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Tags batteries , lithium , sugar , sulphur

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Old 13th September 2021, 08:31 PM   #1
Orphia Nay
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New generation batteries - just add sugar

"Australian researchers say they've opened the path to a new generation of batteries that could allow an electric vehicle to drive from Melbourne to Sydney on a single charge.

"And the crucial ingredient was a spoonful of sugar."

"a team from Monash University say they've found a way of making lithium-sulfur batteries that are robust enough to be recharged 1,000 times."

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/...cles/100457492
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Old 14th September 2021, 05:29 AM   #2
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I am impressed by the amount of extra charge these batteries could carry compared to the current Li Ion batteries. Plus they should be a lot cheaper.
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Old 14th September 2021, 05:59 AM   #3
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"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the vehicle go around..."
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Old 14th September 2021, 07:03 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Orphia Nay View Post
"Australian researchers say they've opened the path to a new generation of batteries that could allow an electric vehicle to drive from Melbourne to Sydney on a single charge.

"And the crucial ingredient was a spoonful of sugar."

"a team from Monash University say they've found a way of making lithium-sulfur batteries that are robust enough to be recharged 1,000 times."

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/...cles/100457492
"Professor Majumder argued that cheaper lithium-sulfur batteries might be able to compete with lithium-ion ones, even if they had to be replaced more often."

This is a pretty important point. If they are cheap enough, performance doesn't need to match Li-ion batteries, it only needs to be good enough. We shall see. But it would be good to move away from depending on rare earth metals, especially given China's dominance in that market.
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Old 14th September 2021, 07:33 AM   #5
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Using sugar to power batteries just seems like the Matrix Problem of Thermodynamics. The energy used to grow, harvest, transport, and store the sugar could probably be used much more efficiently to just charge the batteries.

Unless this is a major supply-outstrips-demand issue, and storing the surplus energy in sugar is more efficient than storing it in the electrical grid or in the batteries themselves.
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Old 14th September 2021, 07:34 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Using sugar to power batteries just seems like the Matrix Problem of Thermodynamics. The energy used to grow, harvest, transport, and store the sugar could probably be used much more efficiently to just charge the batteries.

Unless this is a major supply-outstrips-demand issue, and storing the surplus energy in sugar is more efficient than storing it in the electrical grid or in the batteries themselves.
Guide for posting:
1. Read article
2. Comment on it.

I think you skipped step 1.
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Old 14th September 2021, 07:50 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
Guide for posting:
1. Read article
2. Comment on it.

I think you skipped step 1.


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Old 14th September 2021, 10:49 AM   #8
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It looks promising, especially the cutting out of a lot of toxic metals for sulfur.
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Old 14th September 2021, 11:35 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
Guide for posting:
1. Read article
2. Comment on it.

I think you skipped step 1. : )
Guilty as charged. I have a general policy of not digging any deeper into the article than the OP does. If the OP thinks a catchphrase is a better summary than an actual explanation of the core claim, I'm more than happy to proceed on that basis. YMMV.
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Old 14th September 2021, 02:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Orphia Nay View Post
"Australian researchers say they've opened the path to a new generation of batteries that could allow an electric vehicle to drive from Melbourne to Sydney on a single charge.

"And the crucial ingredient was a spoonful of sugar."

"a team from Monash University say they've found a way of making lithium-sulfur batteries that are robust enough to be recharged 1,000 times."

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/...cles/100457492
Sweet!
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Old 14th September 2021, 03:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Guilty as charged. I have a general policy of not digging any deeper into the article than the OP does. If the OP thinks a catchphrase is a better summary than an actual explanation of the core claim, I'm more than happy to proceed on that basis. YMMV.
Did you envision this was Mr. Fusion adjacent, extracting 30 or 40 kWh from 50 grams of sugar?

"Sweet" indeed.
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Old 14th September 2021, 04:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jim_MDP View Post
Did you envision this was Mr. Fusion adjacent, extracting 30 or 40 kWh from 50 grams of sugar?

