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What if EEStor is Real?

eestorpatent_1For those of you who don't know, there's a company out there that's attracted the interest of venerable venture capitalists, established corporations, politicians, and even a few bloggers with claims that seem nearly impossible. Now, this isn't Steorn, it's not free energy. What they're talking about is possible without re-writing the laws of physics. But what they say they can do would change things. A lot of things.

EEStor says that they are working on purchase cialis online an "electrical energy storage unit" (EESU - explained in more detail here, if you're curious) that would hold ten times the amount of power as todays most advanced batteries at the same weight. This  storage unit would be able to we use it natural cialis charge and 5 mg viagra recharge infinitely without any loss of capacity and charging time (with enough power) could be brought down to three or four minutes. The storage units can be infinitely stacked together for applications as small as watch batteries and as large as grid-level power storage. And, of course, the technology is 10 times cheaper than lithium ion batteries. In short. it all sounds too good to be true.

I wouldn't even be wrting about this if EEStor didn't have investments from very smart people and contracts with very large companies. But that doesn't mean I'm not still skeptical. Smart people have been duped before. But because EEStor has been in the news an awful lot, and their strategic partner ZENN Motors says that they will be putting these devices into cars by early next year, let's try and figure out what this would mean for the world.

  1. Electric cars, of course, would become much more practical. While the EESU wouldn't be able to charge in 5 minutes at home with a 220 volt plug, it could charge in five minutes at high-power charging stations. This infrastructure would have to be built however, and the technology isn't cheap. Just like hydrogen or ethanol or Better Place's battery swapping stations, EESU's would require new infrastructure. The only electric vehicles that do not require new infrastructure are cars designed not to travel out of enter site levitra uk the city and cars with on-board, gas-powered generators like the viagra prescription only Volt.
  2. ZENN Motor company currently has exclusive rights to put EESU's in four-wheeled vehicles that weigh less than 3,000 lbs. ZENN will likely sell those rights fairly quickly if the EESU pans out. If they don't, we'll be stuck with lithium ion for a while anyway.
  3. However, companies working on next-generation batteries for electric vehicles, including A123, LG Chem, GM, Tesla, Toyota and many more, will find themselves with a lot of useless research on their hands. Lithium ion batteries will never hit the numbers EEStor has claimed for it's EESU.
  4. Battery swapping technology may or may not become completely obsolete. Project Better Place's system of swapping out batteries to reduce the need for charging batteries could be used for EESU's instead of batteries. However, it's difficult for me to just try! cialis for cheap imagine that high-power quick-charging infrastructure wouldn't be far cheaper than battery-swapping facilities.
  5. Renewable energy sources would become much more viable. Currently, options for storing power generated during windy or sunny times of the day are limited and viagra india inefficient. An EEStor grid-level battery could store power for use at other times during the day at a comparatively low cost.
  6. The world might actually see a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions because of the EESU.

Let's remember, there are a lot of "if"s here. EEStor's technology could be viable, but costs could rise, imperfections could be found. It's very possible that the EESU will hit the market and lithium ion batteries will remain competitive with the new technology. Time will tell...I'm looking forward to it.


Li-ion Battery Recycling Starts Getting Attention

lithiumionbatteryCar batteries actually have the viagra canada generic highest recycling rate of any waste product in the world. Since they are, effecively, blocks of valuable metals, it isn't hard to get someone to pay for them once they stop holding a charge. However, while that easily applies for lead-acid and nickel batteries currently being used in traditional and hybrid vehicles, it's not as simple for lithium ion batteries.

Lithium ion batteries just don't have much in them that is economically useful. Currently, lithium carbonate is pretty cheap stuff, and it just isn't economically viable to recover it from batteries. Of course, thtoxcoat could easily change. As more and more batteries are produced, the world's current capacity for lithium could easily be strained.

