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Wood Nanobattery Could Be Green Option For Large-Scale Energy Storage

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the tree-power dept.

Power 120

cylonlover writes "Li-ion batteries may be ok for your smartphone, but when it comes to large-scale energy storage, the priorities suddenly shift from compactness and cycling performance (at which Li-ion batteries excel) to low cost and environmental feasibility (in which Li-ion batteries still have much room for improvement). A new 'wood battery' could allow the emerging sodium-ion battery technology to fit the bill as a long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly battery for large-scale energy storage."

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Li-ion batteries (0, Troll)

Relevant Fact Bot (2975573) | about a year ago | (#44217671)

H2O, the chemical formula for Li-ion with the atomic number 3, is a soft, silver-white metal belonging to the alkali metal group of chemical elements. Under standard conditions it is the lightest metal and the least dense solid element. Like all alkali metals, lithium is highly reactive and flammable. For this reason, it is typically stored in mineral oil. When cut open, lithium exhibits a metallic luster, but contact with moist air corrodes the surface quickly to a dull silvery gray, then black tarnish.

Because of its high reactivity, lithium never occurs freely in nature, and instead, only appears in compounds, which are usually ionic. Lithium occurs in a number of pegmatitic minerals, but due to its solubility as an ion is present in ocean water and is commonly obtained from brines and clays. On a commercial scale, lithium is isolated electrolytically from a mixture of lithium chloride and potassium chloride.

Re:Li-ion batteries (2)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year ago | (#44217687)

Thanks, Relevant Fact Bot!

Re:Li-ion batteries (4, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44217721)

Which has absolutely nothing to do with the subject. The article is well worth reading. What's kept NA-ion batteries away is that their anodes only last 20 cycles. They solved the problem with wood fibers covered with carbon nanotubes, and these can stand hundreds of cycles.

Again, TFA is worth reading.

Now waiting for the inevitable "that article gave me wood" joke...

Re:Li-ion batteries (2)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#44217801)

Shit that article not only gave me wood but made it swell 420% over normal capacity!

Re:Li-ion batteries (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44218089)

Shit that article not only gave me wood but made it swell 420% over normal capacity!

Pity that your tube was so nano to begin with...

Re:Li-ion batteries (1)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#44218461)

Are they using bois bandé to achieve this?

Re:Li-ion batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44220037)

So what you're really saying is that boy bands give you wood?

Re:Li-ion batteries (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#44218407)

I have problems believing in something that claims to be low-cost yet depends on carbon nanotubes...

Re:Li-ion batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44218877)

Now waiting for the inevitable "that article gave me wood" joke...

Such as your partner aquiring a hemp plastic vibrator equipped with rechargeable wood batteries? Would the humor in that resonate with you?

Re:Li-ion batteries (1)

John Napkintosh (140126) | about a year ago | (#44218127)

"H2O, the chemical formula for Li-ion with the atomic number 3..."

Relevant "Fact" Bot, indeed.

Re:Li-ion batteries (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#44221023)

He's got a future in politics. When you need a fact, you just make one up!

Re:Li-ion batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44218809)

I half expected to read about a 'new' wood based battery that was charged via solar energy and then released its charge by combustion

Then they had to throw the whole nano-tube angle into it

Re:Li-ion batteries (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a year ago | (#44222191)

Don't make an ash of yourself - go against the grain and read the article.

could be but not likely (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44217693)

pie in the sky

more snowden

Only you can prevent forest fires. (2)

rullywowr (1831632) | about a year ago | (#44217697)

Now when your battery catastrophically fails (like Li-Ion), you have the added benefit of instant campfire!

Re:Only you can prevent forest fires. (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44217757)

Now when your battery catastrophically fails (like Li-Ion), you have the added benefit of instant campfire!

In case of alarm, break glass, remove pointy stick and bag of Stay Puft marshmallows.

Wood use is minimal. (4, Informative)

Valdrax (32670) | about a year ago | (#44217787)

The use of wood is minimal and is only used as a flexible inner core for what is primarily a carbon nanotube anode. The majority of the battery is still inorganic materials.

