Battery Optimization: Working Smarter, Not Harder

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We’re often told that we use only a small part of our brains – easily demonstrated in your editor’s case.  What if we’re only using a small part of the battery power that’s available to us?  Fixing that would lead to smaller batteries working more efficiently, a significant step toward lighter power packages. Hybridcars.com shares this kind of thinking in two recent postings, the first about a $4 million contract beween  PARC, a Xerox company, its partner LG Chem Power and the U. S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy (ARPA-E) as part of the Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) program.     According to hybridcars’ Philippe Crowe, the partners will,  “Develop a fiber …

A Shot of Lithium with a Water Chaser, Please

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Lithium, a highly reactive metal, will fire off its electrons in a fizzy display if placed in water.  As one source explains, “The lithium-water reaction at normal temperatures is brisk but not violent.” It comes as a surprise then that one lithium battery manufacturer, PolyPlus Battery Company, insists on putting its lithium battery electrodes in H2O.  The firm makes both lithium/air and lithium/water batteries, holds over 72 patents on its intellectual property and has recently earned, along with its partner Corning, an ARPA-E (Advanced Research Project Agency – ENERGY) grant of nearly $5 million.  It also made Time magazine’s list of the “50 Best Inventions of 2011.”   It will be presented as a finalist in the Edison Awards dinner in …

Better Batteries: Enviable Achievement from Envia

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Envia, a startup battery company in Newark, California, has announced a much-anticipated breakthrough in lithium-polymer storage cell energy density. Although tested to 300 charge/discharge cycles, the new battery should show at least 1,000 successful cycles before we get too excited. Excitement will build, though, as the announced 400 Watt-hours per kilogram doubles the current energy density standard for lithium batteries. This would reduce a Leaf’s battery pack from about 600 pounds to 300 pounds, or keeping the same weight, double the car’s range to about 250 miles. Dr. Brien Seeley points out that the Green Flight Challenge-winning Pipistrel G4 could have traversed 400 miles with a reserve on such batteries. According to Envia, quoting from the official report, “’The Naval …

Cambridge Crude and Range Euphoria

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists have announced what they claim is a “Significant advance in battery architecture [that] could be breakthrough for electric vehicles and grid storage.”    According to a story by David L. Chandler from the MIT News Office, the new battery system is lightweight and inexpensive, and could make recharging “as quick and easy as pumping gas into a conventional car.” Seemingly requiring some active components within the battery, this “semi-solid flow cell” pumps solid particles suspended in a carrier liquid which form the cathodes and anodes through the system.  According to the MIT news item, “These two different suspensions are pumped through systems separated by a filter, such as a thin porous membrane.”  Mechanically more …