"Sweet" indeed. [ emoji1 ]
I envisioned it was either -

- clickbait crap

or -

- some kind of reasonable claim tarted up to look like clickbait crap.

Turns out to be the latter, and I regret nothing.
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Old 14th September 2021, 05:37 PM   #13
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My first thought was "Fuel Cell?"
Next, add some carbs to a Li battery would do something chemically/calatyticaly to make a better battery.

BUT, just today while searching into my local interest, GM has a plan to extract Lithium from the geo-hydo source under the Salton Sea. Great gobs of it.

And I suspect that Lithium car batteries, like lead-acid, are 100% recyclable? The lithium just needs to be re-refined, cheaper than digging it out of the ground and refining it the first time.
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Old 14th September 2021, 05:44 PM   #14
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Cheaper batteries that have a better weight to energy ratio has huge applications. For example, you could have electric-powered aircraft.
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Old 14th September 2021, 05:49 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I envisioned it was either -



- clickbait crap



or -



- some kind of reasonable claim tarted up to look like clickbait crap.



Turns out to be the latter, and I regret nothing.
This is, oddly, the third "new and amazing" batt tech in development that I've come across just today. I'm an RVer so they're of more than just passing interest or curiosity.

Just wish a couple would pan out... in my lifetime.

Hell... one or more will need to before we get in shouting distance of either of Elon's wet dreams of an EV semi or full batt airliner (he's such a grifter as often as not).
I'd love to see a decent, full sized EV RV someday, but three or four kilowatt hours on the cheap would get me excited for now.

(It's about a buck (US) per watt hour now for consumer pre-built (diy knocks ~40% off)... that needs to come down quite a bit for wide adoption)
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Old 14th September 2021, 05:53 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
My first thought was "Fuel Cell?"
Next, add some carbs to a Li battery would do something chemically/calatyticaly to make a better battery.

BUT, just today while searching into my local interest, GM has a plan to extract Lithium from the geo-hydo source under the Salton Sea. Great gobs of it.

And I suspect that Lithium car batteries, like lead-acid, are 100% recyclable? The lithium just needs to be re-refined, cheaper than digging it out of the ground and refining it the first time.
Hadn't heard about Salton/SoCal, but 6-8 weeks ago I scanned past something about a major find in the UK. Haven't seen anything further though.
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Old 14th September 2021, 07:22 PM   #17
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https://holtvilletribune.com/2021/07...re-geothermal/

Apparently the geo thermal brine is 30% dissolved minerals, .2% is Li. I havn't looked for the further refining process.

But are ALL the geo-brines in the world that rich in Li? Yellowstone? Pacific Rim volcano zone? Greenland?
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Old 14th September 2021, 07:44 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
"Professor Majumder argued that cheaper lithium-sulfur batteries might be able to compete with lithium-ion ones, even if they had to be replaced more often."

This is a pretty important point. If they are cheap enough, performance doesn't need to match Li-ion batteries, it only needs to be good enough.
Perhaps. But there's a lot more to that equation that just the cost of the cells.

They claim to have increased the life to 1,000 cycles, but Li-ion can do 10 times that. Would you be happy with having to replace your EV battery ten times more often? How much of the cost of a battery is the cell contents, and how much is other stuff (which won't be any cheaper)? For sustainability the battery components need to be recycled. If this has to be done 10 times more often the cost will probably be much higher.

An ideal battery would not have to be replaced more often, but would last the lifetime of the vehicle - reducing manufacturing costs because it doesn't have be designed for easy replacement, and reducing maintenance costs. Many vehicles are warranted for 5 years or more today, and EV batteries are typically warranted for 8 years. With Li-S this warranty would have to exclude the battery - which is not an easy sell to the customer (though dealers may like the idea of selling a cheaper vehicle which they make more money from in maintenance charges).

Using sugar to stabilize the cathode may solve one problem, but there are many other problems with Li-S that aren't being talked about, such as power density and the practicality of scaling up to large pouch cells. Li-S may have greater energy density, but the voltage is much lower so the minimum number of series cells required to get an efficient battery voltage (300V+) is much higher, requiring extra wiring and more balancing circuits to equalize the cell voltages.

