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Polymer Gel Shows Promise For Smaller, Cheaper Batteries

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the also-in-naturally-sweetened-varieties dept.

Power 108

TENxOXR writes "The BBC News website is reporting that a team of researchers at the University of Leeds have developed a polymer jelly that could replace the volatile and hazardous liquid electrolyte currently used in most lithium batteries. They hope that their development leads to smaller, cheaper and safer gadgets."

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Patented shortly thereafter (3, Insightful)

Dan B. (20610) | about 3 years ago | (#37374046)

Like all battery tech, it will be patented and will not lead to much change... Although it's a nice thought.

Battery tech is far too distributed amongst far too many companies for anyone to develop "smaller, cheaper and safer" batteries that are any better than what we have.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 3 years ago | (#37374124)

Battery tech has been steadily improving over the last ten or twenty years though, most people don't see it because the changes are incremental and instead of putting the new higher capacity batteries into phones, they just half the size of the existing batteries.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (4, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 years ago | (#37374758)

When I was a kid, NiCad was the best rechargeable batteries you'd typically find. They suffered from the memory effect, and maxed out at about 150 Wh/L (well, modern ones do anyhow, according to wikipedia). Nowadays, Panasonic makes a 18650 lithium ion cell that does 620, and they expect to push that to 800 by 2013. A rather hefty improvement!

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (3, Insightful)

Ofloo (1378781) | about 3 years ago | (#37374128)

I assume lithium battery was licensed as well, yet we use it, if there is need for it it will be used. If Iphone can be thinner because of it i doubt that apple will let a patent get in the way of their new design, .. the world is craving for better batteries if they are worth the change, .. you will see the change.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (-1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 3 years ago | (#37374428)

The oil companies develop or buy all the real energy-storage patents and sit on 'em. Do you feel good about developing energy technology? Then feel goood while I shit on your face.

Now that my shit is in your mouth, pick the corn kernels out of that with your teeth. Smile when you get those and treat 'em like gold.

Because that's what you are when you are dependent on a corporation's energy. A fish with a mouthful of feces showing off a half-digested corn kernel and convincing others its gold. And your water and power rates now just ballooned 20% for no reason.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37374508)

Now that you've swallowed an oil company executive's executive shit, corn and all.. know this ..better batteries are welcome by oil companies you idiot --> the longer your device can run without plugging in .. the more you will charge it up (oil companies get paid since most power plants use oil) and the more devices you buy (oil companies get paid since goods are produced by factories that consume energy and transported using trucks/ship sthat wun on oil). They may want to suppress energy production technology (which is also halfway ridiculous considering they can buy the patent while selling the energy production method and charging a lot more than what they get for oil).

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 3 years ago | (#37375062)

I assume lithium battery was licensed as well, yet we use it, if there is need for it it will be used. If Iphone can be thinner because of it i doubt that apple will let a patent get in the way of their new design, .. the world is craving for better batteries if they are worth the change, .. you will see the change.

Apple will probably make one with rounded corners and re-patent it.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#37378216)

I assume lithium battery was licensed as well, yet we use it, if there is need for it it will be used. If Iphone can be thinner because of it i doubt that apple will let a patent get in the way of their new design, .. the world is craving for better batteries if they are worth the change, .. you will see the change.

Apple will probably make one with rounded corners and re-patent it.

No, that only works for Copyright. To patent it, they will have to put it in a mobile device.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37374222)

Like all battery tech, it will be patented and will not lead to much change... Although it's a nice thought.

Not necessarily true, really. It's a university, and they're usually pretty good about licensing their patents out.

Battery tech is far too distributed amongst far too many companies for anyone to develop "smaller, cheaper and safer" batteries that are any better than what we have.

And that's just factually wrong, considering that we've seen steady, if slow, progress of battery capacity over the past decade. 18650 Li-ion cells (the ones used in almost all laptop batteries) have fully doubled in capacity. Yeah, 4 out of 5 "breakthroughs" don't really go anywhere, and the fifth takes a couple years from slashdot/press release to shipping product, but there's still real progress.

