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Old 10th March 2018, 06:47 PM   #1
a_unique_person
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New Proton Battery Developed

I don't quite understand how it works as charging it involves breaking down water but not creating hyrdrogen. No lithium or rare metals involved though. Sounds promising. Being an Australian invention it will probably be sold overseas for a song.

https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-new...-to-the-proton

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The rechargeable battery is environmentally friendly, and has the potential, with further development, to store more energy than currently-available lithium ion batteries.
Potential applications for the proton battery include household storage of electricity from solar photovoltaic panels, as done currently by the Tesla 'Power wall' which uses lithium ion batteries.

With some modifications and scaling up, proton battery technology may also be used for medium-scale storage on electricity grids - - like the giant lithium battery in South Australia -- as well as powering electric vehicles.
The working prototype proton battery uses a carbon electrode as a hydrogen store, coupled with a reversible fuel cell to produce electricity.

It’s the carbon electrode plus protons from water that give the proton battery it’s environmental, energy and potential economic edge, says lead researcher Professor John Andrews.
“Our latest advance is a crucial step towards cheap, sustainable proton batteries that can help meet our future energy needs without further damaging our already fragile environment,” Andrews said.
“As the world moves towards inherently-variable renewable energy to reduce greenhouse emissions and tackle climate change, requirements for electrical energy storage will be gargantuan.
“The proton battery is one among many potential contributors towards meeting this enormous demand for energy storage. Powering batteries with protons has the potential to be more economical than using lithium ions, which are made from scare resources.
“Carbon, which is the primary resource used in our proton battery, is abundant and cheap compared to both metal hydrogen-storage alloys, and the lithium needed for rechargeable lithium ion batteries.”

During charging, the carbon in the electrode bonds with protons generated by splitting water with the help of electrons from the power supply. The protons are released again and pass back through the reversible fuel cell to form water with oxygen from air to generate power. Unlike fossil fuels, the carbon does not burn or cause emissions in the process.
The researchers’ experiments showed that their small proton battery, with an active inside surface area of only 5.5 square centimetres (smaller than a 20 cent coin), was already able to store as much energy per unit mass as commercially-available lithium ion batteries. This was before the battery had been optimised.
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Old 10th March 2018, 07:02 PM   #2
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Neat.
Thanks for the link!
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Old 10th March 2018, 07:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
I don't quite understand how it works as charging it involves breaking down water but not creating hyrdrogen.
From the link it sounds like it does create hydrogen, that's what protons are.
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Old 10th March 2018, 07:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
From the link it sounds like it does create hydrogen, that's what protons are.
They explicitly say it doesn't. It must bond the hyrdrogen directly to the carbon somehow.

Quote:
During charging, protons produced by water splitting in a reversible fuel cell are conducted through the cell membrane and directly bond with the storage material with the aid of electrons supplied by the applied voltage, without forming hydrogen gas
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Old 10th March 2018, 08:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
They explicitly say it doesn't. It must bond the hyrdrogen directly to the carbon somehow.
They say it produces and stores hydrogen in many sentences of that article. You have one sentence that says "hydrogen gas". Yes, the storage of hydrogen isn't as a gas.
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Old 10th March 2018, 11:09 PM   #6
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That's why I was saying I don't really understand it.

The hydrogen/proton thing could be a bit more clear perhaps.