(But, hey, one can't expect the first post to have actually read the fine article.)

Re:Wood use is minimal. (1)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#44218523)

Yes, and the use of nanotubes (if the geometry is at all important) means the promise of cheap is a bit far fetched, mwcnt's are stupid expensive, swcnt are 50-100x more and aren't yet produced on commercial scales.

Re:Wood use is minimal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44218875)

mwcnt - is that multi walled carbon nano-tubes? because the article says *single* walled carbon nano-tubes.....

Re:Wood use is minimal. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about a year ago | (#44218879)

That would be the ones he said are even more expensive.

Re:Wood use is minimal. (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#44219161)

50-100x more, even.

Re:Wood use is minimal. (-1, Flamebait)

Aditi Kumer (2970529) | about a year ago | (#44219129)

No, I think Stallman's laptop just happened to have a free BIOS. IIRC Stallman does not think that free hardware is nearly as important as free software. This is a an open/free source hardware design meaning that anyone could theoretically grab the design files, do whatever changes they want and then start producing the board. The integrated circuits are for the most part closed designs of course. If you want to design a completely and utterly open laptop you must first design an open universe...http://bastcomputer.blogspot.com/ [slashdot.org] ">please visit it

Re:Only you can prevent forest fires. (1)

tippe (1136385) | about a year ago | (#44218179)

I sure hope they use cedar. Cedar battery smoked salmon could be quite good...

Re:Only you can prevent forest fires. (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year ago | (#44222369)

oh stop it you bastard, I've been craving smoked salmon for the past month!

Just when you got the virus problem licked (2, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about a year ago | (#44217717)

Now your laptop can be infested with termites and attract hungry chimps.

Re:Just when you got the virus problem licked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44217949)

Yeah, this whole thing is bananas.

Re:Just when you got the virus problem licked (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44218097)

Now your laptop can be infested with termites

It's still better than a Dell laptop infested with thermites, wouldn't you say?

Re:Just when you got the virus problem licked (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year ago | (#44222375)

did Dell ever build a magnesium chassis? Only one I know of (and actually own two such examples) are the Panasonic Toughbooks.

Re:Just when you got the virus problem licked (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#44218905)

Here's the ingenious part, though. You want until Winter and all the chimps freeze to death!

Wood battery (5, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44217719)

The rest of us call it charcoal...

thing of the past (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44217741)

batteries in general are a thing of the past. they are incredibly inefficient, as they use a chemical reaction to create elecricity. all future research should be spent on graphene supercapacitors, which charge thousands of times faster than batteries and carry much more charge... graphene is also 100% biodegradable and totally flexible, which of course means we will be able to roll up our phones/tablets and put them in our pockets.

Re:thing of the past (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44217781)

FTR, use of the phrase "[object X] is/are (a) thing(s) of the past" kind of implies that the replacement technology is already here and adopted en masse...

That said, I'm not seeing a whole lot of graphene supercaps for sale on Amazon these days; hopefully soon.

Re:thing of the past (4, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | about a year ago | (#44218831)

Well, Amazon has graphene and they have supercaps, so just buy them together for a nifty savings. Also, given the clever and unexpected ways UPS can mangle a package, odds are good that eventually they would arrive fused into a workable single item.

Re:thing of the past (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44219227)

If I wasn't the person whose comment you're responding to, I would give you my last mod point.

Also, given the clever and unexpected ways UPS can mangle a package, odds are good that eventually they would arrive fused into a workable single item.

Unfortunately, we'll never know because they delivered it to the wrong address.

Re:thing of the past (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | about a year ago | (#44221171)

Wow, that sounds almost like -- the theory of evolution. Sorta. Kinda. Well, maybe not...

Re:thing of the past (1, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#44217819)

I think that charging of batteries is mostly limited by the plug that it's connected to. Looking at cars like the Tesla, the reason they take so long to charge is because you have to hook it up to a really big power source to get all that energy in such a short period of time. You could have a capacitor that slowly charged off the mains so that when you wanted to refill your car it had all the energy needed, but there would still need to be some way to connect the two capacitors.

