, including the operation of the vehicle during its lifetime."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

69 comments

Lion batteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33445198)

Rrrrraaaaarrrr!

Re:Lion batteries? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33445364)

D batteries get my brown seal of approval on a nightly basis. You see, I like anal masturbation and that's what powers my vibrator.

Re:Lion batteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33445482)

We don't take kindly to lions round these here parts...

Hmm, the source is interesting (3, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445272)

It's a research group focused on bringing academic lab work to the commercial world, I can't imagine that they would possibly have any bias for new technologies =) I'm not saying their methods are flawed, but since there's no actual paper available just a press release I'll take it with a grain of NaCl until I can read their actual work. I've seen too many vendor TCO claims to be swayed without the detailed disclosure.

Re:Hmm, the source is interesting (5, Informative)

aethogamous (935390) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445892)

...but since there's no actual paper available...

Link to the actually available paper: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es903729a [acs.org]

Re:Hmm, the source is interesting (0)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33446086)

Thanks, well they assume a battery technology that's not commercially available, a maximum vehicle lifetime of 92k miles, a lithium extraction technology that's low energy but unlikely to scale to widespread usage of the lithium for transportation, and finally they don't take recycling into account but rather attribute all inputs to virgin materials. Still if you tweak the numbers towards a more realistic mix you still come out with battery powered vehicles being no worse than ICE unless the battery vehicle is primarily powered by coal.

Re:Hmm, the source is interesting (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33446958)

Um... huh?

Thanks, well they assume a battery technology that's not commercially available

Oh really? Then what are they putting in the Volt? Or the Leaf? LiMn2O4 is one of the most popular chemistries for EVs. Here, want to buy some? [ebay.com.sg]

To be fair, their wording could have been clearer. Nickel and cobalt-based li-ions currently dominate the market. But LiMn2O4 absolutely are already out on the market, and have been for years. Their main competitor is LiFePO4. Both chemistries offer much better cycle life, stability, and power than traditional cathodes, at the cost of lower energy density. They used to be a lot more expensive, but their prices have been falling, and they'll probably be cheaper within the next few years.

a maximum vehicle lifetime of 92k miles

No, they assume a vehicle lifespan of 240,000 km (pgs 2 and 4). They assume two batteries used per vehicle over it's lifespan (one replacement) -- even though most upcoming mass-market EVs are being *warrantied* for 8-10 years.

a lithium extraction technology that's low energy but unlikely to scale to widespread usage of the lithium for transportation

Huh? What they describe is the standard way of producing lithium carbonate. And energy to produce a product generally declines as you scale up, rather than increasing. And the lithium extraction is only 1.9% of the battery's energy consumption anyway. The biggest chunk is aluminum, at 15.1%. So even if you have to jump to spodumene, like they mention (you wouldn't jump straight there, by the way -- you'd first use lithium hydroxide, like is found in Nevada), it would hardly change the picture.

Lithium is just such a small part of the overall picture; the only reason people focus on it is it's in the name. As they make clear, it's the bulk metals (aluminum, copper, etc) and the roasting of the cathode that takes most of the energy of production.

and finally they don't take recycling into account but rather attribute all inputs to virgin materials.

They specifically note that recycling would *improve* the picture for BEVs (bottom of page 5 / top of page 6)

Still if you tweak the numbers towards a more realistic mix you still come out with battery powered vehicles being no worse than ICE unless the battery vehicle is primarily powered by coal.

Tweak nothing. That would take a complete rewrite with absurd bogus numbers to get a breakeven value. The comparison numbers aren't even close, and coal only increases the total energy 13.4% (page 4). BEVs blow ICEs away.

Re:Hmm, the source is interesting (2, Funny)

s122604 (1018036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33447992)

parent: I'm not a +1 type of guy, but hat's off to you, this post is complete ownage

Missing factor (5, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445314)

Li-Ion batteries are in fact very bad for the environment: by reducing reliance upon fossil fuels, demand for fossil fuels drops, which reduces prices, which encourages future use, which reduces pressure to research green alternative energy sources, which ultimately means more pollution. Conclusion: drive a Hummer, it's the new green.

Re:Missing factor (2, Insightful)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445394)

I know you're being snarky, but first off, we're probably going to exhaust our entire supply of fossil fuels anyway, the question is just how quickly. Secondly, electric cars are still being powered by fossil fuels, for the most part anyway. Thirdly, any reduction in demand can be easily offset with tax schemes like cap-and-trade.