The hyrdrogen atom splits off from water and goes straight into the carbon 'storage' as a proton somehow.
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Old 11th March 2018, 12:12 AM   #7
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The actual paper is between a paywall unfortunately, but the abstract claims that the protons split from water directly bind to a cabon compound under certain conditions, eliminating hydrogen gas. One catch mentioned is that at higher voltages hydrogen gas is still formed. But like many of the graphene / carbon based batteries it looks interesting in potential, I hope the optimization will work as it will open up a lot of potential energy saving pathways.
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Old 11th March 2018, 01:03 AM   #8
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As background RMIT is one of Australia’s oldest technical (mainly trades) training colleges. A few decades ago it took on the status of a university. The combination of technical heritage and research capability makes it a frominable college. Perhaps Australia’s version of MIT
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Old 11th March 2018, 03:58 AM   #9
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Old 11th March 2018, 04:08 AM   #10
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Lithium is a rare and expensive metal. So if a battery can be made without it then there would be no practical limit to the number of batteries that can be built. They might also be cheaper.
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Old 11th March 2018, 05:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
Lithium is a rare and expensive metal. So if a battery can be made without it then there would be no practical limit to the number of batteries that can be built. They might also be cheaper.
Well yeah, except nobody has mentioned what it takes to make the protons behave that way. All we know is carbon and water, and a way to get oxygen in and out. Do you think the catalyst is made from cow bones? Or is a rare earth more likely?
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Old 11th March 2018, 06:26 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
Well yeah, except nobody has mentioned what it takes to make the protons behave that way. All we know is carbon and water, and a way to get oxygen in and out. Do you think the catalyst is made from cow bones? Or is a rare earth more likely?
The main article mentions a phenolic compound and high acidity. Under certain conditions the -OH group of phenol could accept another proton, so maybe they use that?
Like I said, the main article is paywalled, so maybe someone with access to a subscription could read it and say.
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Old 11th March 2018, 06:30 AM   #13
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Addendum, while a catalyst might not be cheap, the main thing about a catalyst is that you need a very small amount, whereas you need a lot of lithium in a normal battery.
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Old 11th March 2018, 10:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
Addendum, while a catalyst might not be cheap, the main thing about a catalyst is that you need a very small amount, whereas you need a lot of lithium in a normal battery.
Accirding to FT 27 Feb there is a strong degree of optimism about future supplies of lithium, with prices declining towards $7,000 per ton by 2021.

Was that element not created - albeit in relatively modest amounts - in the Big Bang, rather than collapsing or colliding stars producing it in more recent supernovas?
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Old 11th March 2018, 10:44 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Accirding to FT 27 Feb there is a strong degree of optimism about future supplies of lithium, with prices declining towards $7,000 per ton by 2021.

Was that element not created - albeit in relatively modest amounts - in the Big Bang, rather than collapsing or colliding stars producing it in more recent supernovas?
Aye, but it still is more expensive and denser than most carbon compounds, has environmental issues and its reactive with water, which is why it would open up a lot of technologies if we could replace it with something like the OP.

Of course, IF it actually works and can be made commercially, which is by no means proven yet.
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Old 11th March 2018, 03:38 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
Aye, but it still is more expensive and denser than most carbon compounds, has environmental issues and its reactive with water, which is why it would open up a lot of technologies if we could replace it with something like the OP.

Of course, IF it actually works and can be made commercially, which is by no means proven yet.
They have the multi meter connected to it.

What they probably need now is a lot of money.
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Old 11th March 2018, 06:27 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Was that element not created - albeit in relatively modest amounts - in the Big Bang, rather than collapsing or colliding stars producing it in more recent supernovas?
It was created in minuscule (1 in 10,000) amounts in the Big Bang. However there is a current issue in cosmology that we don't find as much present in the oldest stars as we'd expect from that theory. Most of it was created post big bang.

Why do you ask?
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Old 11th March 2018, 10:00 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
It was created in minuscule (1 in 10,000) amounts in the Big Bang. However there is a current issue in cosmology that we don't find as much present in the oldest stars as we'd expect from that theory. Most of it was created post big bang.

Why do you ask?
Because if it was created in the BB it might be intrinsically more abundant than the elements later produced in relatively rare occurrences like colliding collapsed stars.
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Old 11th March 2018, 10:36 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Because if it was created in the BB it might be intrinsically more abundant than the elements later produced in relatively rare occurrences like colliding collapsed stars.
Or it might be intrinsically less abundant, as it is.

Colliding collapsed stars?? What is that about?
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Old 11th March 2018, 10:51 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Or it might be intrinsically less abundant, as it is.

Colliding collapsed stars?? What is that about?
It's about this sort of thing.
The merger of two neutron stars captivated thousands of observers and fulfilled multiple astrophysical predictions. On 17 August, scientists around the world witnessed something never seen before: One hundred and thirty million light-years away, two neutron stars spiraled into each other in a spectacular explosion that was studied by observatories ranging from gamma ray detectors to radio telescopes. The blast confirmed several key astrophysical models, revealed a birthplace of many heavy elements, and tested the general theory of relativity as never before. That first observation of a neutron-star merger, and the scientific bounty it revealed, is Science’s 2017 Breakthrough of the Year.
ETA The origin of chemical elements including those formed in collisions of neutron stars is shown in this table.