Re:thing of the past (1)

thestuckmud (955767) | about a year ago | (#44219689)

I think that charging of batteries is mostly limited by the plug that it's connected to.

Charge time is often limited by battery chemistry and construction. Lithium ion batteries, for example, are typically limited to a rate of 1C (a theoretical 1 hour charge time from empty to 100%). In practice, those li-ion batteries take several hours to reach 100% charge because the rate slows down dramatically near as the battery reaches full.

Consider the Tesla S sedan: Not coincidentally, Tesla's 300A Supercharger stations "can charge about half the battery in 30 minutes." We are not likely to see faster charging options until new battery technology becomes available. Of course "the plug" (or more likely the socket in this case) substantially limits charging rate: Tesla's 1.4kW wall socket charger provides a mere 5 miles of range per hour of charge.

Re:thing of the past (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44217913)

Because what could possibly go wrong if a super capacitor is overcharged and explodes?

Re:thing of the past (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44217995)

'All' we have to do is increase their energy density by a factor of 10, get rid of leakage, and come up with a giood way to keep them from discharging all at once without exploding or degrading their performance too badly.

They may well get there one day, but not today.

Re:thing of the past (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#44218505)

Tomorrow?

Re:thing of the past (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44219611)

15 Years: http://xkcd.com/1232/

Re:thing of the past (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44218177)

Things come in increments. In theory, we can see graphene supercaps doing a tenfold increase of energy density. However, until we are there with marketable projects, best we can hope for are increments. In solar projects, there is a place for this, and that right now is as a "buffer" between the charge coming in from the cells, and what the charge controller feeds to the battery. This way, electricity can be stored and still be used for charging even when the panels are receiving too low a light to be useful.

Re:thing of the past (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#44218481)

While wonder materials solve many problems, there are even more problems in their production.

Re:thing of the past (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#44218643)

batteries in general are a thing of the past. they are incredibly inefficient, as they use a chemical reaction to create elecricity. all future research should be spent on Nanoscale Fusion Reactors. Because all other technologies are bullshit.

FTFY.

Also. People like you are fucking tools.

Re:thing of the past (2)

RenderSeven (938535) | about a year ago | (#44218861)

Stop. You had me at Nanoscale Fusion Reactors. You lost me at fucking tools but at least I was right there with you for a moment.

Re:thing of the past (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#44218945)

I was stating that the parent of my post is a Tool.
A self important shithead that believes that he has something to add to the conversation because he has heard of a new technology.
Therefore everything else sucks ass and should be relegated to a museum.

Re:thing of the past (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44221233)

Loving the irony of justifying calling someone a tool by being an even bigger "self important shithead that believes that he has something to add to the conversation"

Re:thing of the past (1)

Bitmanhome (254112) | about a year ago | (#44221333)

People like you are fucking tools.

I can't tell if that's adjective-noun or verb-noun. I guess the meaning is the same either way.

It really is too bad (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#44217769)

You know, it seems fairly simple to conceive of some kind of storage medium for solar energy that is cheap, easy, and environmentally sound. If only there were a way to gather up immense amounts of solar energy and store it in some medium that had a reasonably high energy density, was easy to store and cheap to maintain in storage, and where it was quite easy to extract the stored energy, that could even be stored as solid fuel. If only there were a way to easily manufacture such a fuel locally, at or near the point of consumption, and even better, without the use of harsh chemicals and boatloads of energy.

It's too bad nothing even remotely like that exists today.

Re:It really is too bad (3)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44217861)

You know, it seems fairly simple to conceive of some kind of storage medium for solar energy that is cheap, easy, and environmentally sound. If only there were a way to gather up immense amounts of solar energy and store it in some medium that had a reasonably high energy density, was easy to store and cheap to maintain in storage, and where it was quite easy to extract the stored energy, that could even be stored as solid fuel. If only there were a way to easily manufacture such a fuel locally, at or near the point of consumption, and even better, without the use of harsh chemicals and boatloads of energy.

