Battery Technology

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Shifty Geezer, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Do you remember when we were promised methanol fuel cells to power our devices? Instant charging, clean energy, super long life...where the hell is that tech??
     
  2. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
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    Samsung is moving ahead with their graphine batteries at least. :)
     
  3. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    It’s not in consumer space yet but does exist in other already heavily regulated spaces. Fuel cells are old tech for some just like micro reactors. The difficulty is always preventing access to the tech to those intending to mis-use it. Power literally is power.
     
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  4. Shifty Geezer

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    I don't buy that. Toshiba had working prototypes of laptop fuel-cells in 2003. They launched a consumer powerstation in 2009 at something like <$300. There are companies supplying fuel-cell generators and there's open, public info on how to build them. It seems more that the tech is large/expensive and hasn't been miniaturised as expected to replace a battery.
     
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  5. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Never sold to consumers because of various regulatory requirements. They only reason Toshiba were even able to research this is because their nuclear fuels division is already heavily regulated

    Never sold outside of China, and since heavily regulated, because of various regulatory requirements.

    Every portable device capable of compromising an aircraft has long since been heavily regulated. When you post questions like "Do you remember when we were promised methanol fuel cells to power our devices? Instant charging, clean energy, super long life...where the hell is that tech?" you have answered your own question when that tech is based on impacted energy materials. :yep2:
     
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  6. Shifty Geezer

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    Really? :-?

    upload_2019-9-7_22-59-38.png

    German produced generator seemingly for anyone to buy, intended for boats, mobile homes, etc: https://www.efoy-comfort.com/ This one has testimonials from customers using them in daily life.
    upload_2019-9-7_23-11-7.png
     
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  7. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    Toshiba did launch a limited edition (only 3,000 units) DMFC power bank in Japan back in 2009. It's claimed to be able to "generate enough power to charge two typical mobile phones" in a single fill. DMFC are not particularly efficient though.
     
  8. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    In the context of powering mobile devices like phones, tablets and laptops? No. I refer you again to my first message,

    Methanol-based fuel cells are used in a number of applications but the issue with methanol-based fuel cells is methanol itself which is toxic to humans and it's use as a chemical has declined as concerns rise. Just last year the EU banned its use in windscreen washing fluids in concentrations above 0.6%. Being both volatile and toxic it represents safety risks and the reluctance to develop and deploy the technology in things like mobile phones and computers is likely that if somebody does this, it will be heavily regulated soon after and the market largely destroyed. Methanol has an energy density around ten times of condensed hydrogen!

    Methanol-based fuel cells, of an approved specific type, are currently permitted on many commercial flights. In part this is a risk-based policy predicated on their being so few. Should they become mainstream, the issue of them being manufactured to lower safety standards and the increase in volume will result in a revisit of this policy.

    Ethanol is only slightly less contentious.
     
  9. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Going by the various products available, power for size isn't great. Typical petrol generators produce far more power for their size. I guess like every technology, the excitement of its potential that appeared in early press was naive of the real-world limitations that an actual product faces. I guess I'll be powering my FED TV with my methanol power-pack any day now...
     
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  10. Shifty Geezer

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    Like petrol? And lithium batteries? You said, "it’s not in consumer space yet but does exist in other already heavily regulated space." I'm pointing you to products and dealers where you can buy generators for domestic use. How is that not in the consumer space? It's not like methanol is a restricted substance. You can even buy it on Amazon!

    Sure but that's flights, and they regulate everything! It's not like health-and-safety of flights has stopped development of hair gel or spray paint which have restrictions for flights. You also said Toshiba was only able to research this because of the Nuclear Fuel Division is heavily regulated. That's clearly nonsense as you can buy the parts to build your own as well as buy complete fuel-cell generators. It's not some incredible super-power source that terrorist could put into portal laser cannons that needs international control to stop it getting into the wrong hands. There's no intrinsic reason to limit development and deployment of a new energy tech for safety reasons above all the other safety regulations out there.

    If fuel-cells could be powering our laptops, they would be. It's a matter of the tech not being good enough rather than the tech being awesome but suppressed by the State to protect everyone. When I asked why, I hadn't looked into it. Now I have - the widespread availability of fuel cells, the open worldwide conferences and discussions, the home-kits one can buy to assemble one's own, the limited power and considerable cost, the US Army looking into creating new methanol fuel cells for powering their tech 5 years from now (they hope) - it's pretty apparent that the tech was just over-promised like all new tech is and the current materials.
     
  11. Davros

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    could you replace methanol with ethanol (aka methylated spirit)
     
  12. Shifty Geezer

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  13. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Generators are large and make a lot of noise, the scope of their mis-use is greatly diminished because of this. You know like how there are tighter regulations on firearms (in most countries) compared to cards yet both are dangerous in the wrong hands. The majority of the the concerns about fuels for "devices" - and I assume you mean portable devices like phones, tablets and laptops here - are predicated on the the ease with which such devices can be concealed for mis-use.