Last edited by Craig B; 11th March 2018 at 11:02 PM. Reason: ETA
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Old 11th March 2018, 10:53 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
They have the multi meter connected to it.

What they probably need now is a lot of money.
They are part of a research institution, so they have the money. It looks like a quite normal experimental battery paper, not a free energy money scam.
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Old 11th March 2018, 11:22 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
It's about this sort of thing.
The merger of two neutron stars captivated thousands of observers and fulfilled multiple astrophysical predictions. On 17 August, scientists around the world witnessed something never seen before: One hundred and thirty million light-years away, two neutron stars spiraled into each other in a spectacular explosion that was studied by observatories ranging from gamma ray detectors to radio telescopes. The blast confirmed several key astrophysical models, revealed a birthplace of many heavy elements, and tested the general theory of relativity as never before. That first observation of a neutron-star merger, and the scientific bounty it revealed, is Science’s 2017 Breakthrough of the Year.
ETA The origin of chemical elements including those formed in collisions of neutron stars is shown in this table.
But lithium isn't primarily produced that way.
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Old 11th March 2018, 11:35 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
But lithium isn't primarily produced that way.
Indeed. That's exactly what I was saying at the beginning of this exchange:
Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Was that element not created - albeit in relatively modest amounts - in the Big Bang, rather than collapsing or colliding stars producing it in more recent supernovas?
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Old 12th March 2018, 04:36 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
They are part of a research institution, so they have the money. It looks like a quite normal experimental battery paper, not a free energy money scam.
I don't think it's a scam. Going from a prototype to a commercial product can be the hardest part in Australia. We only seem to understand digging up dirt and selling livestock.
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Old 12th March 2018, 05:07 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
Lithium is a rare and expensive metal. So if a battery can be made without it then there would be no practical limit to the number of batteries that can be built. They might also be cheaper.
Lithium is neither rare, nor expensive. I'm not sure why people are so confused on this issue. It's almost as if people think that lithium is a major component of a lithium-ion battery.

Here's a giant hint: IT'S NOT.

Lithium on average makes up less than 5% of the battery by volume.
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Old 12th March 2018, 07:27 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Indeed. That's exactly what I was saying at the beginning of this exchange:
Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Was that element not created - albeit in relatively modest amounts - in the Big Bang, rather than collapsing or colliding stars producing it in more recent supernovas?
But that doesn't seem to be saying the right thing. A minority of the lithium around today was created in the Big Bang. The rest was created by stars by several mechanisms. The exact breakdown of the contribution of the various mechanisms is still controversial though.
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Old 12th March 2018, 09:36 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
But that doesn't seem to be saying the right thing. A minority of the lithium around today was created in the Big Bang. The rest was created by stars by several mechanisms. The exact breakdown of the contribution of the various mechanisms is still controversial though.
It's also a very roundabout way to get at the salient point: how rare is lithium? Sure, we could look at how it was produced and how much of it was produced by each mechanism, and look at the formation of the solar system and how much lithium we'd expect to end up on the earth based on various models...

Or we could just say: "how rare is lithium on the earth?"

Though actually the important question is to do with how easy it is to get in the form that we want it, and the best measure of that is probably it's price.
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Old 12th March 2018, 09:50 AM   #28
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A major issue with lithium is if you start the the process to extract it from ore - it takes two years to process into a useable form which creates a very tough lead time for a booming sector.
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Old 12th March 2018, 10:33 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Because if it was created in the BB it might be intrinsically more abundant than the elements later produced in relatively rare occurrences like colliding collapsed stars.
Ir that were true, lithium should be cheaper and more plentiful than lead.
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Old 12th March 2018, 01:46 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
Ir that were true, lithium should be cheaper and more plentiful than lead.

By volume, it is!
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Old 13th March 2018, 08:47 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
Ir that were true, lithium should be cheaper and more plentiful than lead.
Lithium is a very common element in the earth's crust, it is also highly reactive and usually bound. Wiki thinks it is a little more prevalent than lead

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium#Terrestrial
"At 20 mg lithium per kg of Earth's crust,[48] lithium is the 25th most abundant element."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead#On_Earth
This accounts for lead's relatively high crustal abundance of 14 ppm; it is the 38th most abundant element in the crust.[91][k]
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