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Israeli Firm Makes Kilomile Claims For Electric Car Battery Tech

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the proclaimers-need-to-up-their-game-a-bit dept.

Transportation 247

cylonlover writes with this tantalizing excerpt from GizMag "Israel-based company Phinergy claims to have developed metal-air battery technology that promises to end the range anxiety associated with electric vehicles. The company's battery currently consists of 50 aluminum plates, each providing energy for around 20 miles (32 km) of driving. This adds up to a total potential range of 1,000 miles (1,609 km), with stops required only every couple of hundred miles to refill the system with water."

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batteries are not rechargable (4, Interesting)

mrvan (973822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43356895)

From TFA (I know, but there were no comments yet ;-):

The company says the aluminum plate anodes in its aluminum-air battery have an energy density of 8 kWh/kg, but the batteries are not rechargeable. Once the energy is expended, the plates, which add up to around 55 pounds (25 kg) per battery, need to be replaced. However, the company points out that aluminum is easily recyclable and that swapping the battery out for a fresh one is quicker than recharging.

That makes it a lot less appealing, I would say...

Re:batteries are not rechargable (4, Interesting)

santax (1541065) | about a year and a half ago | (#43356919)

It will depend on the price. If I can get a new battery like I would get a new gas-container for my cooking needs, no problemo. Just as long as it's at a reasonable price.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (5, Interesting)

rlwhite (219604) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357235)

The article says the battery contains 55 lb of aluminum. The price of aluminum currently fluctuates in the general vicinity of $1 per lb, so we're talking at least $50 in raw materials. Add in other materials, manufacturing costs, and profit, and I'm going to guess a $100 battery is not out of the question. Maybe $75 if we're lucky. That sounds high as a gas replacement initially, but if it truly gets 1,000 miles on the aluminum battery and we compare it to a gas-sipping car (we'll say 50mpg), the gas at $3.50/gal would cost $70 for 1,000 miles. When you consider how few cars in the US get that good of mileage and the ever-climbing price of gas, we are probably somewhere close to a break-even point economically.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357365)

Add in the option of drive-thru refill stations where you part-exchange your battery for a fully charged one and it becomes very interesting.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (2)

rlwhite (219604) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357477)

Yes, I didn't think to mention that recyclers are buying aluminum around $0.50/lb.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (2)

kencurry (471519) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357629)

I just skimmed TFA, but I didn't see any details of the electrochemistry. So this is only a guess, but I think the Al gets turned over to Al2O3, which provides the current to run the motor. If that is true, than you can't just recycle the spent mass, you have to convert it back to a metal, then you can recycle it. Doable, but not cheap.

SI vs. US customary? (2)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357673)

I love the units used in the summary title. Kilomile? A better statement would be Megameter.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (4, Insightful)

jabuzz (182671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357839)

Except these batteries generate electricity by turning aluminium into aluminium oxide. Admittedly it will be nice pure oxide that can go straight back to the electrolytic smelter to be turned back into aluminium. However it cannot be just melted back into aluminium and is more like $300 per tonne.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357383)

The old battery will definitely have good recycling value - so you may discount part of the cost of materials there, as you're normally swapping them out. Just like with a gas cylinder for cooking gas (you only once pay a deposit for the cylinder, after that for the gas only).

What you did not add though, is the cost of the energy that is stored in those batteries. The energy those batteries provide comes from somewhere, and is certainly not free.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (3, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357585)

What you did not add though, is the cost of the energy that is stored in those batteries.

He did: the price of bulk refined aluminium includes the energy cost of the electricity used to refine it.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357493)

Don't forget transport costs. Fuel has to be transported to your local gasstation and it has to carried along in the car itself.

Gasoline weighs roughly 6 lb/gallon (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_does_a_gallon_of_gasoline_weigh).
An average car drives 20 miles/gallon (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_average_gas_mileage_of_the_average_car)
So gasoline weighs some 0.3 lb/mile.

These batteries weigh 55 lb per 20 miles; 2.75 lb/mile; roughly 9 times more.

Also note that fuel is used up while driving, the batteries presumably aren't; on average you carry the weight of half a tank of gasoline, while you carry the full weight of the batteries while driving.
Nor does used fuel require recycling or transport cost from the gasstation.