There's no miracles, but there's every reason to suppose batteries will be at least 50% higher energy density over the next decade.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 3 years ago | (#37381736)

At this point though, I don't want batteries to be smaller and lighter as much as I want them to improve in long-term reliability. Seriously, it seems like a laptop battery only goes a few months before it won't carry enough charge for it to be useful.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37374416)

That was my thought. Battery technology hasn't improved much at all over the course of my life. I hear of these amazing breakthroughs in energy storage every year, and yet we're still using the same old crap we were decades ago.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37374658)

You should dig through your old stuff and see if you can find an old RC-car from the 80's or some other device that has old batteries in them.
Have a look at the marked battery capacity.
Now compare that value to current batteries.

When I replaced the RTC battery of my NMS-8250 a few month ago I tried to find a battery of the equivalent capacity.
The closest thing I found had 6.5 times more capacity.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#37374750)

Battery technology hasn't improved much at all over the course of my life.

Then you must be about three years old. AA rechargeables I bought a decade ago were rated at 650mAh and had a memory effect that quickly built up if you didn't fully discharge them. Now, for about the same price, I can get 1800mAh ones, with a barely noticeable memory effect.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 3 years ago | (#37374946)

and for a bit more you can get 2400mAh AA that last for a while.

I spent $10 on a set of 4 AA and they lasted 10 times as long as regular AA's for my given usage.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#37374992)

And that's just within a single batter technology. The old and new AAs in my example are both NiMH cells, just with improvements. In my lifetime, LiIon and LiPoly have gone from nonexistent to ubiquitous. LiS is just stating to appear, although the very low number of recharge cycles means that it's currently limited to military applications (30 recharge cycles for a UAV is a lot - it will probably be shot down before the limit is reached). LiIon cells now last for about ten times as many recharge cycles as they did five years ago, so hopefully LiS will see some improvement over the next few years.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (1)

backslashdot (95548) | about 3 years ago | (#37374496)

How does this make any sense? Patented and shelved? Why? Let me guess the established battery monopoly wouldn't want to allow this out right?

Umm why oesnt the established battery monopoly just buy out the patent and produce the battery? The better batteries we have the more electronics will be sold. And they can charge a higher price .. wouldnt you pay extra for more battery life?

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37374884)

Sigh... and go to the expense of retooling all of the factories that are currently producing last-gen tech.

To make my case: High-res LCD monitors have been available and able to be cheaply manufactured for over 20 years, they've been in use for critical applications for almost 40 years. The patent had to run out on the base tech before anyone could produce them, and a some of the "advances" in LCD tech are actually patents running out on shit that was figured out in the 80s/90s.

This was all due to a collective agreement to sit on some patents by the companies that had then invested millions and millions of dollars in CRTs and CRT factories. Even afterwards when LCDs started being brought to the consumer market some companies that weren't "in the know" (IIRC Phillips) ended up producing mass quantities of CRTs and selling them at bargain basement prices just to attempt to recoup as much of the factory cost as possible for recently built factories before retooling the whole damn thing.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (2)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37375930)

There's also the problem that these businesses in question were unable to build cheap, near flawless LCD screens over that time period. I'd put that issue ahead of the patent thing.

It's oil companies (1)

subreality (157447) | about 3 years ago | (#37378614)

When oil companies talk about how they're "investing in green technology", it's usually in the form of buying up patents to make sure that electric vehicles don't become too practical.

In the case of NiMH, which is very robust and economical, it's courtesy of Chevron. Thus electric vehicles currently have to use Li-ion, which has very good energy density, but they're considerably more expensive. It works OK for the small packs in hybrids, but long-range pure electrics will need NiMH to be practical.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_encumbrance_of_large_automotive_NiMH_batteries [wikipedia.org]

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 3 years ago | (#37374998)

I am not following you.
1. The patent doesn't stop it from being implemented. It just means for a company that wants to use the technology will need to make an agreement with the patent owner.

2. Battery technology has been improving. But not by Moors law speed. So compared to computer development batter development seem lagging. But it is progressing. And I would expect it to catch up at the point we reach the limit of Moors law.