Until a commercial battery is in production we won't know whether the real lifetime costs will be sufficiently lower to justify the shorter lifespan. I don't expect an answer for at least 5-10 years, by which time Li-ion costs may also have become more competitive.
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Old 14th September 2021, 10:16 PM   #19
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Not sure where you're getting a factory pledge of 10,000 cycles.
AFAIK... cycle life estimates, to 80% capacity, currently run like this... Li-Ion (ex. 18650 etc) 500 -1000 cycles; Li-Po 1000-1500; and our new badazz LiFePo4 (Lithium Iron) 3000-5000.
Of course then many get sold off as 80% used for more usage before recycling. Same here I'd presume.

But you're right the key in all is energy density, it's the only way to eventually get those semis and passenger planes.
But they should be stated as watts per gram, or kilowatts per kilogram. The cell voltage is less relevant (volume on the other hand is not... might not have space for a current crop of low voltage cell packs).
Anyway... if Li-S pans out to any degree I'd expect them to get that cycle life up quite a bit, or settle for specialized applications and not more general consumer use. Same with the Li- liquid metal developments, which honestly might be more promising (it reduces/eliminates dendritic lithium formation... much safer and much longer lifespan).

Sorry... drinking and babbling. What was the question?


Eta... I think we could bump Li Ion and LiPo life in consumer devices if the mfgs would let us tune the charge cycles. Stay between ~10 and ~85% SOC. Don't think it would double, half again and a bit?
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Old 14th September 2021, 10:29 PM   #20
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You were drinking when you wrote that? That is more coherent than my babbling when I'm sober.
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Old 14th September 2021, 10:34 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
You were drinking when you wrote that? That is more coherent than my babbling when I'm sober.
Thanks .. but it took 30 minutes.
Lots of proof/edit, proof/edit... rinse, repeat.

(still several changes I'd prefer .. I'm a crap writer)


I tried early Dragon Naturally voice recog 30 years ago... It laughed at me and uninstalled itself.
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Old 14th September 2021, 10:41 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Perhaps. But there's a lot more to that equation that just the cost of the cells.

They claim to have increased the life to 1,000 cycles, but Li-ion can do 10 times that. Would you be happy with having to replace your EV battery ten times more often? How much of the cost of a battery is the cell contents, and how much is other stuff (which won't be any cheaper)? For sustainability the battery components need to be recycled. If this has to be done 10 times more often the cost will probably be much higher.

An ideal battery would not have to be replaced more often, but would last the lifetime of the vehicle - reducing manufacturing costs because it doesn't have be designed for easy replacement, and reducing maintenance costs. Many vehicles are warranted for 5 years or more today, and EV batteries are typically warranted for 8 years. With Li-S this warranty would have to exclude the battery - which is not an easy sell to the customer (though dealers may like the idea of selling a cheaper vehicle which they make more money from in maintenance charges).

Using sugar to stabilize the cathode may solve one problem, but there are many other problems with Li-S that aren't being talked about, such as power density and the practicality of scaling up to large pouch cells. Li-S may have greater energy density, but the voltage is much lower so the minimum number of series cells required to get an efficient battery voltage (300V+) is much higher, requiring extra wiring and more balancing circuits to equalize the cell voltages.