Then there's the question of exactly how clean it is to recycle the aluminium (environment is pretty much the primary reason for fuel-cells).

Re:batteries are not rechargable (4, Informative)

Aardpig (622459) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357669)

Hang on a sec; the *battery* contains 55lb of Al, and the *battery* provides power for 1,000 miles. So, that translates to 0.055 lb/mile, which is significantly smaller than gasoline.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357741)

There are 50 plates, each of which provides 20 miles worth of energy. The 50 plates weight .5KG each, or a little over 1 pound. So you're talking about more like 1/20lb per mile, 0.05lb/mile. That's a lot better than the gasoline.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (2)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357849)

Gasoline weighs roughly 6 lb/gallon (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_does_a_gallon_of_gasoline_weigh).
An average car drives 20 miles/gallon (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_average_gas_mileage_of_the_average_car)
So gasoline weighs some 0.3 lb/mile.

These batteries weigh 55 lb per 20 miles; 2.75 lb/mile; roughly 9 times more.

Your comparison is flawed. You're measuring the weight of 1 gallon of fuel that goes 20 miles to the weight of 50 aluminum plates that weight 55 lbs combined that goes 1000 miles.

If you're going to compare lbs/mile, it would be 55lbs/1000miles or .055lb/mile. Divide the weight and miles by 50 if you are looking at only individual plates, but the answer is still the same.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357863)

So? You pay $100/$200 deposit on the battery and exchange it for a fully charged one for the cost of charging/recycling. The deposit will either be a one off or a reoccurring anual fee as opposed to $50 per tank of gas. Im guessing however forecourt storage of both full and empty batteries will likely be an issue, especially if it has to share space with the existing underground gas bunkers.....

Still, I havent RTFA so what do I know....

Re:batteries are not rechargable (5, Interesting)

Ksevio (865461) | about a year and a half ago | (#43356921)

That would be a big downside - however, they also say they can get it a 200 mile range using Lithium ion batteries which is respectable. It could be that this one time use battery is to quell the complaints of people who say "But what if I want to road trip 500 miles into the middle of no-where!"

Re:batteries are not rechargable (2)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357095)

I kind like that idea.

Have a rechargeable < 100 KM battery for short everyday commute to and from work, then the long range battery you could buy when planning a > 100 KM trip.

The challenge would be to make them cheap and easy to swap.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (1)

ameen.ross (2498000) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357251)

I wonder if that would be better than a tiny combustion engine and gas tank for long range, all things considered.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357415)

A nice radioisotopic generator to trickle-charge you on your way is the obvious solution!

(As a bonus, what asshole would be dumb enough to cut you off if you have several kilograms of plutonium onboard?)

Re:batteries are not rechargable (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357691)

The plutonium radioisotopic generator would need to produce 1.21 GW. Great Scott, it's the Libyans!

Re:batteries are not rechargable (3, Informative)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357457)

Putting some aluminum plates in a bucket of acid is a lot simpler than an internal combustion engine. No moving parts, no maintenance (even when you're not using it), no exhaust or emissions to regulate. People take gas engines for granted, but the honest truth is that they are ridiculously overcomplicated if all you want it to get from point A to point B. Electric motors win every time, so long as you can give them enough electrons.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (1)

bigtomrodney (993427) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357719)

No moving parts, no maintenance

Let's see you couple that battery directly to a wheel and see how far that gets you moving before you wish you had moving parts between them. I am looking forward to electric cars being more common but blind optimism doesn't help, the fact is you still need an electric motor and batteries have too small a charge, too short a life and too much environmental impact.

You still have maintenance on the electric motor, you still have a motor and you still have toxic emissions albeit they are now suspended until the battery replacement.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (2)

jabuzz (182671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357857)

The maintenance on an electric motor is a tiny tiny fraction of that on any internal combustion engine.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357767)

It could be that this one time use battery is to quell the complaints of people who say "But what if I want to road trip 500 miles into the middle of no-where!