It's too bad nothing even remotely like that exists today.

Alas, the vengeful ghost of Sadie Carnot is sitting on your woodpile and whispering dark mockery of the efficiency of any heat engine small enough to fit in the places where we want electricity...

I will admit, that with a good steam engine and a few Stout Irish as stokers, my Analytical Engine does me good service; but spilling my cellphone's boiler down my collar last week was most painful.

Re:It really is too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44218019)

What a clever jerk, come on. This green battery stuff is just more buffoonery.

Re:It really is too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44219365)

You'd think this technology wood be more poplar with the slashdot crowd. Just leaf us alone, man.

Re:It really is too bad (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44219451)

What a clever jerk, come on. This green battery stuff is just more buffoonery.

I suspect that the 'green' angle is overstated, as it usually is; but exploiting naturally produced small-scale structures, when they can be made to suit our purposes, is hardly a scam. Biology is extremely good at building microscale features, in bulk, for peanuts. When we can make that work to our advantage, we gain the benefit of what would otherwise require some rather tricky and expensive fabrication.

Re:It really is too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44219127)

Carnot efficiency is all about the temperature difference available to a heat engine. While you might be right in asserting that overly small ones may not be efficient this would be an engineering problem, not anything to do with good ol' Sadie's magic formula.

Re:It really is too bad (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44219421)

Carnot efficiency is all about the temperature difference available to a heat engine. While you might be right in asserting that overly small ones may not be efficient this would be an engineering problem, not anything to do with good ol' Sadie's magic formula.

True. My assumption, though, is that almost any engineering advance that improves the delta-t of small, reasonably cheap and safe heat engines would likely also be applicable(possibly to even greater advantage) to large heat engines with substantial capital budgets and professional operators. This isn't a thermodynamic truth, and there could be exceptions; but I suspect that on average, improvements in small heat engines usually accrue to large ones as well, with the large ones enjoying various engineering advantages that the small ones don't.

Re:It really is too bad (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year ago | (#44222395)

My backup battery consists of a copper wire, a zinc nail, and a potato.

Four such cells connected in series charges a mobile phone quite nicely. Not enough current to actually run the thing while charging, mind, but it does sort the battery.

Re:It really is too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44223533)

Wondered for a moment - why would you need Irish Stout? Isn't English Ale good enough?

Re:It really is too bad (3, Interesting)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about a year ago | (#44218471)

This "wood battery" is an interesting concept, but this problem has already been solved by a team at MIT. They've been developing the technology over the last several years, and are now in the process of commercializing it. The first "commercial" prototypes are expected early next year. The details are in this video lecture [youtube.com] by the inventor, Donald Sadoway.

This technology has great potential to revolutionize the way we produce and use energy. Worth a look...

Re:It really is too bad (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#44218507)

Just use a device that can convert mass to kinetic energy, like a fusion reactor.

From Hyperion to Reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44217823)

So, does this mean I can have a real Tesla Forest now?

Awesome enviro-friendly battery tech (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#44217831)

Much like Nickel-Zinc batteries, this is a great alternative for environmentally-unfriendly power storage.

Now I have to wonder, could this be easily recycled and refreshed to a new state?

If so, despite the lower power density, I'd buy electronics using this battery without any hesitation.

What is the output voltage of such a cell and how much power drain can it withstand without going stupid?

If it can withstand high drains and provides at LEAST 1.4V per cell, I'd be happy.

Re:Awesome enviro-friendly battery tech (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44217907)

Much like Nickel-Zinc batteries, this is a great alternative for environmentally-unfriendly power storage.

Now I have to wonder, could this be easily recycled and refreshed to a new state?

If so, despite the lower power density, I'd buy electronics using this battery without any hesitation.

What is the output voltage of such a cell and how much power drain can it withstand without going stupid?

