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Battery Advances

Discussion in 'Intros & Off Topic' started by John Fedup, Aug 8, 2019.

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  1. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    With the increasing interest in lithium ion technology for military and commercial use, I have started this thread for battery news. The link below describes a recycling project for lithium ion batteries which I may have posted elsewhere before. Hopefully this tech works out. A half million gallons of water to produce one ton of lithium is significant. A 95% recovery wouldn’t be great news for the lithium mining industry.

    @John Fedup You forgot to post the link - NM.

    Edited by Moderator.

    Here’s the link I forgot to add.

    Recycling lithium-ion batteries may solve footprint issues | Car News | Auto123
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  2. Black Jack Shellac

    Black Jack Shellac Active Member

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    John

    No link.

    I do know a bit about mining, but without reading the article you are referring to it is difficult to comment.

    Recovery of 95% is good in almost any mine and almost any commodity.

    Half a million gallons may seem like lots, but I am currently working on a project where we need to dewater over 2 million gallons per hour. The bigger issue is where is the water coming from and where is it going.

    As for battery technology, the underground mining industry has a big interest in this, as battery powered equipment can drastically reduce ventilation requirements (currently 100 cfm per hp of diesel in most jurisdictions). Ventilation is typically the biggest single cost in underground mining. Both Epiroc and Sandvik are pushing the technology with larger equipment (40 tonne trucks and 14 tonne loaders right now).

    One other note is that Cobalt is also critical for most lithium ion battery chemistries, and is likely to be a more critical commodity than lithium with most of the cobalt in the world being mined in the DRC - not exactly a politically stable region.

    Cheers
     
  3. tonnyc

    tonnyc Active Member

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    I have some interest in renewable energy and through that, battery technology. I am not aware of any groundbreaking new technology for recovering lithium from old lithium batteries. Current processes already can reach 95% recovery in recycled material. On the mining front, the current leaching process are able to reach similar rate of recovery. What's lacking isn't so much the recycling tech, but rather the investment.

    So I guess this is a request for that link? Because if there is some new development in the technological front, I'd like to know.
     
  4. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    Link has been added to my original post. Should have confirmed, my bad.:(
     
  5. Black Jack Shellac

    Black Jack Shellac Active Member

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    The biggest issue I see is that there is not much lithium to recycle yet. Cars use a lot of lithium, to change all our cars from petrol/diesel to lithium would take far more than could ever be recycled until the fleet reaches a steady state. So I don't think I need to worry about my job just yet :).

    There are about 6 kg of lithium in one Tesla (qty varies by battery pack size ), there are about 70 million cars built each year, which would take 420,000 tonnes of lithium if they were all electric. Current world production of lithium is 43,000 tonnes. There is a good article on lithium availability here .

    So to achieve the green new deal, we need to increase lithium production by a factor of 10 just for passenger cars. I think people need to put away wishful thinking and start planning for reality.
     
    Redlands18 likes this.
  6. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    Agree, there are some realities pollies haven’t thought through. Gas and diesel have to be replaced either by battery, fuel cell or possibly hydrogen internal combustion. The infrastructure for charging millions of electric cars would be a major undertaking and the same applies to hydrogen infrastructure fuelling. I wonder how big junior’s electricity tax need to be in order the cover his electric car rebate program and replace the lost gas tax revenue, pretty big is my guess.
     
  7. tonnyc

    tonnyc Active Member

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    What Black Jack Shellac said matches my observation and conclusion as well. I do want to add that batteries are not the only way to store energy though. Hydrogen, biofuel, and synfuel are possible alternatives too. There are also possible alternative battery technology, such as aluminium-air and carbon-air batteries. Likely most will end up non-viable, but deciding now to go all in on lithium battery tech is folly.

    As for changing the infrastructure, both biofuel and synfuel does not require changing the energy infrastructure. Biofuel is proven to work. Ethanol replaces gasoline and FAME replaces diesel fuel with very minor adjustments needed. That the common method used in making them (grain, sugar, and palm fruit) has issues with how they are done (see US grain subsidy, Brazil forest clearing for sugar cane and Indonesia's for palm trees) does not mean we should dismiss them outright. Ethanol can be obtained via cellulose cracking which enables using grasses as feedstock. FAME can be obtained via algae farms. They still have problems today, but, again, dismissing them now would be mistake.

    Synfuel is just fuel synthesized from some other carbon source. Currently the common carbon feedstock is coal, but given sufficient energy one can use carbon dioxide. If you remember the news when a USN carrier made jet fuel from seawater, that's synfuel. Tweaking the process can get us gasoline, diesel fuel, or LPG, or propane, anything really.

    There are actually lots of things we can use to get a cleaner and more sustainable world. In many cases, once externalities are factored, it can even be cheaper.

    Btw, for the Australians here, get the nuclear power ban lifted. It was politically convenient but gawd it is stupid and shortsighted. Incidentally, batteries pair really well with nuclear power.
     
  8. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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  9. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    @tonnyc ...FAME and ethanol reduce oil consumption but can’t replace it. B5 to B20 seems to be the range depending on diesel manufacturer. Ethanol, same issue plus the political baggage about using food grains for transport. As for nuclear, absolutely the only practical carbon free alternative for base load generation other than a hydro dam.
     
  10. tonnyc

    tonnyc Active Member

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    B20 is accepted as the upper limit of what a car's diesel engine can accept without needing any modifications. Indonesia is trying out B30 in limited number though, maybe they are adding additives to make it more like conventional diesel fuel.

    At any rate I don't expect biofuel to completely replace fossil fuel, but as you said, it will reduce it. As has been pointed out too, there is a real lithium bottleneck. Having alternatives to lithium batteries will actually mitigate this bottleneck. The same lithium bottleneck is also why I am hoping that alternative battery technology will pan out. Something like aluminium or zinc is way more common than lithium. We wouldn't worry about whether mass-adoption of those batteries will be hampered by a shortage of materials (and thus increased price).
     
  11. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    seaspear likes this.
  12. barney41

    barney41 Member

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    The ideal solution may be an ultra capacitor with the energy density of Li ion batteries. Some products utilising Graphene have shown promise.
     
  13. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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  14. PhysicsMan

    PhysicsMan Member

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    There are fundamental issues with batteries that prevent different alternative technologies from competing with Li-Ion. Storage density is only one critical component. Another no less important one (to military applications in particular) is the power it can generate, which is connected to some difficult problems, such as battery voltage (function of the materials used) and the size of the ion being used for charge transport. Li ion happens to be the second smallest after hydrogen, making it the natural choice for fast transport (meaning higher power), because hydrogen is too reactive to be reliable. Which brings up the next big problem, reliability. If an ion is too reactive like hydrogen, the battery will suffer from chemical side reactions and won't last many cycles. Lithium ions are less reactive and can be managed well, which cannot be said for many other ions such as aluminum hydride. I suspect that for critical applications where power delivery matters they will continue to drive Li ion tech forward.
     
  15. StingrayOZ

    StingrayOZ Well-Known Member

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    Even lithium is pretty reactive to be a problem. But there are many sub technologies of Lithium ion batteries. Magnesium batteries may come into play as well with a superior theoretical volumetric density. In military applications there are over a dozen different battery technologies in operational western weapons (such as Silver zinc battery - Wikipedia). Some applications aren't naturally suited to Li-ion.

    In the sub sector, nearly every manufacturer is pushing their own tech and their own alternative energy sources for AIP. But in that sort of application I don't know if I would call aluminium hydride "safe". Safer than some less safe than others. I do think in the long term hydrogen fuel cells will struggle against advanced battery tech.