Well, maybe, but now you're just substituting one kind of range anxiety for another. Now instead of worrying about getting stranded, people will be worried about having to replace an expensive aluminum-battery.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43356969)

Depending on how quickly you go through your plates, maybe.
But, if plate replacement stations were as common as gas stations are currently, I don't see much of a difference between replacing 55lb of aluminum with 60lb of hydrocarbon.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357011)

When I saw 'aluminum plates' and 'refill the water' I was fairly certain I'd seen this before. It's the same reaction as those "water-powered cars" distraction of some years ago. Depending on how you look at it, this is either a slow-burning of aluminum, or an awkward battery that can only be "recharged" by taking it back to the bauxite processing plant and hoping that the plates oxidized in the way that is cheapest to undo.

I'll pass.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357023)

It's moving solids instead of pumping liquids. Like coal. How is it less appealing !?
You'd be replacing a battery once a week (1,000 miles \ 1,609 km is more like once a month for me...) and it will take about the same time as a fueling. That makes it better and cheaper (we'll see about the aluminum recycling thing...) then pumping gas since we don't have fuel lines to gas stations.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357051)

That's ridiculous, given how energy-intensive it is to produce aluminum in the first place, and that if it was widely adopted you'd need a huge supply of ready-to-swap aluminum batteries. My suspicion: this isn't really a "battery", it's just recovering some of the substantial energy in the aluminum metal itself.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357279)

That's ridiculous, given how energy-intensive it is to produce aluminum in the first place, and that if it was widely adopted you'd need a huge supply of ready-to-swap aluminum batteries. My suspicion: this isn't really a "battery", it's just recovering some of the substantial energy in the aluminum metal itself.

That's what all batteries do, electrochemically recover, at a rate more or less matched to the application, the chemical potential energy of what they are filled with. Some are also capable of being driven in reverse, to restore them to their original state. Others depend on electrochemistry that isn't so neatly reversible within the confines of a conveniently sized battery, and have to be broken down for recycling. Aluminum is the latter, unless you are willing to pop an entire aluminum smelter into your battery bay.

Aluminum makes the point particularly obvious because the most cost-effective refining process is very similar indeed to driving an aluminum-air battery in reverse, so the amount of electricity going in is blatantly visible(unlike metals for which non-electrochemical refining processes are preferred).

Re:batteries are not rechargable (1)

Adriax (746043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357331)

Well if the metal is storing the energy, then that makes it an energy storage device doesn't it?

Or are AA alkalines not batteries in your view?

Re:batteries are not rechargable (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357637)

Among other things, if you move the electrical generating and consumption parts to large-scale nuclear and recycle the aluminum elsewhere, 'pollution' by the car is relocated where it is lessened or easier to manage. Choose some other form of electricity generation if you want, most are probably cleaner than an IC engine.

There is an opportunity here, but I'm suspicious of the recycling thing.

Wake me up when we have a couple other ideas for using relatively plentiful raw materials, and we can justify opening up old landfills to salvage them. I know, that is a hugely complex idea, but some day it may actually work. We may even get incinerators that work, ya never know about those crazy researchers...

Re:batteries are not rechargable (1)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357139)

If the batteries are easy to swap out, it would make "recharging" much faster compared to the Tesla's [slashdot.org] current approach that requires long waits. I don't think this is a major downside if the process can be optimized; it will just be different than the current way we think about refueling a vehicle.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357167)

So this is the generic aluminium energy storage conversion? We've seen model cars running on scraps of soda cans and whatnot before. Producing aluminium requires enormous amounts of electricity. I wonder what the actual cost per mile will be and how efficient this system will be compared to "classic" battery systems.

Re:batteries are not rechargable (1)

Big Nemo '60 (749108) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357793)

Well, aluminium is also known as "solid electricity", I guess this just gives the expression a new meaning...

I wonder how efficient would be the process of recycling the spent aluminium plates, compared with recharging a conventional battery of comparable power. We should also take logistic costs into account - that is a lot of mass to collect from service stations, recycle, and then redistribute to service stations. I guess you could use electric trucks for that. I also wonder how that would compare with the logistics of fossil fuels distribution.

Having to stop for adding water sounds odd, even if this is an experimental rig. Why not have a water tank and a pump? (OK that could get interesting in winter, I doubt you can add antifreeze to the water that goes into the battery...)