Re:Missing factor (-1, Troll)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445472)

Ahh yes, paying taxes to politicians for using the life-giving O2 to live out our lives. What a perfect "scheme" it is indeed. I'm sure paying these taxes will immediately make the planet cooler and bring it closer to the perfect temperature it needs to be at.. wait, what IS that temperature anyway?! Anyone know?

Re:Missing factor (3, Interesting)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445582)

We're going to run out of fossil fuels sooner or later. Environmental concerns aside we should be investing in renewable power sources. The market needs a little nudge in the right direction even without pollution worries. Imagine a world where power is plentiful and cheap. Imagine the technologies that could be implemented, the research that could be done. Imagine grow lights in remote areas for food. Imagine water filtration systems everywhere. Imagine automatic manufacturing on demand. Imagine constant high speed transportation all over the world and beyond. All for 1000th the price it would cost today because power is dirt cheap. This type of progress isn't possible while we remain tethered on fossil fuels. It has a limited supply to it will simply always be too expensive.

Re:Missing factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33445760)

This harmonious world of yours isn't possible even by current theoretical standards. If you rely on miraculous scientific advancement of energy methods, you still won't live to see a glimmer of it, due to the pure scale and time involved.

Re:Missing factor (4, Insightful)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445776)

Oh I know it won't happen in my lifetime. I just think it is good to keep the end goal in site no matter how far away it is.

Re:Missing factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33445950)

In sight, yes that's an apt phrasing. It means to continually and gradually shift in that direction, even while making compromise for the present. A reckless and concerted effort to shift grid infrastructure to renewable energy now, even while it's not (nearly!) ready, could be disastrous. It's how to end up like the USSR, waiting on a miracle that never comes, unable to sustain itself nor its growth. It is a silly prediction of course. I only say it because I'm unsure what you are proposing, and just how heavy-handed federal intervention should be.

Re:Missing factor (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33445484)

I dont think that this is actually effectively true (running out).

Today's waste product is tomorrows fuel. It has happened repeatedly since we have been using fossil fuels. If you consider that the coal the drove the industrial revolution is effectively gone, yet we somehow come up with new coal you will realize that we are now using fuel that was once thought to be useless, and was considered a waste product. Oil will/is the same. New reserves are lower quality ( in a $ vs output sense ) that the middle eastern oil. It is harder to recover, and harder to process, or often lower quality which all nets a lower payout and higher price.

The natural price increases that are the result of more expensive recovery methods is what I think will ultimately move us to a more renewable energy. I doubt we will every truly run out of oil, but it will simply become un-economical to use and supply and demand has no control over that.

And the idea that lower damand will cause an overabundance of supply is a very short term concern. production will be cut soon after demand wanes. This is a good thing, because lower demand and somewhat lower production will force renewables to come down in price to compete. This is Darwinism applied to fuel. green can only succeed if selection in the marketplace drives it to a stronger position. this is a classic evolutionary tactic in pretty much every living or dynamic system. The best suited wins not because it has always been better, but because the less suited are not far behind.

Re:Missing factor (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445574)

we're probably going to exhaust our entire supply of fossil fuels anyway

Do you put any thought at all into the statements you make?

Perhaps you should learn about reality. Your first stop should be an economics class.

Re:Missing factor (1)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445654)

Thanks for your feedback but I have no idea what exactly you decided doesn't conform to reality. It would help if you provided a little more context for your side of the ... I'll call it an argument.

Are you saying it is unlikely we run out because we have so much? Or are you saying it is not necessarily true that we'll run out and that we could easily be shifted away from such a path? Or are you saying that we won't run out because much of it isn't profitable enough to warrant extraction. Or are you going down some other path completely? I have no idea, help me out.

Re:Missing factor (-1, Troll)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445778)

Thats why you need to take an economics class. Your error would be obvious to you had you studied even basic economics.

Re:Missing factor (4, Funny)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445804)

Ah, well. Thank you for your incredible lack of specificity. I'm glad you replied to further insult me, yet didn't clarify yourself. It shows where your priorities are.

Re:Missing factor (1)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445864)

I don't particularly agree with the "greenies" but I must admit the previous reply leaves much to be desired in terms of details. I did not take any economics classes, and I wish he would enlight both of us as to what he is alluring.

Re:Missing factor (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445932)

My guess is that he is saying the price will go up so high that no one will want to buy it when the reserves get small enough.