3. My first cellphone back in the late 90s had a battery was about the size and weight of an iPhone folded in half. It lasted about as long as the iPhone, but it had a 64x64 resolution monochrome non-backlighted LCD screen. No texting just a phone it's biggest app was storing telephone numbers. No where near the power hog of the iPhone. With a small battery that performs well enough and long enough to have it integrated right in the device.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37378584)

> The patent doesn't stop it from being implemented. It just means for a company that wants to use the technology will need to make an agreement with the patent owner.

I believe the earlier poster is referring to not-so-long-ago (possibly still today?) issues where, yes, the patent outright blocked implementation, because some companies *refused* to license. If I remember some exact examples right, one such case was in the batteries for handheld power tools, and the company refused to license it for vehicles.

> Battery technology has been improving. But not by Moors law speed. So compared to computer development batter development seem lagging. But it is progressing. And I would expect it to catch up at the point we reach the limit of Moors law.

Yes, it's improving by a few percent per year. "Moore", though, not "Moor". And no, chemical batteries actually have known maximum limits, so they're not going to pass computers unless computers hit a wall very soon.

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37375926)

Yes, of course. It's not that we've reached limits in what's possible with chemicals and manufacturing. No, instead it's a vast conspiracy of people who don't want you to have RC helicopters. Just like when we discovered oil, remember? The coal lobby never allowed oil to be used, it was reserved for the rich!

Re:Patented shortly thereafter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37376522)

The real question is can you fly with the new batteries. Or will the TSA have a problem.

Of all the sci-phi movies to come true... (0)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 years ago | (#37374050)

why does it have to be Demolition Man? I [b]HATE[/b] Taco Bell.

Re:Of all the sci-phi movies to come true... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37374194)

What have Pizza Hut ever done to you?

Re:Of all the sci-phi movies to come true... (2, Funny)

Mikkeles (698461) | about 3 years ago | (#37375110)

Pizza's fine; it's his brother Jabba about whom I worry!

Re:Of all the sci-phi movies to come true... (0)

c0mpliant (1516433) | about 3 years ago | (#37375296)

I tip my hat sir, that made me laugh and share the joke with people in work!

Re:Of all the sci-phi movies to come true... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37374204)

Thanks for reminding me I had Taco Bell in my laptop bag. I was STARVING.

Re:Of all the sci-phi movies to come true... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37374314)

I thought Demolition Man's "Schwarzenegger Presidential Library" was hilarious until Arnie became Governator. And then I remembered that in 1965, Tom Lehrer nearly predicted the Reagan presidency in the opening to his song "George Murphy". I weep for humanity.

Re:Of all the sci-phi movies to come true... (0)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#37374776)

And then I remembered that in 1965, Tom Lehrer nearly predicted the Reagan presidency in the opening to his song "George Murphy"

No he didn't. Reagan was campaigning to become Governor of California when Tom Lehrer wrote the song. The opening line is a reference to that.

Re:Of all the sci-phi movies to come true... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37375988)

I weep for humanity.

I don't see why. I personally prefer politicians who have considerable life experience outside of the political arena. Being a decent actor and a very successful businessman is a positive factor in my view.

Re:Of all the sci-phi movies to come true... (1)

Brannoncyll (894648) | about 3 years ago | (#37376530)

Yeah, it means they have lots of friends in high places they can leverage in the political arena in order to line their own pockets.

And it was still funny (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 years ago | (#37377378)

Back when the movie came out, Arnie was already known as Conan the Republican - he got the nickname from GHWBush when he was campaigning for him, and he was already married to Maria Shriver, a well-known Democrat. After he was Governator for a few years, it was obvious that he wasn't going to be able to fix California's problems either, but he stayed popular until the illegitimate kid news got out. (And until then, people were still occasionally talking about the "Schwarzenegger Amendment" at least half-seriously.)

And that Taco Bell is in El Segundo, just south of LAX airport. I never got to it when I was working down there, probably should next time I'm in LA. (Of course it doesn't look like the classic Taco Bell design, which is made of painted brick - here in Northern California there are a few of those still around, no longer as Taco Bells - some of them even have real Mexican restaurants in them now.)

