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Electronic News & Comment
Bill Gates Funds 'Big Battery' Startup
12/13/2011

The grid storage battery uses a high-density electrode on the bottom (red), a molten salt electrolyte (yellow), 
and a low-density liquid metal (green) at the top. 
Source: Liquid Metal Battery Corp.
The grid storage battery uses a high-density electrode on the bottom (red), a molten salt electrolyte (yellow),
and a low-density liquid metal (green) at the top.
Source: Liquid Metal Battery Corp.

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sensor pro
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Re: What's so hard about battery technology?
sensor pro   12/14/2011 10:06:42 AM
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I think it is very positive move on his part to invest into something as practical as this. Clearly we need serious investment to try and find a solution to portable power.

davidwheath
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Re: What's so hard about battery technology?
davidwheath   12/14/2011 10:05:15 AM
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Do you complain when you have to refuel your car before reaching your destination? Maybe you find it inconvenient to eat more than once a week. Batteries have come a long way, but can't keep up with the demands and wants of the people. I've had this discussion several times.

davidwheath
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Re: What's so hard about battery technology?
davidwheath   12/14/2011 9:50:24 AM
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Whole-heartedly agree. Too bad we can't change human behavior. Everyone wants more, bigger/smaller, and faster and they want it yesterday. Nevermind the fact we don't need or use it. And I include myself in that behavior as well.

Nick
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Re: What's so hard about battery technology?
Nick   12/14/2011 9:39:34 AM
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I'm far from a battery expert, but my belief is that the substances known to be suitable to build a battery simply don't have the capacity to develop electrical energy for truly long periods.  Think of what is required - regardless of whether we're talking energy storage for wind, or solar, you'd better be able to provide a clean 7-days' worth of electrical energy at advertised output, and those substances simply don't exist currently.

Researchers in Germany are currently working on a battery which shows promise, but a practical prototype is still a few years away.  I don't believe that there's a, "conspiricy theory" at work, because the first one to, "reach the finish line" stands to make a big pile of jack.  Once the final barriers are broken, among other things, you'll see a subsequent, rapid de-centralization of electrical energy generation, because consumers will embrace these technologies.

I've checked into doing something for my family, and truthfully, I need to come up with at least $25,000.00 - $30,000.00 to generate a scant 12-KW reliably.  Payback is well-past 25-years, so guess what?  I'm reluctantly sticking with the electrical energy utility in our area.

 

Thanks.

vimalkumarp
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battery
vimalkumarp   12/14/2011 9:26:06 AM
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Since  solar and wind are intermittent this will be a great boost to the efforts for finding soultions to the energy problem

Semipro
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Re: What's so hard about battery technology?
Semipro   12/14/2011 9:21:28 AM
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"Why is it so hard to make batteries that last long enough for the application, whether it's laptops, EVs or the grid? What's the big deal?"



Are you serious?

Jerry dycus
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Re: What's so hard about battery technology?
Jerry dycus   12/13/2011 5:58:21 PM
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  What's the big deal?  Spoken like someone who doesn't have to do it.

  Facts are we have improved batteries by a factor of 4 but no matter how good they are, everyone wants more for less in a smaller size. Then they bitch when given bleeding edge tech and the laptop bursts into flames! 

  Maybe consumers could stop wanting all those features they never use, maybe a slower cpu or a car that does take 4000lbs to move a 200lb person around?

  And back on topic, we already have $100/kwhr batteries for grid UPS work. They are called lead batteries.  Yet no grid battery banks of them. Why?   Lead in grid UPS use costs under $10/kwhr/yr.

   Could it be there is no market for batteries in that service? 

Jerry dycus
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Re: What's so hard about battery technology?
Jerry dycus   12/13/2011 5:45:49 PM
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  Hi Ann and All,

        Grid storage other than very short term like under 5 minutes peaking  isn't a problem at all.  Why is the grid has been doing that, adjusting the grid since it began around 1900.

       Facts are grid demand is far more variable than RE and supply and demand are really just 2 sides of the same coin. So No, you don't need more than 2% of grid storage and that is just for smoothing out the second to second difference between supply and demand.

       Though that will easily be solved by the smart grid along with home, apt and EV batteries, charging when cheap to absorb extra grid power at night and between daytime peaks while supplying power during peaks.   The utility saves so much in peak power costs and added revenue at off peak EV's might get free fuel for their service.

      Recent CCGT tech can be throttled up to 50% power using NG also will cut the need for grid storage.

  Another Solar thermal panels are used to suppliment NG power plants meaning no storage needed.  Biomass, Hydro also are on demand.   Really the only problems are big distant wind farms that start/stop together and even their with cogen biomass to cover when the wind isn't blowing.

   And last for now, far more RE spread out in small systems on many homes, buildings will average out very well again making storage far less.

  This whole scam was made up by big energy/power because they know RE is already if well shopped in many places competitive with coal even before the 30k people/yr in the US that die, etc. from it's pollution.  And they want the corporate welfare to continue paying congress to make sure it happens.

 

Ann R. Thryft
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What's so hard about battery technology?
Ann R. Thryft   12/13/2011 3:36:01 PM
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Yet another battery that can't hold a charge longer than four hours--reminds me of the ones on my laptop that barely lasted that long last week during a power outage. 

So I'm asking again (I asked this regarding another story), why is it so hard to make batteries that last long enough for the application, whether it's laptops, EVs or the grid? What's the big deal?

And another couple of questions: what are the maintenance costs and what are the hazards of a spent battery, given the metal salts being used?


Charles Murray
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Re: Energy storage for 'Big' applications absolutely necessary
Charles Murray   12/13/2011 1:19:06 PM
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Good point, DW. I can't imagine any reason why there wouldn't be.

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