If it can withstand high drains and provides at LEAST 1.4V per cell, I'd be happy.

the wood-nanotube anode is the main part that would need to be replaced -- so the real question is: "what is the energy input and what are the waste products associated with creating this wood-nanotube composite anode?"

Re:Awesome enviro-friendly battery tech (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44217919)

Recycling wood batteries = BBQ

Re:Awesome enviro-friendly battery tech (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#44219335)

You don't really know much about science, do you?

Much like Nickel-Zinc batteries, this is a great alternative for environmentally-unfriendly power storage.

You don't store power, you store energy.

If so, despite the lower power density, I'd buy electronics using this battery without any hesitation.

Again, energy, not power. Most modern batteries have gobs of power density, and far more power than the devices they are used with draw. That's not a problem. The problem is energy density. The only time you really worry about power density is when you're using a short duration UPS that doubles as a generator starter, or are using a flow battery or fuel cell. Other than that, if you've got a reasonable energy capacity, you usually have plenty of power.

If it can withstand high drains and provides at LEAST 1.4V per cell, I'd be happy.

Who cares what voltage it operates at? Unless you're expecting to use this as a drop-in replacement for traditional alkaline primary cells, it's nothing to put in a little boost converter to bring your voltage up to whatever your device needs to run. Motors for things like fans, hard drives, and optical drives typically run much higher than 1.4V. The CFLs in monitor backlights typically run a few kV.

Re:Awesome enviro-friendly battery tech (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#44219757)

Pedantry

Pedantry

"Who cares what voltage it operates at?"

For those of us that work with devices that utilize voltage drops, like LEDs? INFINITELY FUCKING VALUABLE.

Seems like you don't pay much attention to science, let alone electronics engineering.

Re:Awesome enviro-friendly battery tech (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#44221367)

You've never going to operate any complex piece of electronics straight off the battery. You're always going to have some form of power supply, and it's going to be able to provide you whatever voltage you need regardless of the input voltage.

Re:Awesome enviro-friendly battery tech (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#44221441)

"You've never going to operate any complex piece of electronics straight off the battery."

Says your ill-educated self. Try looking at RVs and portable housing. Oh, shit, those happen to run straight off a battery bank, along with the 12V sockets ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Try again when you've actually dealt with power systems besides the one attached to your circuit breaker in your house, child.

Re:Awesome enviro-friendly battery tech (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#44221589)

Resistance heaters (including evaporation refrigerators), incandescent lighting, and brushed motors can run directly off 12VDC. Just about everything else is going to need some form of voltage regulator to operate.

Re:Awesome enviro-friendly battery tech (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#44221595)

(including evaporation refrigerators)

Make that "absorption refrigerators".

Re:Awesome enviro-friendly battery tech (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#44221655)

Try looking at RVs and portable housing. Oh, shit, those happen to run straight off a battery bank

To be frank, they don't matter. They have plenty of available volume to run any number of cells in series to reach their desired voltage. Lead-acid batteries nominally operate at 2V, but the typical battery has six cells to reach that typical 12V. Nickel and Lithium based batteries run 1.2V and 3.7V, respectively, but you see them arrayed in packs operating at several hundred volts for electric cars. The individual cell voltage only really matters for small, portable electronics, where you don't have room for multiple cells.

Salt is NOT benign (3, Interesting)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44217881)

Just ask the Romans [wikipedia.org] how environmentally friendly sodium is. The citizens of Carthage would be able to tell you, if they were not all killed.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44217931)

And too much water kills you, the question is how terrible the toxicity is.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (2)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#44218045)

55,000 Carthaginians survived and were sold into slavery. Granted, that was only about 10% of the city's pre-battle population, but they weren't all killed.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44218409)

You know you've really fucked up when being sold into slavery is your BEST option.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (2)

RobertNotBob (597987) | about a year ago | (#44218567)

Cake, or Death!

--I'll take the cake, please.

What!? No, you can't... We;ve had a run on the cake today, and we're all out.

--So, my choice is "or Death"?