    Are many people spending hours using spray paint or hair gel on flights? People spent a lot of time using their mobile devices ergo, it would be folly to try and sell a device to the public that you may not be able to use to kill time on your flight.

    What devices are you talking about? You said "devices" now you're talking about generators.

    The UN disagrees with you.
     
  14. Shifty Geezer

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    I'm not following your argument at all. This is a recap of how I think the conversation has gone thus far:
    • I wonder where methanol fuel cells have got to after years since Toshiba's early prototypes.
    • You say methanol fuel cells exist but not in the consumer space as it's a dangerous tech that could be abused.
    • I show it's not 'being restricted to consumers on account of being dangerous' as Toshiba released a tech to the public and there was a list of companies supplying to the public.
    • You say DMFC are dangerous and controlled, the only reason Toshiba could research them is they are regulated at nuclear programme level, and those other devices are only sold to China.
    • I point out DMFC isn't sold only in China and I can buy the tech pretty much anywhere.
    • You point to methanol being banned in windscreen wipers as evidence of something (volatile and toxic, although I don't see how that relates to your original posit that 'power is power' and needs to be controlled who gets access to it), and you show DMFC on mobile devices are allowed and regulated on aircraft like other moderate risk hazards.
    • I point out methanol being banned in windscreen wipers isn't indicative of anything and plenty of toxic and volatile substances are allowed and used so there's no reason not for running small devices with methanol (which I don't see how that fits into the original assertion that small DMFC tech exists but is being regulated). I point out regulation of anything on flights is normal and that DMFC devices are regulated on flights doesn't prove the tech is being heavily regulated to prevent it falling into the wrong hands.
      I also point out that small DMFC tech doesn't exist because if it did, the US Army wouldn't be researching it now.
    • You post a number of single counterpoints that don't address the whole argument of keeping "the tech out of the wrong hands."
    So I go back to your quote that I'm disputing and let's ignore the whole 'methanol is toxic' and 'the UN is regulating fuel cell cars to ensure explosive materials aren't dangerously transported around the world' tangents:
    I assert there is no attempt to keep the tech from those wanting to misuse it.
    1. 'The tech' is widely available as evidenced by the existence of generators that anyone wanting to develop the tech could purchase and research.
    2. The tech is not especially dangerous as it's allowed on aircraft and the current state of the art tells us DMFC is low power, long life. There's nothing about DMFCs that show it could be misused any more than petrol, compressed gas, explosive lithium batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, etc.
    3. The tech doesn't already exist in the manner envisioned (laptops/handhelds powered for ages with methanol fuel cells and recharged in a matter of seconds) as if it did, the US Army wouldn't be investing in its research now.
    Unless there are top-secret hush-hush DMFC powered devices, there's nothing out there showing the idea of a DMFC powered PSP is viable technology. And it seems unlikely there are top-secret hush-hush devices because that'd need a technology that's side-stepped the current limitations without anyone knowing about them, and with the US military missing the trick. That also goes against your suggestion that it's 'old tech' and so there's nothing new in these regulated non-consumer devices, but they're just being kept out of consumers hands to prevent the tech falling into the possession of those who'd misuse it.
     
    #14 Shifty Geezer, Sep 8, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
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  15. tangey

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    In the interests of reducing global warming, can I ask that posts 1-13 be removed and we just have post #14 :)
     
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  16. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    I'm not responding to your bullet point list of how your think this conversation went until you clarify what you meant in your initial post. I've sought clarity on this twice and offered that if you're not talking about mobile computing devices like phones, laptops and tablets then we are talking about very different things.

    What 'devices' did you mean? Mobile tech devices and cars and generators are very, very different in terms of portability, concealment, explosive-energy release potential and the volume and composition of the toxicity of methanol chemicals - which is where there regulatory aspects come in.

    Please. Provide. Clarity. :yep2:
     
  17. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Methanol fuel cells for laptops and smaller like handheld gaming devices and mobile phones.
     
  18. Sxotty

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    Of course, researchers at universities get money based on hype, stock prices are based on hype.. Most of these promises we hear are bogus. We do have super fast charging batteries already though, have for a decade they just have low energy density because that is a trade off
     
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  19. Shifty Geezer

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    It seems the problem is size needed for a certain power rating. There's only so much chemical reaction achieved across the catalysts at the moment, meaning you need a minimum catalyst area for a given wattage, limiting size. The end result is a low wattage, long duration power source. It needs improvements in catalysts which is what the US Military is looking at in their research, with a timeline of maybe 5+ years to find something suitable. Still, it took OLED from 1987 to now to become a usable mainstream tech. There's hope for DMFC if a better catalytic process can be found, but it seems the investment isn't there.
     
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  20. Gubbi

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    Battery density (per weight) has increase 5% per year the last three decades, cost has reduced more than 20% per year for the last decade. These improvements, which show little sign of slowing down, is what is rendering alternative power sources moot.

    The improvements in fast charging has also vastly reduced the problem with limited capacity.

    Cheers
     
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