Re:And it was still funny (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 3 years ago | (#37380126)

The info about his illegitimate kid came out around May 17th:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/05/17/report-schwarzenegger-fathered-child-household-employee/ [foxnews.com]
(argh, the fox news page was a citation from wikipedia)

In March, he had hit the same low level of approval (23 percent) as Gray Davis, the governor who was recalled, which caused the recall election to happen, which Schwarzenegger won:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/21/schwarzenegger-approval-r_n_507703.html [huffingtonpost.com]

Also, simply searching for Schwarzenneger approval pages, there are others before that repeatedly talking about his approval rating sinking.

lots of information (0, Offtopic)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#37374122)

Broken link starting "htthttp" to radio programme: check.

No link to original university publication: check.

Three jeers for the pro-government, fact-loose, post-Hutton BBC!

I have never had a LI-xx battery blow up (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37374146)

yes there are horror stories out there on a select few products, but come on, how many times has your phone burst into flames, or your PSP go off like an M-80?

Honestly in this point in time unless a design is minimal in the first place and the chi-co's remove the wrong "unneeded parts" you really have to be abusing the battery to get your self into a pickle.

Re:I have never had a LI-xx battery blow up (2)

gomiam (587421) | about 3 years ago | (#37374464)

Usually they won't burst into flames more than once each time, as you will probably need a new one after ;)

Not new, my car already have them (3, Informative)

spectro (80839) | about 3 years ago | (#37374210)

My Hyundai Sonata Hybrid uses Lithium Polymer batteries that according to this article [gm-volt.com] already implement this technology.

Lithium polymer technology uses a completely different approach. Rather than using a liquid electrolyte, which requires a robust metal casing, lithium polymer batteries use a polymer gel as the electrolyte

Re:Not new, my car already have them (2)

MemoryDragon (544441) | about 3 years ago | (#37374256)

Also pretty much all apple devices use li polymer batteries.

Re:Not new, my car already have them (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37374274)

You should try reading the article, your car and apple laptops use a solid polymer technology where as this is a polymer jelly

Re:Not new, my car already have them (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37374322)

one could argue these batteries wont last as long cause the liquid will migrate or dry out even if sealed due to thermal stresses.

no this will not effect most users

Re:Not new, my car already have them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37374636)

This will not effect any users at all. As for affecting them, we'll see the news on slashdot.

Re:Not new, my car already have them (1)

need4mospd (1146215) | about 3 years ago | (#37376006)

This will not effect any users at all. As for affecting them, we'll see the news on slashdot.

...6 months after it actually happens.

Try Google. (2)

HaeMaker (221642) | about 3 years ago | (#37374292)

Different polymer. The Li-ion Polymers used today are the "solid" batteries the article refers to (as opposed to Liquid Li-ion). A quick Google search would have answered that for you.

Re:Try Google. (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | about 3 years ago | (#37378000)

Except parent didn't ask a question. The least you could infer from parent's post is that the summary isn't very clear on how this technology is new. Polymer gel vs. polymer jelly? If the difference is that one is somehow more liquid and the other is more solid, then that should be explained. There is no need for snide remarks about Google. We all know how to use it but the point is that it shouldn't have to be used for every article just because the submitter can't write a decent summary. /rant

FTFA :(Re:Not new, my car already have them) (2)

introcept (1381101) | about 3 years ago | (#37375008)

My Hyundai Sonata Hybrid uses Lithium Polymer batteries that according to this article [gm-volt.com] already implement this technology.

It's a completely different technology.
FTA:

The Leeds-based researchers are promising that their jelly batteries are as safe as polymer batteries, perform like liquid-filled batteries, but are 10 to 20% the price of either.

A five to tenfold reduction in the price of batteries sounds pretty significant.

Re:FTFA :(Re:Not new, my car already have them) (1)

mdielmann (514750) | about 3 years ago | (#37379650)

A five to tenfold reduction in the price of batteries sounds pretty significant.

What this means is that one or two companies will sell the batteries for 5 to 10% less (no others will because of the patent restrictions, and the exclusivity agreements of the aforementioned one or two companies), and make a handsome profit. The other likely result is that no one will use it because the royalties the patent holder is asking for are ridiculously high.

Re:Not new, my car already have them (0)

introcept (1381101) | about 3 years ago | (#37375026)

My Hyundai Sonata Hybrid uses Lithium Polymer batteries that according to this article [gm-volt.com] already implement this technology.

It's a completely different technology.