OK, great... so how is that different than exhausting it entirely?

Re:Missing factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33446018)

It isn't different, really. The meaning was quite clear by "expire," it's just that someone felt like being pedantic. It's almost like saying that oil can never truly expire due to the Earth's recreation process -- well, duh.

Re:Missing factor (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33448570)

The argument works like this.

As supply dwindles the price sky rockets. As the price increases, harder to reach oil supplies become cost effective. As price continues to rise, alternative forms of oil (including synthetic) scavenging and processing become cost effective which lowers pressure on traditional sources of oil. As demand grows a new market is created which continues to lower pressure and establishes alternate sources.

Basically saying, we will never run out of oil. Our economic model ensures that will never happen. The real question is, at what price point do alternative oil and fuel sources become economically viable? Most economists believe that number starts at a *sustained* $120 per barrel and higher. And oddly enough, recent semi-recent oil prices seem to bare that out. When oil was holding at such high prices there was suddenly much vigor in producing alternate forms of fuel, oil, and energy. Prices fell before the market could deliver on long term replacements. Again, stressing the need for sustained high prices before the market can justify significant research into alternative solutions.

Re:Missing factor (1)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 3 years ago | (#33447176)

Yes, they didn't understand economics on Easter Island and they completely managed to run out of a finite and slowly renewing resource. If they had just known basic economics, magically they wouldn't have run out.

Re:Missing factor (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#33449034)

Of course! We'll never run out of fossil fuels because a few rich dudes will have jars of oil or lumps of coal on display in their curio cabinets. For similar reasons we'll never run out of helium or IPv4 addresses.

I mean it's basic economics, jeez, some people are just so ignorant.

Re:Missing factor (1)

arkenian (1560563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33446262)

I think he's suggesting that the rules of supply and demand are such that the last drops of fossil fuels will be sufficiently expensive that we're unlikely to expend them. (At least, not by burning them -- I feel obliged to point out that of the many uses for petroleum, burning is by no means the most critical to society.) If so, this is a fairly ridiculous quibble. That is to say that while it is true that likely we never will expend the entire supply, we will certainly expend sufficient quantities of it that the entire remaining supply is insufficient to any sort of large-scale need.

Re:Missing factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33446538)

Speaking of learning about reality. Last time I checked economics class was not the best place.
It seem to me that almost everything they learn there is unproved statements that does not work in practice.
If you want a better prediction of the future you should probably ask an engineer or ... well the village fool or anyone who didn't take that economics class.

Lithium peak (2, Interesting)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445684)

When we hit the lithium peak, how will we make more Li-ion batteries?

Re:Lithium peak (1)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445716)

When we hit the lithium peak, how will we make more Li-ion batteries?

I guess we won't make more Li-ion batteries. But luckily there are plenty of other ways to store electricity -- many in development. We'll manage. Is that suppose to be some type of argument about why it is pointless to switch to renewable energy sources? If so, it doesn't really have much punch to it.

Re:Lithium peak (4, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445732)

Re:Lithium peak (5, Funny)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445738)

Peak lithium is a Li!

Re:Lithium peak (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 3 years ago | (#33446724)

I do worry about this. While lithium isn't consumed by the batteries, electrifying a substantial portion of the world's road transport would require a huge increase in world wide lithium production.

[... goes away and searches ...]
http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/lithium/mcs-2010-lithi.pdf [usgs.gov]

World production was about 25,400 tons in 2008, and reserves about 10,000,000 tons, so we have about 400 years of production at current rates.

If an electric car typically contains a 200kg battery which is 5% lithium by weight, that is 10kg per car. (These numbers are slightly better than guess work, but not by much.) If we manufacture say 200 million new cars per year, that is about 2 million tons of lithium per year, or about 20% of world reserves per year. (200 million cars with 10 year average lifespan would give 2 billion cars worldwide.)

So it does indeed look like it could be a big problem. Eventually there will be a significant contribution from recycling the previous generation of electric cars, but that is some way away. There may also be major reserves yet to be found, as it has not previously been worth looking hard for them.

In any case, even if the reserves exist, we're likely to need on the order of an 80-fold increase in mining capacity if we're to convert the world to battery cars.

Re:Lithium peak (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33446998)

Please read the GP. Thanks.

Also, your numbers on how much lithium is used per EV is wrong. The leaf's battery pack is about 600lbs and contains 9 pounds of lithium (1.5%).