Energy density is what makes this interesting - after all, energy density is the Holy Grail of battery technology for electric cars. 8 kWh/kg are 28800 kJ/kg (if my math is right!), that really seems a lot - according to Wikipedia, energy density for Li-ion batteries is 460 kJ/kg - that is a 60 to 1 ratio! (I still think there is something wrong with my math!) Battery weight should also be taken into account when evaluating overall energy efficiency of such a system - after all, an electric car must also carry around the weight of the battery.

Besides that, this sounds fun. Refuelling would be similar to swapping batteries into a toy car, just much bigger.

Thats.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43356897)

a fuel cell, not a battery.

Re:Thats.. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357087)

a fuel cell, not a battery.

No, it's a battery, or at least other designs on the same principle are counted as such. 'Primary Cells' that depend on non-reversible(in the context of the battery, reactions are generally reversible under some conditions) electrochemical reactions, including ones that incorporate air to reduce battery weight are true batteries, and quite common. Zinc-air(just distract an old person for a second and yoink their hearing aid, should be one inside) are the ones you see most commonly. There are other potential elements beside zinc; but some have worse energy densities and others are rather trickier or more badly behaved(Despite its phenomenal energy density, I suspect that the Beryllium-Air cell won't be setting the world on fire anytime soon, and the Lithium-air cell will be doing so only in the literal sense, and not in the market-adoption sense).

Aluminum-air apparently has some obnoxious properties that make building good batteries tricky(Aluminum oxidizes quite readily; but aluminum oxide forms a very effective passivating layer. Good if you want structural aluminum to not crumble in minutes, less good if you want your battery to finish consuming its aluminum electrode...) There are various clever techniques being explored to work around these problems; but they generally mean more complex electrode structures, and thus more costly batteries, than just shoving plates of aluminum sheet stock into the electrolyte bath.

I have scam artist anxiety (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43356909)

Give me a break. What's the energy density being claimed here?

"The company says the aluminum plate anodes in its aluminum-air battery have an energy density of 8 kWh/kg, but the batteries are not rechargeable. Once the energy is expended, the plates, which add up to around 55 pounds (25 kg) per battery, need to be replaced. However, the company points out that aluminum is easily recyclable and that swapping the battery out for a fresh one is quicker than recharging."

Oh I see, so one anxiety is traded for another...

freepalestina (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43356927)

Boycot israeli products

Re:freepalestina (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357147)

Why was this modded down? If he had said the same thing about South Africa while Mandela was in prison, it would be pumped up to +5 immediately. Israel is an apartheid government, with a state religion! We should be boycotting them AND Saudi Arabia.. but such is the power of money...

Re:freepalestina (1, Insightful)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357261)

They treat people of different citizenship differently. Apartheid! They have the audacity to set up checkpoints at the border of their territory. Apartheid! My god. They built a wall. Apartheid! Never-mind the violence of the intifadas and the fact that the security measures have *worked*, it's "Apartheid!" This is nothing like SA, where there were laws in place discriminating against people on the basis of race. I see nothing wrong with treating people of different nationalities differently. Muslims who hold Israeli citizenship have *exactly* the same rights as Jews... in some cases even more considering they do not have to serve in the Military. Were this not the case, you might have a point, but it's not, and you don't. All you serve to do is insult the people who suffered under actual apartheid.

Re:freepalestina (3, Insightful)

losfromla (1294594) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357417)

omg! They have the audacity to destroy the economy of a group of people whose land they happen to be illegally occupying. Zomg! They have the audacity to decide they like any piece of land being farmed by a Palestinian and illegally raze the land and put up new condos for their "settlers". Zomg^2! They can roll up to any Palestinian occupied farm, park their mobile home, claim harassment and soon have a garrison of Israeli stormtroopers protecting "their" newly settled land. Not to mention the bombing of innocent women and children.

Re:freepalestina (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357571)

"different citizenship"... You're full of it. They are the indigenous people of the area and were violently displaced by radical zionists. Deported from their own land! So basically, fuck you!

Re:freepalestina (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357897)

There was a war. About 20 percent of the "palestinians" chose to stay and fight with the Jews. They, and their children, are still living in Israel. Those who voluntarily left were not allowed to return. Then there were two more wars, instigated by the Muslims, in which Israel gained land. I don't think land Israelis paid for their lives for in a defensive war should be returned.