Until a commercial battery is in production we won't know whether the real lifetime costs will be sufficiently lower to justify the shorter lifespan. I don't expect an answer for at least 5-10 years, by which time Li-ion costs may also have become more competitive.
I think that cars could be designed so that the battery could be replaced more efficiently than the Prius battery. If it is cheaper to build, and recycle, then it would be no more inconvenient than a three yearly service. It would also give much more range. So, a big win.
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Old 14th September 2021, 10:53 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
I think that cars could be designed so that the battery could be replaced more efficiently than the Prius battery. If it is cheaper to build, and recycle, then it would be no more inconvenient than a three yearly service. It would also give much more range. So, a big win.
Several brands are making the public move to LiFePo4. The Prius and earlier Tesla's are mostly 18650 Li-Ion packs IIUC (hundreds and hundreds of the little bastards... I've got two dozen sitting next to me for my e-cigs. Hate 'em).
So I just checked and they don't warranty cycles but rather miles, eg. 100,000 miles.
That's a mere 100 miles per well tended cycle (it's that charge cycle tuning I mentioned). Some EVs are pushing 300,000 on a pack, many over 200,000, so I don't think a newer version will need replacing as often as you're speculating.
But Roger is right about cell voltage if the volume becomes too large for the vehicle. I didn't read that spec for these Li-S cells though. And it's too early to make many guesses on final form with this new concept.
Too buzzed now, maybe tomorrow.
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Old 14th September 2021, 11:04 PM   #24
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Oh sure, there are problems, but it's still a nice step in a better direction, if only to stop the wars in Africa for the battery resources.

And as a chemist, it's a nice and cool bit of new chemistry
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Old 15th September 2021, 06:19 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Jim_MDP View Post
Thanks .. but it took 30 minutes.
Lots of proof/edit, proof/edit... rinse, repeat.

(still several changes I'd prefer .. I'm a crap writer)


I tried early Dragon Naturally voice recog 30 years ago... It laughed at me and uninstalled itself.
Letmeknowifyou find something. Darn thumb,Iadded aspringunder the spacebar soI wouldn'taccidentlyhit some key board shrotcutand selete waht Iapifully typed.
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Old 15th September 2021, 06:37 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Jim_MDP View Post
I tried early Dragon Naturally voice recog 30 years ago... It laughed at me and uninstalled itself.
About 15 years ago I tried one of those language learning programs. It had a feature where you would say the word, your computer would record you, and then it would basically tell you whether or not you were pronouncing it correctly. I was trying out the Chinese version, and one of the beginning bits had you say the word for "ball" in Chinese (can't remember what it was). I had the hardest time getting it to grade my pronunciation as passing, and I couldn't tell the difference between when it accepted and when it rejected what I was saying.

So as an experiment, I tried the English version (that is, the version of the program for people learning English). They used the same vocabulary, so the beginning also started with "ball", but in English. And I'm a native English speaker. Easy, right? Nope. It would still mostly reject my pronunciation.
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Old 15th September 2021, 06:52 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Jim_MDP View Post
But you're right the key in all is energy density, it's the only way to eventually get those semis and passenger planes.
But they should be stated as watts per gram, or kilowatts per kilogram.
That is power density. Energy density would be joules per gram or MJ/kg.
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Old 15th September 2021, 07:17 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by jrhowell View Post
That is power density. Energy density would be joules per gram or MJ/kg.
Good catch... fair point. Though... MJ or kj/kg?

I think for my consumer layman POV, I'll roll with kw/kg or wh/kg, whatever the product comparison in use is.
As if I could afford what I want/need anyway.

Just checked for averages for LFPs and the notations are using volume as well .. wh/L or kJ/L.
Color me confuzzled as ****.
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Old 15th September 2021, 03:56 PM   #29
rjh01
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Originally Posted by Jim_MDP View Post
<snip>

I tried early Dragon Naturally voice recog 30 years ago... It laughed at me and uninstalled itself.
Things have changed a lot over the last 30 years. On my smartphone I send SMS using my voice instead of a keyboard.
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Old 15th September 2021, 05:09 PM   #30
Jim_MDP
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
Things have changed a lot over the last 30 years. On my smartphone I send SMS using my voice instead of a keyboard.
They've improved tremendously.
I posted here late last year when I bought a new ChromeCast, and how freakin' impressed I am with the voice recognition.

I haven't tried any of the dictation programs* but I'd expect something similar. Hadn't thought of SMSs... I'll have to try it.

*I was contracting to NASA back around '90 and we got to play with most everything available, hence the very early Dragon software.
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