Re:Lithium peak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33445884)

I was just kidding, but cool link!

Recycling? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#33446596)

I dunno if it's actually cost effective (it might be cheaper to mine/extract 'new' lithium), but if need be, shouldn't the lithium in the battery be recylable? Batteries go bad, but it's not like the elemental lithium in the battery is destroyed through use (well, I'm not sure what the half-life of Lithium is, but since it doesn't seem to be a radiation hazard, I'm going to guess it has a nice long, stable half-life, so that means that it's not decaying into some other element in any time period we care about [dunno if it would ever decay into something else - Wikipedia article for isotopes of Lithium just says that Lithiumm-7 is 'stable'; not sure if that means it takes billions of years to decay, or simply never will decay]).

Anyhow, it seems like, logically, all those automotive, cell-phone, laptop, etc batteries could be recycled into new batteries when they start to lose the ability to hold a charge. But again, it might just be too expensive to recycle when lots of fairly cheap 'virgin' lithium may be available?

Re:Recycling? (1)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33468388)

Stable means that no decay rate can be measured, which mean more than about 10^20 years (probably vastly more).

Re:Missing factor (2, Interesting)

willy_me (212994) | more than 3 years ago | (#33447654)

we're probably going to exhaust our entire supply of fossil fuels anyway

Not before acidifying the ocean to the point that everything dies. The increased CO2 in the atmosphere would also destroy countless ecosystems and result in mass extinctions.

Long story short, there is way too much carbon available to burn. We will kill ourselves long before we run out. Those who think governments should piss off and just let the market determine the price of oil really don't see the problem. As long as the environmental costs of oil are ignored, the market does not work to our benefit.

What carbon taxes do is they try to associate a dollar amount to the environmental costs of oil. When this tax is applied the market actually works to our benefit. In addition, because renewable sources of energy would not be taxed, there is increased motivation to develop these sources of energy - even without government grants.

The problem is that the world powers can not agree to universally implement such a tax. And because the CO2 emissions are shared by all, an agreement is really required. Without said agreement, a country would be sabotaging it's economy by implementing such a tax.

Re:Missing factor (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 3 years ago | (#33455624)

Uh there's been a whole lot more CO2 in the air (and oceans) than there is now in the past. Amazingly, life survived.

Re:Missing factor (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33458326)

That's an incredibly stupid thing to say.

I mean, life survived asteroid impacts but I think it's in mankind's best interest to do anything possible to avoid such things.

But that might just be me.

Re:Missing factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33462102)

I know you're being snarky, but first off, we're probably going to exhaust our entire supply of fossil fuels anyway, the question is just how quickly.

I guess you are a 'the oil well is half-empty' guy.

Secondly, electric cars are still being powered by fossil fuels, for the most part anyway.

Don't tell that to too many people it might change their perspective from green to a more bile-like shade of chunder.

Thirdly, any reduction in demand can be easily offset with tax schemes like cap-and-trade.

I think we should write to Kenneth Lay and see which other great schemes to save their planet he and his ecologically savvy mates have cooked up to keep us feeling warm and fuzzy whilst another African village starves to death to show their support for our lifestyles.

Re:Missing factor (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445666)

Li-Ion batteries are in fact very bad for the environment: by reducing reliance upon fossil fuels, demand for fossil fuels drops, which reduces prices, which encourages future use, which reduces pressure to research green alternative energy sources, which ultimately means more pollution.

        Your manifesto was excellent, by the way!

Re:Missing factor (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33445698)

Your manifesto was excellent, by the way!

It left out the part about 'disgusting human babies' though, and didn't factor in the immigration pollution that Li-ion batteries promote.

Re:Missing factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33445794)

Man, that's totally depressing.

hmmm (-1, Redundant)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445640)

Not trolling, but due to the mining, production, added weight to vehicles and disposal of the lithium makes an old muscle car's carbon emissions look appealing versus a hybrid.

Re:hmmm (4, Informative)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445678)

This study takes in to account all those factors and says you're wrong.

Re:hmmm (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33446144)

You clearly don't live within walking distance of the dead zone surrounding a plant that refines lithium. The study is greenwashing.

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33446244)

On the other hand most of us do live right next to the oil refining plants. Walking distance even.

Re:hmmm (1)

jcupitt65 (68879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33446706)

Other materials, such as aluminium, are much more harmful. Aluminium of course is used heavily in all cars. From the article:

... the researchers discovered that only 15% of the total environmental impact of building the car could be attributed to the battery pack. Of that, only 2.3% came from mining and processing raw lithium.