Re:freepalestina (3, Informative)

a_mari_usque_ad_mare (1996182) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357745)

Clue time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bantustan [wikipedia.org]

  The South Africans claimed that blacks, coloured, Indians, etc., were not their citizens. They were in fact citizens of powerless, discontinuous territories that were basically controlled by South Africa. Since there was no work in these bantustans, the majority of their population commuted through South African checkpoints each day. They also claimed increasing amounts of territory for their own minority, ethnically defined population.

Also, Israeli's dominant, "centre right" party Likud claims that God wants Jewish Israelis to have all the territory for themselves (all of what was previously British Palestine). South African Boer culture included similar thoughts.

The parallels are not unreasonable.

Re:freepalestina (2)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357851)

Israelis do not hold that all Muslims or Arabs are not citizens. That is an important distinction which you miss, unintentionally or otherwise. There were no suicide bombers in SA either.

Re:freepalestina (1)

losfromla (1294594) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357355)

actually, such is the power of a group in controlling American media and thus the mindset of the average moron, mod gp up.

Unit of measure confusion (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43356933)

Kilomile? Yes, let's combine two units of measure arbitrarily.

Re: Unit of measure confusion (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43356961)

A kilo is not a unit, it is a prefix meaning 10^3. One kilomile = 1000 miles.

Re: Unit of measure confusion (5, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357265)

So you are also okay with a decipound, two kiloinches and three millifeet?

Re: Unit of measure confusion (1)

meza (414214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357587)

I'm not the original AC, but my short answer is: Yes. Maybe it's related to me being a european, and brought up on the "metric" system. But I don't think I would hesitate for a nanoyear to mix any prefix with any unit.

Re: Unit of measure confusion (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357625)

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_prefix [wikipedia.org]

Specifically, see the section entitled Non-Metric Units. It would appear it's uncommon but perfectly valid. Who woulda thunk it?

Re: Unit of measure confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357779)

Depends on the context and what you mean by "valid." It is valid in the sense it is perfectly clear what it means to anyone familiar with the prefixes and the unit being prefixed. Although, which ones various standards bodies and de facto conventions use may make it less valid in other contexts. The kilopound and microinch have their uses in some areas, but not so much say the milliinch which has its own name, and those may not be accepted in other contexts.

Re: Unit of measure confusion (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357663)

Exercise your mental agility. You can do it, and without Python. Trust me, I dunnit before.

Re: Unit of measure confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357813)

So you are also okay with a decipound, two kiloinches and three millifeet?

Goes to show you how much imperial units sucks. We have no problem with decimeter, kilolitres, or milliampheres (or any mixture of prefix with any SI units) at all.

the jews always make good stuff (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43356947)

maybe it comes with free kugle

Bad headline. Not rechargeable - it's a fuel cell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43356971)

Sounded exciting, clicked the link, but it is NOT RECHARGEABLE. As in, you have to throw the aluminum battery away once you've used it. Even the company say it's a "range extender" to use alongside a lithium battery, and as for the 1000 miles, I don't see any evidence for that in the article.

'Refill with water every 200 mi' (1)

sonnejw0 (1114901) | about a year and a half ago | (#43356991)

So the battery supposedly has a 1,000 mile range, but you have to stop every 100 to 200 miles to refill it with water? ... So it only has a 100-200 mile range. And on top of that, it's a disposable (recyclable) battery, not a rechargable one ... pros and cons to that, but it does require an infrastructure of replacement battery stations. Certainly better in my opinion than a charging station, but at least charging stations exist.

Re:'Refill with water every 200 mi' (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357055)

Yeah, when you suddenly require infrastructure, you get problems. We have gas stations. Now we need battery stations? Charging stations are easy enough, parking garages can provide them and they're easy to install--but the electrical power infrastructure itself needs upgrades. Again, we already have gas stations, and those were slow enough to get rolled out (but they rolled out naturally as cars rolled out), so the problems of initial deployment weren't as severe as the problems of changing or, worse, fragmenting technology (the overhead of all this fragmented infrastructure is huge).