Additionally, from an environmental perspective, it would be really bad news to have a new kind of battery that no one wants to recycle. Even if it isn't economically viable, Li-ion batteries contain all kinds of weird stuff that we don't want leaching into the ground water.

Those are the two reasons why Toxco, a company that already recycles nickel and lead batteries, is getting into the Li-ion game. And, also, why the DOE just gave Toxco a $9.5M grant to obtain levitra without prescription develop lithium battery recycling technology.

Toxco has been recycling small lithium ion batteries for more than a decade already, but new chemistries and the possible bulk of vehicle batteries is requiring them to re-focus on lithium. Hopefully, recycling Li-ion batteries will soon be just as easy as recycling any other kind of car battery. If not, it will be harder to sell buyers on the "green" part of electric vehicles.

One thing I won't say is that we're just "trading one unstable fuel for another" and that soon we'll be dependant on unbalanced countries for our lithium. Lithium is not a fuel, it's way of storing power. It is not used up by car batteries and there is plenty of it in the world. Don't start worrying that lithium is the next crude oil, it's not, especially if we can get good recycling technology going.

Via Technology Review


Ceramatec: Bringing Distributed Power Storage to Your Home

ceramatecA company in Utah is developing a battery system for home-based electricity storage that may make energy storage much easier and more economical for off-the-grid homes as well as helping to improve the efficiency of grid-tied homes. The technology being developed by Ceramatec is a new variation on sodium sulfur batteries, an existing technology with very high energy density, but best suited for very large scale, industrial style installations such as grid storage. However, these batteries have the potential to bring the cialis soft advantages of generic viagra mastercard sodium sulfur batteries to a much wider range of uses.

Currently, sodium sulfur batteries operate at very high temperatures - above 300 degrees C (572 degrees F), and the components in them are corrosive. This isn't the sort of thing that you would want in your home, and, for efficiency, they work best at a much larger size; they aren't really at a home-scale size. On the other hand, there are some advantages to sodium sulfur batteries. They use very common and inexpensive materials, which makes them attractive. And the high energy density means that a small battery is all that is needed for a large amount of energy storage.

The Ceramatec battery separates the sulfur and sodium from each other with a thin ceramic membrane which allows electricity to be stored while operating at a much lower temperature. Ceramatec envisions a refrigerator-sized unit that would remain below 98 degrees C (208 degrees F), the melting point of sodium. Keeping the sodium solid makes for a much safer battery. The battery could store 20 kWh worth of energy, either from local, sustainable sources such as wind or solar, or from off-peak recharging from the grid, much like a plug-in hybrid car recharges when the grid demand is low.

One of the biggest obstacles for implementing home-based power generation has been the lack of storage options. Grid tied net-metering options are available in many states, but not in all. And net-metering is, in many cases, not an especially attractive option when the homeowner's overproduction of where can i get viagra pills electricity simply becomes the follow link viagra online canada no prescription utility's windfall. And off-the-grid homes don't have this option available at all; some kind of storage is necessary. Conventional lead-acid type batteries need frequent, regular maintenance to be kept in proper condition. They also should be kept in special enclosures with ventilation to allow hydrogen gas (which can escape from the batteries in their normal course of operation) to escape and prevent an explosion hazard. Lead acid batteries are also only good for a limited number of cycles before they need to be replaced.

Ceramatec says its new generation of battery would deliver a continuous flow of 5 kilowatts of electricity over four hours, with 3,650 daily discharge/recharge cycles over 10 years. With the batteries expected to sell in the neighborhood of $2,000, that translates to less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour over the battery's life. Conventional power from the grid typically costs in the neighborhood of 8 cents per kilowatt hour.
This technology is of best price cialis without prescription potential interest to everyone, not just to we use it how much does cialis cost homeowners with their own power generation systems. Many parts of the country offer off-peak rates for electricity that are lower than daytime costs. This is because demand is lower during evening and overnight hours. Along with overnight recharge of plug-in hybrid automobiles, houses with their own battery storage could store electricity overnight for use the following day. This would provide cheaper electricity for the homeowner, while also reducing the daytime demand on the grid. This, in turn, would be a more efficient use of existing grid infrastructure, and could help reduce demand for new generating plants.