FTA:

The Leeds-based researchers are promising that their jelly batteries are as safe as polymer batteries, perform like liquid-filled batteries, but are 10 to 20% the price of either.

A five to tenfold reduction in the price of batteries sounds pretty significant.

Re:Not new, my car already have them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37375672)

The Leeds-based researchers are promising that their jelly batteries are as safe as polymer batteries, perform like liquid-filled batteries, but are 10 to 20% the price of either.

Sounds like it's different.

Re:Not new, my car already have them (1)

ookabooka (731013) | about 3 years ago | (#37375888)

Model airplanes use LiPO batteries, Lithium Polymer. There must be something I missed in the article here. LiPOs have been around for a while. Just check the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_polymer_battery [wikipedia.org]

Battery vrs capacitor (2)

Commontwist (2452418) | about 3 years ago | (#37374282)

I remember hearing about a new capacitor technology that used nanoparticles to allow far more power storage and almost instant recharge rates. Better/worse?

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7990679.html [freepatentsonline.com]

Re:Battery vrs capacitor (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37374366)

its just a patent, it might as well be promising to produce gold out of a turd

maybe in 15 years some lucky company can be sued and our technology will continue to stagnate

Re:Battery vrs capacitor (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 3 years ago | (#37374726)

it might as well be promising to produce gold out of a turd

I think the bankers have a monopoly of that technology (or maybe it is producing turds from gold?)

Re:Battery vrs capacitor (1)

CubicleView (910143) | about 3 years ago | (#37374424)

From what I understand, all the promises of capacity with those things were fairy tales, all they really offer is power and rapid charge rates.

Re:Battery vrs capacitor (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 3 years ago | (#37374484)

Let me guess, it uses carbon nanotubes or graphene.

It is something of a cognitive dissonance between the coolness of tech we could have with nanotubes, and the sadness about how freaking hard they are to mass produce.

Re:Battery vrs capacitor (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37376030)

It is something of a cognitive dissonance between the coolness of tech we could have with nanotubes, and the sadness about how freaking hard they are to mass produce.

It's only the traditional "cognitive dissonance" between what we want and reality. There are a variety of ways to cope with this problem. Most don't require treating it as a mental issue.

Re:Battery vrs capacitor (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 3 years ago | (#37376984)

Bingo!

I remember the old adage of "When something seems too good to be true......"

Re:Battery vrs capacitor (1)

dkf (304284) | about 3 years ago | (#37375642)

I remember hearing about a new capacitor technology that used nanoparticles to allow far more power storage and almost instant recharge rates. Better/worse?

Different purpose. Capacitors (energy stored in electrical potential) are typically used in combination with batteries (energy stored in chemicals); the caps can deal with rapid changes in demand much better, but batteries tend to have much higher overall energy densities and lower leakage currents.

Re:Battery vrs capacitor (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | about 3 years ago | (#37377506)

Capacitors have low energy density but very high rate capability. Batteries have much higher energy densities but lower rate capability. The two technologies serve different purposes, but can also complement each other.

This does not *replace* the liquid electrolyte (2)

Jack Malmostoso (899729) | about 3 years ago | (#37374418)

Unfortunately, this invention does not replace the liquid electrolyte. The "jelly" is a polymer soaked in the liquid electrolyte, which definitely is immobilized (thus protecting against leaks) but it's probably not fireproof (I could not find a reference to a research article).
Despite this, it is a step in the right direction: dry polymer electrolytes are a good solution, but nowadays they have a low conductivity (about 100 times lower than the liquid). The solution to this is to run the batteries at higher temperatures (about 80C), but this promotes the fading of the capacity.
The real solution to the flammability of batteries will come with ceramic solid electrolytes, which are now in their early stages but should become practical in a few years.

Re:This does not *replace* the liquid electrolyte (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37375608)

Unfortunately, this invention does not replace the liquid electrolyte. The "jelly" is a polymer soaked in the liquid electrolyte, which definitely is immobilized (thus protecting against leaks) but it's probably not fireproof (I could not find a reference to a research article).

Very much like how a "gel cell" lead acid battery still contains H2SO4 it just won't pour out as fast if the case cracks.