Other materials used in lithium-ion batteries such as copper and aluminium, attributed 7.5% of the environmental burden.

Re:hmmm (4, Funny)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 3 years ago | (#33447214)

Or you know, it could be this well researched study is more credible than your unsupported assertion on slashdot. Just saying.

Re:hmmm (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33445710)

Not trolling, but due to the mining, production, added weight to vehicles and disposal of the lithium makes an old muscle car's carbon emissions look appealing versus a hybrid.

From TFA:

If some of the most vocal anti-EV spokespersons are to be believed, mining the minerals and metals used in electric car batteries are much more damaging to the planet than any gasoline car.

Thankfully, it turns out they are wrong. Making an electric car really doesn’t take up as many of the earth’s resources as previously thought.

You can read the rest of TFA from the link in TFS....

Hasty Disposal (2, Informative)

tirefire (724526) | more than 3 years ago | (#33445894)

One thing that bothers me about seeing Li-Ion battery-powered devices everywhere these days is the way so many people view them as disposable, when in reality the battery is good for hundreds of charge/discharge cycles, and the device for many times that number.

Take for example the laptop I just bought secondhand today. It's a 2001 Gateway with a pentium 3 and the original li-ion battery. The battery is still capable of FOUR HOURS of constant web browsing and disk thrashing on a single charge. I paid $40 for this thing, and it performs just as well as any "netbook" for about 13% the price. My purchase was environment-agnostic, but if you don't want li-ion batteries going into landfills, finding ways to re-use them like I did is a good way to start.

Re:Hasty Disposal (3, Insightful)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33446164)

Are you sure this is the original battery ? My anecdotal evidence on a dozen of samples tells me that after about 6 years, most laptop Li-On batteries cannot hold charge anymore.

Re:Hasty Disposal (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33446264)

One particular drawback to Li-ion batteries (of the type used in laptops) is that the battery degrades even when not being used. They degrade slower when lightly charged and stored at low temperature, but degrade much faster when near fully charged and/or warm.

The common use pattern where a laptop is plugged in for significant periods of time will degrade Li-ion batteries faster than anything else. The battery will be lucky to last more than 12 months under such conditions. I'm on my third battery in three years, after the first two reached the point where I got less than 5 minutes' charge out of them.

Lithium-ion batteries are good for many cycles, hold quite a lot of charge per unit mass, and don't suffer from the "memory effect", but are not long-lived.

Re:Hasty Disposal (1)

Mascot (120795) | more than 3 years ago | (#33446780)

but are not long-lived.

I have a 3 year old laptop with no discernible difference in battery duration between now and when I bought it. Not saying there is none, from what I know there's no real way there couldn't be degradation, but it isn't yet enough to be noticeable on the odd occasion I do allow it to run until empty on battery.

I have a netbook that's a couple of years old, same thing. No discernible change in battery longevity.

I have an MP3/video player, bought in November 2007, no noticeable degradation. On a hunch, I'd say I'm getting at least 80% of original capacity.

I have a mobile phone that's so old the plastic bits on the battery that kept it attacked to the phone finally broke off. The battery still held a charge that lasted for days (it's the phone I used to bring with if I wanted to be reachable for more than a day, but not wanting to bring a charger along).

It seems to me that what's been killing laptop batteries is heat more than anything. Previously they kept on trickle charging. Today they reach 100%, then allow the battery to drop to 90% or so before topping it up again in case you want to pick it up and go. There's no constant trickle charge keeping the battery warm and thus wearing it down.

The most annoying thing about laptop and cellphone batteries, is that by the time you want or need a replacement, the bloody things can't be bought anymore. Try finding an original battery for a 4 year old phone, I dare you. On the one hand I realize that it's probably not profitable to keep producing batteries for old items like that, insufficient market, but still. Considering what we know of li-ion degradation over time, it's little use hoarding a few at the same time you buy the laptop/phone either.

Re:Hasty Disposal (2, Informative)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33447232)

You and I have very difference opinions on notable degradation. 80% of original capacity .. is huge.

Under optimal conditions, Li batteries degrade just a few % per year. Under average conditions, 8-10% is fairly normal. Under poor conditions, 25-35% loss in a year is reasonable. And you could kill one entirely in less than a year under worst case conditions.