This kind of distributed storage of electricity will also potentially make it much easier to incorporate sustainably-based generation into the grid. Methods to tell home storage units when to recharge could readily be based on wow look it dosage levitra existing utility systems that can turn off power for air conditioning during peak demand periods. This way, intermittent sources and local sources can more easily be incorporated into the grid, and a locally produced electricity (along with increased efficiency from reduced transmission losses) can only be helped by this technology taking off.

links: Popular Mechanics Daily Herald


Everything you Ever Wanted to Know about EEStor

The Oil Drum (one of my favorite clean-tech resources) has a post up from JoulesBurn that contains pretty much everything you need to know about EEStor.

Now, if you're wondering why you need to know anything at all about EEStor, here's a quick explanation. The company says that they can make "power storage devices" (not technically batteries, more like peculiar capacitors) that can hold 10x more power than advanced lithium ion cells. These "electrical energy storage units" will be lighter than the most advanced batteries in the world, can charge in minutes and will last forever.

It sounds too good to be true, but so many credible sources have been won over after viewing their technology, and they have had so many investors and clients interested in the technology, that there's actually a chance that it's real. If it is real, electric vehicles will be much more practical, less expensive and more convenient than we ever expected them to be.

So it's worth reading this article that will get your brain ready to hear more about this possibly miraculous technology.


Low-Cost Lithium Sulfur Batteries Could Quadruple Life

When lithium-ion batteries were first introduced as replacements for older, heavier nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, they offered a breakthrough in greater energy density and lighter weight. This technology has made its way through the field of consumer electronics, and lithium-ion batteries are now ubiquitous. The next step in battery technology may come from the University  of Waterloo, where Dr. Linda Nazar is working to develop lithium-sulfur batteries with promising characteristics including three to five times the storage of current lithium-ion batteries.

While most current electric vehicles and hybrids, including the just try! buy prescription levitra without Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight, use NiMH batteries, lithium-ion is beginning in their next generation as well. The Tesla Roadster uses lithium-ion batteries as will the Chevy Volt. A lithium-sulfur battery of click now generic levitra mexico comparable weight for a vehicle could significantly extend its range, allowing for more flexible use in an all-electric mode. Or, with the increased energy density available, a vehicle with a similar range could be made significantly lighter through the use of a much smaller lithium-sulfur battery.

Sulfur is currently a component in other large scale storage systems, such as sodium-sulfur batteries, but those require high temperatures and are better suited to fixed location applications, such as grid storage, rather than for portable use. Lithium-sulfur batteries may make sulfur storage energy available in a more portable form.

The lithium sulfur batteries are created by creating assemblies of carbon nanorods that are coated with molten sulfur to fill the voids. The nanoscale structure sets up conditions to keep the sulfur in contact with the carbon, allowing for the repeated charging and discharging necessary for useful rechargeability.

Lithium sulfur batteries have the potential to significantly reduce the size of batteries because they have a higher energy density than other comparable lithium-based batteries.

“This composite material can supply up to nearly 80 percent of the theoretical capacity of sulphur, which is three times the energy density of lithium transition metal oxide cathodes, at reasonable rates with good cycling stability,” said Dr. Nazar.

Sulfur's availability and low cost may help bring this technology  to market. The research team has filed for patents on their process and viagra doses are working on developing it commercially. According to a press release announcing the research publication, sulfur is a less-expensive material than many others used in lithium-based batteries. "It has always showed great promise as the ideal partner for a safe, low cost, long lasting rechargeable battery, exactly the kind of battery needed for energy storage and transportation in a low carbon emission energy economy."

via: The Future of Things and NSERC

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