I have accidentally cracked gel cells in old UPSes, etc. Its just as corrosive as plain battery acid, it merely doesn't pour out as fast.

Re:This does not *replace* the liquid electrolyte (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37379156)

but it sticks around and it's like that smear of melted chocolate you get on your hands if you touch a candy bar. You try to wipe it off with the other hand and then you suddenly have two hands smeared with melted chocolate. Then you wipe it off on your pants and have chocolate smeared all over your hands and legs. Which is far more desirable than being smeared with acidic gel.

You are wrong! (0)

ebonum (830686) | about 3 years ago | (#37374436)

Battery powered cars are 100% clean!!! Zero emissions. Zero pollution.

Re:You are wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37374542)

the electricity used to charge those batteries is not 100% clean, although this varies a lot with location.

Re:You are wrong! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#37374594)

Hey, the electricity I use is always 100% clean. It's pure electrons, uncontaminated with any other charge carrier. :-)

Re:You are wrong! (1)

siddesu (698447) | about 3 years ago | (#37374642)

You don't use batteries? I envy you.

Re:You are wrong! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#37374736)

I don't use batteries to charge batteries, yes. :-)
(Note that I answered to an AC; maybe you've seen my post reparented)

Re:You are wrong! (1)

siddesu (698447) | about 3 years ago | (#37375530)

Hehe, yeah, it appears so.

Re:You are wrong! (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 years ago | (#37377444)

My batteries are even cleaner! They use positive current, so they power equipment by transmitting holes!

Re:You are wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37375138)

I assume you're being ironic.

Re:You are wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37375394)

Well, that was ignorant.

In order to charge those batteries, you're either running an ICE connected to a generator or plugged into a wall which is supplying power that is probably generated by burning coal.

Your pithy little statement also fails to address another interesting problem: How much more pollutive is the manufacturing process of hybrid or all electric vehicles compared to single drive train ICE driven vehicles.

Sheesh...

Re:You are wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37375886)

Battery powered cars are 100% clean!!! Zero emissions. Zero pollution.

So where do you think their energy comes from? The ambient air? Nope, it's that dirty coal plant you can't see from your house.

Re:You are wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37376670)

Now if I could just get the fairies to charge my batteries...

Re:You are wrong! (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 3 years ago | (#37376946)

Uh, huh. Sure they are.

The metals and chemicals for batteries come from the Land of the Mystical, where they magically appear and disappear with no loss or pollution. They require no energy to recycle or dispose of expended chem or metals. They require zero energy to charge; it just magically appears and comes from the Land of the Magic.

Sure, when wonderful things that are harmless and good for the environment appear, there's no reason to double-check the manufacturing processes or R&D. Wonderful is just wonderful with no reason to worry or think at all.

/snark

Re:You are wrong! (1)

ebonum (830686) | about 3 years ago | (#37381666)

irony.

if building a hybrid vehicle involves getting the rare earth metals from china where chinese children get cancer and die, it is zero emissions as long as we don't see it.

mining the rare earth metals used in electronics is a particularly dirty pursuit.

Oh, a battery article again (0)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 3 years ago | (#37374440)

There are often articles about batteries getting so much better on ./.

I'm sceptical though, since batteries just aren't getting any better in real life, I don't know what it is, but despite everyone's more and more dependence on handheld devices, batteries just keep underperforming.

Re:Oh, a battery article again (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#37374566)

That's down to the marketing department. Batteries have got a lot better but the marketers decided you want smaller gadgets and/or bigger screens, not longer battery life.

Re:Oh, a battery article again (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#37374782)

I'm sceptical though, since batteries just aren't getting any better in real life

Lots of people keep saying this. I wonder if any of you have ever used a battery.

Re:Oh, a battery article again (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 3 years ago | (#37375194)

Yes I have. And I've had to recharge them often too.

Re:Oh, a battery article again (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#37378320)

Yes I have. And I've had to recharge them often too.

Quit shorting the terminals with your tongue. The battery and your brain will last longer.

Re:Oh, a battery article again (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37375254)

Yes they all are using crap rechargeable Li-ions from 10 years ago.