Re:'Refill with water every 200 mi' (1)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357177)

These things look like blocks that could eventually mature into a technology you can just swap in and out. The issue of initial deployment would be much more easily reachable if a facility just swaps used blocks for new ones. Eventually, (a "station" so to speak) only involves storing new and used cells and providing water for the process, and maybe some chips or chewing gum for on the road. Not nearly the same environmental implications and regulations of putting a fuel tank underground. You could have these stations anywhere, maybe even built into hardware stores, SuperStores, etc. I could see that as a shorter path to infrastructure development.

Re:'Refill with water every 200 mi' (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357437)

The existing gas stations can easily double as battery stations, too.

Charging stations are much harder because, as you say yourself, the electricity grid is not up to the extra loads (and probably the power plants neither - there is not that much extra generator capacity available).

Re:'Refill with water every 200 mi' (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357667)

By and large, the U.S. power grid is in a very good position to support the adoption of electric vehicles [discovery.com] while still reducing emissions [energy.gov] . This can not be said about some places, such as India and China [nih.gov] , whose power plants are more dirty than gasoline cars.

Re:'Refill with water every 200 mi' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357071)

Every 1,000 miles replacement is worthwhile. Lot less infrastructure for that, and water? Easily sourced today. I'll be honest, I've not see a gas station without some water supply.

Re:'Refill with water every 200 mi' (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357297)

I was wondering if the 1000 mile range is the limit of this battery. Once you hit that the battery is done. They article calls this an air battery yet it needs water. Why not just go the hydrogen route? Aluminum with gallium and water. Use gallium to stop aluminum for forming that protective layer. Aluminum minus the protection will react with water to produce hydrogen gas.

Re:'Refill with water every 200 mi' (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357461)

Are you saying the infrastructure to distribute WATER will need to be built? That water is not something that is commonly widely distributed already?

Re:'Refill with water every 200 mi' (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357717)

No, he said you need an infrastructure to distribute batteries.

I would contribute that the required quantity of water for any distance is not specified in the article - kinda makes it hard to judge how practical this is. Are we talking coke can or jerry can per 100mi?

Re:'Refill with water every 200 mi' (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357543)

Get a bigger water tank, and automatic refill system. Or maybe I'm thinking too simple now?

Re:'Refill with water every 200 mi' (4, Funny)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357837)

Get a bigger water tank, and automatic refill system. Or maybe I'm thinking too simple now?

You're not thinking simple enough. Hint: The driver is sucking down a 64 ounce Big Gulp every two hours...

Sounds promising (2)

houbou (1097327) | about a year and a half ago | (#43356993)

In the end, if the aluminium can be recycled completely to make new batteries, then, this has potential. Depends now on cost, safety, ease of maintenance and most of all performance. You can do 1000 miles.. at what average speed?

Re:Sounds promising (3, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357077)

The process of refining bauxite to get aluminum is extremely energy intensive. Other than having a pure oxide to put in, it almost is pointless to bother recycling the "battery".

This is one of the last things I want to see in widespread use, unless we have modern nuclear plants, fusion, or some other next gen energy source, just because turning aluminum oxide back to a usable metal uses so much electricity.

Re:Sounds promising (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357153)

It's no worse than biofuels. And travel generally is a higher value use of energy than converting bauxite to aluminum.

Re:Sounds promising (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357327)

Recharging any sort of battery is going to be energy-intensive in (approximate, efficiencies will vary by design) proportion to how energy-dense the depleted battery was. Batteries store, they don't create.

One would, of course, hope that the aluminum refining is done in areas with some fuel supply other than mountains of delightfully cheap high-sulfur coal; but no battery-based system is going to work except with massive input of electricity(what would be interesting would be to get some numbers on how the energy-efficiency of shipping aluminum oxide to the generator and aluminum back stack up to transmitting electricity over conventional transmission lines... Over short distances, it couldn't possibly be more efficient; but it might turn out that bulk-carriers full of aluminum could move Icelandic geothermal energy to the US east coast much more efficiently than an undersea transmission line could...)

Re:Sounds promising (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357509)

Of course building those batteries will need a lot of energy - after all, they're batteries, and should be storing a large amount of energy. That's the energy that was used for driving.

But the beauty of it is that it could easily be powered by renewables. A common problem of renewables is the unreliable short-term supply - cloud blocking the sun, wind suddenly increasing or decreasing, but over a longer time (weeks, months) the overall supply tends to be pretty predictable. Charging batteries - the traditional type at least - doesn't need constant current. They will charge when there is current, even if it's intermittent.