Re:Hasty Disposal (1)

Mascot (120795) | more than 3 years ago | (#33447780)

Bear in mind that the post I replied to talked about needing three new batteries in as many years, with the batteries being down to lasting 5 minutes (this happened to the first and only iPod I ever bought, incidentally). Compared to that, retaining 80% after three years is freakin' stellar.

The original endurance of that PMP, when playing video, was 6 hours. At 80% capacity that's more in the area of 5 hours.

Whether that's noticeable or not is down to usage pattern. If I routinely used it for a 5.5 hour flight, it would be very noticeable. I don't, so the difference between 5 and 6 hours is not noticeable to me. It's still "more than I need".

At this rate it'll still be usable to me in another three years time. As far as batteries go, that's pretty decent in my book. We all know they ain't gonna last forever.

Re:Hasty Disposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33451808)

> with the batteries being down to lasting 5 minutes (this happened to the first and only iPod I ever bought, incidentally).

I was able to purchase a 1st gen iPod off a friend because he believed the batter was dead. Like you, it would charge all night and last for less than 30 minutes.

Turns out, the 1st gen iPod had a flaw in the charging circuit in which a capacitor would not discharge, preventing it from registering a full charge. The solution was to pop off the back, and unplug the batter for about 5 minutes. This allowed a capacitor in the charging circuit to discharge.

After this, the iPod held charge for 8+ hours (used it at work all day). A quick 5 minute operation netted me an iPod for about $75 when they were selling used for $250.

Re:Hasty Disposal (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#33448720)

Damn, my new laptop spends 99% of its time plugged in and charged up...I'd take the battery out, but the power's pretty unreliable in most places where I use it.

My N900's battery on the other hand gets run down to 30% or lower charge every day. It'll be interesting to see which one goes first.

Re:Hasty Disposal (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33447978)

That's nice for you, but what my lady has is a Dell with a battery which conforms to SBS, and it refuses to charge even though it was still holding one when it stopped being willing to charge. It's a perfectly working battery absent the chip that tells it not to charge any more, but we're forced to get rid of it. (it had a power jack problem so it thought it was charged more times than it was.)

The assumption (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33446294)

The assumption is made that I would really care if I am driving a so called "green car" when in reality I don't.

Re:The assumption (2)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33446866)

The assumption is made that I would really care if I am driving a so called "green car" when in reality I don't.

I don't think they performed this study just for you, personally. So, I doubt that they are making such an assumption. Speaking of assumptions, do you usually presume that everything that anybody in the world does is for your benefit?

Great, so when cheap enough... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#33448604)

I am happy, now I just have to wait for the prices to go down and the charging stations to be built before getting one.

Other numbers (1)

zmaragdus (1686342) | more than 3 years ago | (#33459216)

I agree that electric-based transportation is a great deal more "green" than traditional ICE vehicles. However, I don't expect as great a movement toward the former whilst fuel prices remain so low. This is one of the key elements holding back the proliferation of electric vehicles: they cost more. Not only do they cost more upfront, but replacing a vehicle-sized battery pack is also quite expensive.

Another factor I would like to argue for is this: it saves more money, and is better to the environment, to upgrade your 10mpg gas guzzler to a modest 20mpg vehicle than to go from a 20mpg vehicle to a 33mpg fuel-sipper. I'd like to prove this mathematically:

Let the three aforementioned cars be Car A (10mpg), Car B (20mpg), and Car C (33mpg). Drive 100 miles in each. What is your fuel consumption? Answer: 10 gal for A, 5 for B, and 3 for C. By changing cars from A to B, you use half the fuel you did before, while "upgrading" from B to C only saves you 40%. The absolute changes also matter: a 5 gallon difference instead of a 2 gallon difference. An easier and more practical benefit (given the current state of affairs) to both the checkbook and the environment would be to first eliminate the extreme gas-guzzlers in favor of [simply] more efficient vehicles. (On top of that, driving habits affect milage. Simply not gunning it from the stoplight will save you a few mpg, as will coasting up to a red light instead of mashing the brakes a hundred feet in front of it.)

I will admit that the 33mpg cars do use less gas (duh!), and for those of you who are willing to pay the extra money to help the environment that much more, I applaud you; you are a more generous person than I. I doubt I've convinced many people to change anything, and I expect a few instances of "Over my dead body will I give up my Hummer H2. I'll run you over with it and go to jail first!" Well, that's okay. You have the freedom to do that. I can at least point out the difference and hope some positive effect will come from it.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...