I bought a new set this past week and they last massively longer than the ones that are only 2 years old and have less than 20 cycles on them.
The problem is that 99% of all people are ignorant to the proper care of a Li-Ion battery. leaving it dead = destruction. keeping it charged = longer life. I can drain completely a brand new battery and destroy it quickly by leaving it discharged for a month.

Re:Oh, a battery article again (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#37378420)

I can drain completely a brand new battery and destroy it quickly by leaving it discharged for a month.

This is one of the really annoying things about current tech. Nearly everything is made with a custom cell to maximize battery capacity. So if you have something battery powered that you don't use frequently, you have to plug the stupid thing in (along with dozens of other similar stupid little things) or deal with prematurely dead batteries. This leads to a rat's nest of little wall warts, tiny almost-but-not-quite-standard USB plugs and cables and cheap little plastic battery holders with 90 watt blue LEDs.

In the previous age, when Dinosaurs such as myself ruled the earth, everything was centered around the ubiquitous AA battery. A couple of smart chargers, a couple of extra cells and life was good. Even if George Bush was president.

No, not so much. You may disperse from my landscaping now. Thank you.

Do not want (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | about 3 years ago | (#37374472)

If I am going to get mad and throw my TV remote or Xbox controller at the wall, they won't go very far if the batteries aren't adding a decent bit of weight.

I dont want smaller.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37375250)

I want 2X capacity in the same size. I want what I had with my RAZR phone back in 1999, charge it once a week. unlike the iphone that must be charged daily.
I want AA batteries that will last a year in Xbox360 controllers between chargings.

The problem is that much electrical potential will NOT get rid of the "risk". if you short a high capacity battery no matter what it is made of, it will get really hot. they are not going to eliminate the burning battery syndrome. Better QC does that.

Re:I dont want smaller.... (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37375680)

The problem is that much electrical potential will NOT get rid of the "risk". if you short a high capacity battery no matter what it is made of, it will get really hot. they are not going to eliminate the burning battery syndrome. Better QC does that.

Internal resistance depends on the combination of battery chemistry and manufacturing technology. If you don't believe me, try shorting out comparable voltage / capacity ancient carbon zinc AA (good luck getting over a couple hundred mA, ask the model rocket guys from the 80s) vs a brand new Nicad (easily dump 50 amps, at least for a very short while, ask the RC car guys about melting connectors).

There is no inherent chemical or physical reason why you couldn't design/build a high internal resistance and high capacity lithium battery. There are inherent engineering/mechanical/manufacturing/economic reasons why you can not. Think about the electrodes being so thin they practically have to be vapor deposited like a telescope mirror, and then how do you make them structurally stable without wasting most of your weight and volume (and capacity) on structure? If you could build them in orbit, and guarantee to never experience more than a zillionth of a G of acceleration, and guarantee they'd never be moved or touched...

Re:I dont want smaller.... (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 years ago | (#37376010)

I want what I had with my RAZR phone back in 1999, charge it once a week.

No, you don't. If you wanted that you'd have it. You apparently want a large, high resolution screen which is readable in direct sunlight and while can play full motion video. No battery technology we have even dreamed of is going to give you a week with that screen. Getting OLED's or LED backlit LCD's low enough in price will help some, but they still will only get you maybe 2 days of runtime. I'm not sure if the iphone gives you the kind of stats that the Android platform does but 85-92% of my battery use is powering the screen.

Re:I dont want smaller.... (1)

fnj (64210) | about 3 years ago | (#37376726)

Which is why I still use my old Sanyo SCP-5150 with the high capacity battery. You're pretty much guaranteed 7 days and up to 14 days if you don't talk like a broken Charlie McCarthy record. No GPS crap. No messaging crap. No internet crap. It's a PHONE, dammit.

Re:I dont want smaller.... (2)

afidel (530433) | about 3 years ago | (#37376834)

That's cool, mine is a phone, a pager, a datebook, an email appliance, a mobile terminal, a podcast reader, and an entertainment device (including functioning as a really advanced remote for my HTPC). I use the phone portion maybe 100-200 minutes a month, the rest of the device I use that much a day.

dude (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37375620)

They jelly!!!!