As this is aluminium, they will probably use some kind of electrolyses process to get the energy stored. These processes may need some redesign, but I'm quite sure it's possible to come up with some design that can handle varying power supply very well.

Re:Sounds promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357855)

The process of refining bauxite to get aluminum is extremely energy intensive.

That is the entire point of technology like this, and other metal based fuel cells and batteries. Part of the whole reason it takes so much energy to refine metals is because of how much of an energy difference there is between a pure metal and metal oxides or other metal compounds.

Whether it is worth recycling is a different issue though. The oxide produced would be just fine for the producing metal again part. The relevant question would be how much effort is needed to collect and transport the used metal plates back to be recycled versus just sourcing new ore, and how much of the plates are used up in the process. If the plates still have a significant fraction of pure aluminum in them, then that could easily offset the costs of gathering up used plates, at which point it might be easier to recycle them than to even find a place to just dump them all.

Mileage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357039)

Their mileage seems a little off. The total kW/h in this seems to be 200 at the weight of the battery (25kg @ 8 kW/kg). The chevy volt would only go about 750miles on that much juice. (36kWh/100 miles)

Re:Mileage (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357723)

Depends on the vehicle. the Tesla roadster carries a 53kWh battery and has a 240ish mile range, with the "best" being a 311 mile trip. That's pretty close to 1000 miles on 200kWh.

Water powered cars (0)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357065)

I thought that this technology had been suppressed by "Big Oil"?

If this works as well as it is claimed to, then be prepared for an aggressive change in US policy towards Israel!

Re:Water powered cars (2)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357127)

Nope. It is suppressed by "Big Physics". Their "recycle the aluminum" isn't what most people think of recycling. It is reprocessing and it takes huge amounts of electricity.

The electricity cost is one reason places like Iceland and Upper Volta have courted ALCOA and other big aluminum smelters. Cheap electricity costs.

Re:Water powered cars (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357545)

**woosh***

Slashdot should join with BDS movement. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357085)

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

About BDS [endtheoccupation.org]

Boycott and Divestment Campaigns

In 2005 Palestinian civil society issued a call to the world to apply boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until it upheld international law. Signed by more than 170 Palestinian coalitions, unions, refugee groups, human rights, and social justice groups in the occupied territories, within Israel, and in exile, this call is truly representative of the support that the Palestinian people believe they must have to survive and achieve their rights.

The US Campaign National Assembly of member groups voted to endorse the call at the 2005 National Organizers Conference. Academic & Cultural Boycott were endorsed in at the 2009 conference.

Before and since the call, the US Campaign has endorsed multiple BDS campaigns targeting Caterpillar, Motorola, Veolia, Ahava Beauty Products, the We Divest Campaign (calling on financial giant TIAA-CREF to divest), and various faith-based and campus-based divestment initiatives.

Re:Slashdot should join with BDS movement. (-1, Flamebait)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357193)

You do realize that whenever one of you assholes boycotts some Israeli company, I make sure to buy 2 of whatever they're selling. The latest was Sodastream. By all means, let me know what's made in the "occupied territories" so I can support them.

Re:Slashdot should join with BDS movement. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357381)

well I DON'T buy 4 of whatever you're buying, so I'm canceling YOU out!

His Israel boycott is a triple win (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357441)

"You do realize that whenever one of you assholes boycotts some Israeli company, I make sure to buy 2 of whatever they're selling"

That won't work. Firstly he wanted to draw attention to this BDS Israel boycott, and he succeeded, and you helped him. Pro Israeli mod's used their mod points to drive it to -1, but you are at +2 and it flags the comments for others to read. I would never have read his comment if you weren't there flagging it.

Secondly, each time you buy two, you're wasting your money. It's always easier for him to avoid any Israeli products, because they don't have an exclusive on anything he wants. He doesn't go without, he just chooses a competitor's product. You on the other hand, end up paying twice, and have to buy the Israel product, even if there was better or cheaper ones.

So to him its a triple win, 1. he boycotts Israel, 2. he got you to promote his comment, and 3. you end up being punished for your counter boycott by paying at least double.

