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Battery Density Starting to Surpass Moore's Law

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Something old is new, the picture above is the first Thomas Edison Storage Battery. This was an Alkaline Battery that he started developing in 1890 and completed in 1903. As the Auto industry started up, Edison felt that electric auto's was a superior way to go versus steam, gas or any other form that was being played with. Edison found the traditional battery to be toxic, heavy and short life with only average energy storage.

In 1903 Edison declaring his battery finished showed off his potassium hydroxide battery that would react with the Iron / Nickel  electrodes creating a battery that was reliable and rechargeable. This battery also was 3 times as dense energy wise as traditional lead-acid batteries. Those building electric auto's flocked to buying Edison's batteries.

Sadly due to various issues of leakage post manufacturing, electric auto companies did not get the long term benefit they had hoped for and went back to using cheaper to produce lead-acid batteries and Edison closed his battery plant in 1908 and Edison who was friends with Henry Ford acknowledged that the electric auto had lost to the Model T Car.

While Edison's battery was of too low a voltage for ICE Auto's to use starting in 1912 when electric start began, they were profitable due to their long life and reliability that allowed them to be used in railroad crossing signs and especially in lamps for use in the mines. These batteries once Edison had fixed the packaging issue became his biggest moneymaker.

Now you might ask why the History lesson?

Battery density has been a slow but growing segment and many in the computer industry has felt that we are on the cusp of starting to use Moore's law for CPU's in regards to batteries. Reminder ( Moore's law is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years.)

Recently, I posted about Toshiba's Generation 2 SCiB batteries that have tripled the density while maintaining charge times using a Titanium Niobium Oxide Anode to charge the battery.

Researchers at the University of Maryland in partnership with Brook-haven National Laboratory looked to what had been invented in the past, the issues that existed and if they could possibly improve upon them to overcome limitations to allow a new product to come to market fast. Here is where Edison's battery comes into play as he had already figured out how to triple the density of the battery, but not how to improve the voltage recharge time as the batteries were slow to recharge.

The short answer for those not wanting to look at the scientific paper listed below or download the document file is that they have designed due to current technology a new cathode material (Iron Triflouride) that triples energy density of Lithium-ion batteries while reducing recharge times greatly in a stable battery package. 

University of Maryland team: Xiulin Fan, Xiao Ji, Fudong Han, and Zhaohui Ma

As the picture above shows, a traditional button 2032 battery now has triple the energy density of the original battery. Think of your laptop or cell phone battery that would now give you three times as much life before recharging is needed.

The end result is that only a year ago we had batteries with a certain density and now 12 months later we are seeing proto types of batteries in their same size but three times as dense.

Consider a Chevy Volt in it's current battery pack of 54 miles now 162 mile range or a Chevy BOLT's battery pack of 238 miles now 714 miles.

The future is looking shockingly BRIGHT for long range batteries for all sorts of technology from cell-phones, laptop computers to other forms of portable electronics and especially electric auto's.

Edison Alkaline Battery Info

Iron Triflouride scientific paper release

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Of course that’s with the whole element of cost thrown out the equation. No electric car or maker has managed to ever be profitable and requires price subsidies and like OPEC there is a cartel of countries that currently have rare earth metals used in batteries.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Suaviloquent said:

Of course that’s with the whole element of cost thrown out the equation. No electric car or maker has managed to ever be profitable and requires price subsidies and like OPEC there is a cartel of countries that currently have rare earth metals used in batteries.

The whole ICE auto industry started out the same way. Also as my example for simplicity sake of how the same size battery in a Bolt or Volt would triple the range. Many OEM builders if they can still have 238 miles of fast charging in less than 6 minutes, they will reduce the size of the battery by 2/3 rds and save a ton of weight, money and space making the auto much lighter and as such in the example of the BOLT. 238 miles would increase to almost 300 miles by the weight reduction.

No matter what ones feeling are about EV versus ICE, the world is moving to EV auto's and ICE is going to go away. Makes sense from a less maintenance standpoint, makes sense from an eventual less cost stand point too as economy of scale takes over.

Interesting times we live in and this will all shake out over the next 5 yrs.

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While I agree that this battery tech is nice, we will not see and auto application for probably 6-7 years at the very least. 

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8 hours ago, Suaviloquent said:

While I agree that this battery tech is nice, we will not see and auto application for probably 6-7 years at the very least. 

Yes and No, In the past tech breakthroughs tended to take a 5-10 years to get to commercial application. Yet we are seeing like in the computer world a drastic drop in getting breakthroughs into production in a more realistic 18 months to 3 years. I can easily see this battery tech going into production and showing up in an auto in the 2021 or 2022 calendar year.

Perfect example is Toshiba's SCiB battery, almost 10 years to go from lab concept to production. Now it will be replaced in a short amount of time as Toshiba is planning to go into production with Gen 2 battery in 2020. So only 2 years of production of Gen 1 which will show up in auto's in 2019 as 2020 versions and in 2020 as 2021 versions before being replaced by gen 2 battery packs.

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