Fri5t psot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37375730)

ban arduo0s [goat.cx]

Do Slashdot readers buy electric cars? (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | about 3 years ago | (#37375962)

A lot of the comments in this thread touch on the application of these batteries for electric cars. I'm curious, do most of you consider gas mileage when considering your next car? Are you thinking of going hybrid electric to get that gas mileage? My current gasoline car is 10 years old and I've started considering a replacement. I want significantly better mileage but I need the same size or slightly larger car because I have had my 3rd kid in those ten years. I also don't want any of my kids to feel like they need to join the military and invade the Middle East to keep my gas tank full.

If you think like me, then which car are you thinking of buying next?

Re:Do Slashdot readers buy electric cars? (1)

director_mr (1144369) | about 3 years ago | (#37377628)

I like the Mazda 5 minivan. Its not the most fuel efficient, and definitely not the most powerful minvan. But you can squeeze 7 people in it, and it gets 22/28 EPA mileage, which isn't bad for what you can haul around in it. There are higher mileage vehicles that haul around only 5 people, but you can fit 5 people and their stuff in the Mazda 5, or haul up to 7 (take 2 friends or grandparents or whatever along with the fam). There isn't a hybrid vehicle that can beat it for what it does at that mileage and price.

Re:Do Slashdot readers buy electric cars? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 3 years ago | (#37377722)

I also don't want any of my kids to feel like they need to join the military and invade the Middle East to keep my gas tank full.

Maybe you should educate them better, instead of letting them get pumped full of that "no-blood-for-oil!" propaganda? Maybe you can teach them about Canada.

Re:Do Slashdot readers buy electric cars? (1)

Chuckles08 (1277062) | about 3 years ago | (#37378582)

It wouldn't be nice to invade Canada either.

Re:Do Slashdot readers buy electric cars? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 3 years ago | (#37379814)

It wouldn't be nice to invade Canada either.

Just try it, ya hozers ;)

Re:Do Slashdot readers buy electric cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37377878)

Just keep your current vehicle, or buy a used Tahoe / Suburban or minivan. Sales tax alone on a new car buys a LOT of gas for an old car.
I don't drive a lot of miles in a year, so MPG doesn't matter much.

You didn't specify your driving conditions, any they determine whether a hybrid or diesel or regular gas vehicle could be the best choice.
10k annual urban miles without snow? get an electric or hybrid
20k freeway miles? get gas
40k freeway miles or towing a 12000lb trailer? get diesel

Re:Do Slashdot readers buy electric cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37378184)

If you expand the question to electric vehicles, I have an eZee Forza that is fine for my regular commute (9 miles) with a stock 37V 10 AH Li polymer battery.

Extending the range doesn't really help me since if I go 60 miles to a job, it would take me 3 hours even at top speed.

To go that kind of distance at highway speeds I estimate I would need a motorcycle with a battery pack of about 10 KWh, which is as far as I know beyond what will fit with current technology, although the Z Electric Vehicle Trail 7100 is as close as anything else that I've read about.

Re:Do Slashdot readers buy electric cars? (1)

Chuckles08 (1277062) | about 3 years ago | (#37378536)

I'm still waiting for an acceptable electric car option, but in the meantime, I've order a CurrenMotor C124 electric scooter for my commute. I'll be posting about my experiences on visforvoltage.org when I get it (hopefully about 7 weeks).

Advice from the lab (1)

CDS (143158) | about 3 years ago | (#37376190)

here's some advice the lab boys gave me: "Do not get covered in the Polymer Gel." We haven't entirely nailed down what element it is yet, but I'll tell you this: It's a lively one, and it does not like the human skeleton.

Manhattan-style project (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 3 years ago | (#37376974)

IMHO, there should be a Manhattan Project/X-prize scale battery development project. All of this green energy generation is intermittent. It's useless without a way to store excess energy. Same goes for the forthcoming smart-meter based energy billing. Without a way to harvest energy in the middle of the night when it's cheaper, the cost of energy to the consumer is just going to go up. I want a box the size of a refrigerator that can power my entire home including heating and cooling for at least 24 hours and that wouldn't cost more than a few thousand dollars. Replacement time needs to be long enough after to more than pay for itself which is what's wrong with hybrid vehicles. Once people see what it costs to replace the pack in their car they say screw it I'll just run on gas.

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