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Inspiring Confidence in Advanced Battery Technology

• James Greenberger via TheEnergyCollective.com

The past few months have been difficult for many in the advanced battery industry.  A discouraging analysis by EPRI as to the relative costs and benefits of grid storage, slow sales of the Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF, earnings disappointments at several advanced battery companies and the possible break-up of one of the industry’s potential leading players, JCI-Saft Power Systems, cannot help but to call into question the very future of the advanced battery industry.  The ability to store electrical energy in an efficient and light weight form has the promise to solve many critical social problems.  But the world does not always beat a path to the better mousetrap.  The last few months have led me to wonder whether we might not be betting on the wrong technology.

This week, in as much a test of faith as a search for information, I attended the “Beyond Lithium Ion” conference at Northwest Pacific National Laboratory in Richland, Washington.  The conference discussed the status of research into the battery technologies that are expected eventually to replace lithium-ion chemistries in traction and grid-connected stationary batteries, with a focus on lithium-air and lithium-sulfur systems.  I attended for the purpose of discovering how long we will have to wait for the technologies that may one day permit advanced batteries to fulfill their social potential.

I am happy to report that I came away inspired, but not in the way I had hoped.  The truth, as near as I can tell it (I suspect I was the only non-scientist at the conference), is that mass-market commercial systems employing lithium-air and lithium-sulfur technology are still years away.  There are fundamental scientific problems in both technologies that need to be solved.  There is even the possibility of a “show stopper”--a problem in the technologies that might ultimately make them unusable in commercial applications or, more likely, unable to improve significantly on the performance of existing lithium-ion systems.  More basic research is needed on both technologies before these systems can be moved into practical, mass market applications.

 

2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Hoyt A. Stearns,jr.
Entered on:

In a few months, infinite energy will probably be available for almost no cost given Rossi's E-Cats; Dr. Stephen Jones' toroids; Randall Mills' Blacklight Power Hydrino reactors; three kinds of Steorn ORBOs; Focus Fusion devices, and about a dozen other developments that are on the horizon. Given one or more of these devices gets to market ( Rossi's will be most likely the first, in October ), battery technology will become irrelevant. Efficiency won't matter except to keep the devices cool enough for reliable operation or personal comfort e.g. laptop computers. It'll be the end of solar, wind, nuclear, petroleum and grid infrastructure, etc. Interestingly enough, Steorn claims that when their mechanical device is run backwards, it absorbs energy without getting hot rather than generating energy -- maybe that would be useful to help cool electronics, and certainly useful as non heating vehicle brakes. Hoyt Stearns 10845 N. 120th St. Scottsdale, Arizona US 85259-4166 480 699 7110 http://HoytStearns.com  

Comment by Hoyt A. Stearns,jr.
Entered on:

In a few months, infinite energy will probably be available for almost no cost given Rossi's E-Cats; Dr. Stephen Jones' toroids; Randall Mills' Blacklight Power Hydrino reactors; three kinds of Steorn ORBOs; Focus Fusion devices, and about a dozen other developments that are on the horizon. Given one or more of these devices gets to market ( Rossi's will be most likely the first, in October ), battery technology will become irrelevant. Efficiency won't matter except to keep the devices cool enough for reliable operation or personal comfort e.g. laptop computers. It'll be the end of solar, wind, nuclear, petroleum and grid infrastructure, etc. Interestingly enough, Steorn claims that when their mechanical device is run backwards, it absorbs energy without getting hot rather than generating energy -- maybe that would be useful to help cool electronics, and certainly useful as non heating vehicle brakes. Hoyt Stearns 10845 N. 120th St. Scottsdale, Arizona US 85259-4166 480 699 7110 http://HoytStearns.com  

 


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