Re:Salt is NOT benign (1)

Bitmanhome (254112) | about a year ago | (#44221465)

Why, that's Eddie Izzard! [youtube.com] I'd recognize him anywhere.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#44218377)

Meh I use the stuff on my driveway, cheapest weedkiller I ever bought. Still though if you're worried about the environmental impact of salt you might want to check what almost three quarters of the earth is covered with.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44218551)

You're a very "'murrican" kind of retarded, aren't you?

Not even a pig shits where it lives. Not even a really dumb animal permanently transforms his own home into a wasteland.
Which means that you are dumber than a pig.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#44218895)

Hadn't really planned on harvesting much from the tarmac, champ, but if it's any comfort to you the weeds are back and blooming within the year.

Jesus we need a jihad on these malthusian lefty environuts, I can't wait for them to not-breed themselves out of existence.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44218659)

If I can be charged a tax on the rain that falls on my property (Maryland Rain Tax), then I can make jokes about how toxic salt is too.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year ago | (#44222429)

rain tax?? I've heard about this, it's really fucked up. We need a full-on slashdot discussion about how privatising the stuff that randomly FALLS OUT OF THE SKY and is ESSENTIAL TO ALL LIFE ON EARTH isn't the sole property of a commercial interest like NESTLÉ.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44218431)

Just ask the Romans [wikipedia.org] how environmentally friendly sodium is.

The whole "sowing the ground with salt" thing is symbolic - it doesn't (and didn't, in Carthage's case) render the area uninhabitable.

Unless you use a huge amount of salt, which they couldn't afford even if they'd had it available in such quantities (they didn't).

Re:Salt is NOT benign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44218685)

No kidding. Until somewhat recently (in a historical sense), salt was incredibly expensive [phrases.org.uk] .

Re:Salt is NOT benign (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#44218691)

Carthage was on the ocean, so I would imagine salt was in abundance.

But despite that, you are correct in your assessment. The whole "salting of the Earth" was decided to be hyperbole, but it did make for a funny reference.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44218857)

brawndo it got electrolytes it what plants crave

My mind asplode (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about a year ago | (#44218939)

This right here, is one of the only times horrible grammar is actually on topic and warranted. This does not compute!

Re:Salt is NOT benign (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year ago | (#44222439)

damn... what was that movie...!?

Idiocracy?

Re:Salt is NOT benign (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about a year ago | (#44223101)

damn... what was that movie...!?

Someone should invent a thing where you can tell it what you want to find out and it would look in a catalog of information that it had compiled. On the internet. I'll bet that would be popular.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44218535)

Put down the VtM game books and try reading some history.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (2)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#44220155)

You have missed the point- sodium is made from the electrolysis of salt where lithium must be mined at great expense and environmental impact.

Re:Salt is NOT benign (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#44220771)

Salt was not cheap for Romans. It was so rare Roman soldiers were actually paid in salt. The Latin word for salt, salar is the root of the word salary. They certainly did not have it at enough quantities to poison the land or people. They probably sprinkled the conquered cities with salt in some kind of symbolic ritual. Talking about symbolic military ceremonies involving salt, nothing beats the induction ceremony of the Gorkha soldiers. These tribals pledge fealty to anyone who has given them salt. At the induction ceremony they line up, the commanding officer in full dress uniform marches along the ranks, with another colorfully dressed sergeant bearing a tray of salt. NCOs bellow commands for the inductees to open their mouth and the CO sprinkles salt into their mouth. For all that pomp and circumstance it looks ridiculously funny.

Paywalled at ACS after the Gee-Wizz Gizmodo ariclw (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44218071)

Yet another PAYWALLED paper. Click if you love the Gizmodo "Gee-Whizz" summaries. Otherwise ...

$35 for 48 hours of reading. And exactly how much of that actually goes to the researchers or back to us who undoubtedly paid for at least parts of the research if not the whole thing thru Fed or state $.

Nano Letters = http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl400998t?journalCode=nalefd [acs.org]

.