Plus you flag yourself as irrationally pro-Israel in any future discussion, which will prevent you from appearing to be any sensible balanced viewpoint on Israel.

Re:Slashdot should join with BDS movement. (1)

losfromla (1294594) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357485)

that's ok, because I then boycott them twice as much, lets see who runs out of money first.

I boycott companies that work with Israel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357707)

Well, better than that, any company that works with Israel on any product I automatically avoid too.

Sometimes it's a bit harder, but just reading Engadget, the Israeli company is always there trying to promote themselves, so it's relatively easy to avoid them. So when choosing a console for example, the XBox Kinect (licensed from an Israel company) meant I opted for the PS3 instead.

I know it doesn't have a direct measurable effect, but it makes me feel like I'm doing something positive. Taking a little time each day to choose one product over another, and understanding that each time I do it, a few dollars less make there way into Israel.

Sometimes I have to do partial rejects. I turned off Google autocomplete search, it was developed in Google Israel (and besides it use to annoy me that the autocomplete was sent to Google, if I typed it in before switching to DuckDuckGo to do the actual search).

Re:Slashdot should join with BDS movement. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357519)

The problem is that Israel does not allow the Palestinians to make anything at all. They have a controlled border, they can't even import concrete to repair the buildings that Israel has blown up.

Re:Slashdot should join with BDS movement. (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357875)

If Hamas, for example, was allowed concrete, they would build bunkers and fortified tunnels for smuggling rockets and it would never get to the people who need it. There are good reasons certain things are restricted.

Re:Slashdot should join with BDS movement. (1)

Anynomous Coward (841063) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357535)

Olive oil & soap ? [zatoun.com]

Re:Slashdot should join with BDS movement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357805)

I didn't buy 10 soda streams, enjoy your overpriced fizzy saccharine water.

TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357209)

Not a battery, just a fuel cell.

lol wut? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357259)

with stops required only every couple of hundred miles to refill the system with water.

Then the system has a range of a "couple of hundred miles" and not 1000. It has a *charge* for 1000 miles, but the car's range is only as good as your worst stat.

Kilomile? (4, Informative)

AnotherShep (599837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357379)

Who the fuck came up with that dumb word? Someone needs a nice hearty punch in the dick for that.

Re:Kilomile? (1)

Zeromous (668365) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357743)

Agreed, it's like only going half way with a spray on tan.

Re:Kilomile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43357759)

Just convert it to metric.

1 kilomile * (1.6094 km / mile) = 1.6094 kilokilometers

Re:Kilomile? (1)

Victor Pelt (2879223) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357803)

kilometer, kilogram, ... oh wait, you want to call it a mileton or something like that?

This will fail (2)

maggern (597586) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357559)

Consumers don't want this. They want something to recharge at home during the night without having to visit "stations" in order to refill water or aluminium. Also, we already have a distribution system for electricity and gas, there will be no costly third aluminiumbattery-system.

We don't measure miles in kilos (5, Funny)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357575)

640 miles should be enough for anyone.

bogus until they are actual use (2)

peter303 (12292) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357597)

There has been a claim of "revolutionary battery technology" from some US energy lab every month- carbon nanotubes, lithium air, etc. But few have ramped up to daily production road use. And few have gone bankrupt with $100s millions US DOE grants along the way.

I really, truly hope one of these claims becomes reality one day. I would like a 1000-mile electric car in my garage that costs the same as a petro car.

Put it on a trailer (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357665)

Seriously, this looks like a great way to range extend electric cars by putting it on a small tow-able trailer, or something that plugs into the rear similar to the trailer hitch carriers.

several points (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a year and a half ago | (#43357817)

1) Can we at least arrest, if not shoot the idiot that thought the word "kilomile" was a good word?

2)Price wise, the cost to replace 55 pounds of aluminum is about equal to gas. Maybe a little lower if you get paid back some for the used aluminum. Not much, but at least a small gain economically. Pollution wise it is worth it.

3) Range of a gas car is normally around 300 to 400 miles. (http://solarchargeddriving.com/editors-blog/on-evs-a-phevs/706-whats-your-gasoline-cars-range.html) Range of a car using this technology should easily be the same (just because some idiot thought they need to refill the battery with water every 100 miles doesn't mean a good engineer can't install a large spare water tank to refill it on the go.

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