How likely this will be cost-effective? (2, Informative)

steveha (103154) | about a year ago | (#44218421)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium-ion_battery [wikipedia.org]

I'm wondering how useful this technology would be for large-scale energy storage. Say you have a wind farm, and you want to grab all the power when the wind is blowing, and store it for later.

400 charge/discharge cycles seems like each battery might last a year. Then the battery is swapped out for a new one. How expensive is that part?

How much will it cost to take a wood battery and recover the sodium and tin? Would it be cheaper to dispose of the sodium and just build a new battery? How do you dispose of sodium anyway... mix it with chlorine to make salt, or just dump it in the ocean, or bury it, or what?

Hmm. I did a Google search on "refine sodium" and it looks as if, much like aluminum, you use an electric process to purify sodium. If so, then refining sodium can be viewed as another way to use excess power. Perhaps it would make sense to have a facility to recycle old sodium ion batteries co-located with a major wind farm or other large-scale variable power source?

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080514052937AAu27e4 [yahoo.com]

And how does this compare with other well-understood technologies for energy storage? For example: using excess power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

P.S. Another article:

http://www.kurzweilai.net/a-battery-made-of-wood-long-lasting-efficient-environmentally-friendly [kurzweilai.net]

Re:How likely this will be cost-effective? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44218967)

Smelting aluminium requires stable high temperatures, variable power from wind would prob scuttle attempts at using a similar process for sodium.

Re:How likely this will be cost-effective? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44220819)

Smelting aluminium requires stable high temperatures, variable power from wind would prob scuttle attempts at using a similar process for sodium.

If so, then the battery recycling needs to be near a "base load" plant. Not necessarily a deal-breaker.

I think hydro power should be reliable enough for this, but there's also nuclear, natural gas, coal, etc.

Re:How likely this will be cost-effective? (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year ago | (#44222461)

the favoured source for power for aluminium smelting is hydro. Dam a body of water, tap off the bottom, feed it through a turbine. As long as the head pressure exceeds the Governor, you're guaranteed output. Nuclear depends on supply of refined fuel. Solar depends on the sun. Wind depends on... wind. Tidal is just too damn controversial at the moment, it's not even viable thanks to the treehuggers - they're losing the battle against wind simply because they can't justify their position while running their C-rated fridges.

Re:How likely this will be cost-effective? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#44220783)

It is far easier to melt the salt and store it in underground chambers and use it to produce steam later to drive the turbines.

Celebrity Dyslexia (2)

carrier lost (222597) | about a year ago | (#44219273)

I keep reading it as, "Natalie Wood Battery"

Pumped hydro (2)

evilviper (135110) | about a year ago | (#44221051)

Why bother with any kind of expensive, complex, and non-servicable battery? Pumped hydro is proven on a large scale, doesn't need DC/AC conversion, gets 70%+ efficiencies, and more if you seal it to stop evaporation, and is much simpler and cheaper, since it's just a high/low tank, a pump and generator.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity [wikipedia.org]

If you're anywhere remotely near an existing dam, it's extremely inexpensive to just add pumped hydro storage capabilities to it. Otherwise, just find the nearest mountain, and excavate a lake at the top, as well as one at the bottom, and a few lines between them to turn the generators.

The only place massive batteries make sense is on tiny (off-grid) scales, where you can't afford to have even one person around, monitoring the systems. Maybe this will work for off-grid homes with solar or wind power. Or maybe it'll see some use in large UPSes for cell towers, data centers, etc. But it would be pointless for a grid-tied deployment, where the power company can install a central pumped-hydro peaking/leveling system when renewables begin to supply a significant percentage of base load.

"environmental feasibility" == tripe (0)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44223143)

but when it comes to large-scale energy storage, the priorities suddenly shift from compactness and cycling performance (at which Li-ion batteries excel) to low cost and environmental feasibility

Environmental feasibility is just an empty term. A lot of toxic substances are perfectly fine as long as they're properly contained. For example, the traditional lead acid battery fits the bill. It's low cost. And would you rather have that lead in the landfill instead of in a working battery?

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