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New liquid metal battery

First heard about it on the Colbert Report show. It's about that new liquid metal battery:
http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2012/1024/Liquid-meta...
Is Tesla looking into it?

I can't really afford a Tesla right now, but maybe I will have saved enough for the enxt generation?...

It would be nice if it allowed the car to have an even greater autonomy.

Are the engineers of Telsa already looking to se if this new kind of battery can be implemented in thier future projects? Thanks.

Forget to add this link of the inventor's TED exposee:
http://on.ted.com/Sadoway
I know, the usual answer for new battery technology is "we'll look into it once it's out of the lab and into the market", but the guy has almost finished the experimental phase and is looking to commercialize it.

i bet Elon is right when he said 50% of all cars will be electric in 15 years.

looks great, but probably (as Sadoway said) not for cars :(

Right. A shipping container size to hold 2 MWh. That's about what 12 TM batteries handles. It's a low-cost (?) large footprint design. To store enough to supply a city for a day, you'd need about 50,000 of that shipping container size.

I see grid storage (a major application of liquid metal batteries) affecting EVs in three ways:

1. Flattening the peak/off-peak curve: right now, there's a dramatic demand curve over the course of the day. When you charge an EV and night and feed electricity back onto the grid during the day from solar panels, you're taking advantage of a difference in the demand-vs-availability of electricity. Large scale grid storage could flatten that curve, reducing peak cost (and the feed in tariffs that incentivize solar) and raising the off-peak cost (since the night-generated electricity can now be stored and used during the day).

In most markets, a small amount of power could be carried over from night to day, but in the case of Hawaii, where solar is growing and oil is the alternative, I could see large batteries preserving solar energy for use at night, especially in more remote areas.

2. Load leveling: this could mean the greater acceptance of solar and wind power. These sources have a variable output and they would be more useful if their inconsistent supply could be buffered to something a buyer could rely on. As capacity is freed up from one source (such as coal-generated electricity stored overnight) it could be used to level the output of another (such as a solar plant that's subjected to intermittent cloud cover).

While this would be an additional cost, it's complementary to the overnight storage, and the thought is that it would add even more in value than it would in cost. A 2MW solar plant that could only be counted on for 1.5MW might now be trusted to supply 1.75MW, for example.

3. Alternate battery research: Even though this technology doesn't applicable to EVs directly, if it's successful, it may stimulate a competitor to research other technologies that aren't subject to the same patents. In the process, a competitor may develop technology that is more directly applicable to EVs.

His emphasis on low-cost should be taken seriously, though. It would likely be possible to buffer/store as you describe with LiIon, but it would be insanely expensive.

2MWh is a lot. I use roughly that / year. If a person uses ten times my figures then it would be 20000/365 ~= 55kWh/ day. 2000kWh/55kWh ~= 36 people. 50000 * 36 = 1.8 million people. Kinda large city with very sloppy power usage. Maybe a one zero too much?

Timo;
Not so large, and you're making the common mistake of counting only residential use. Everything from commercial buildings to manufacturers to public services to subways or "Skytrains" (Vancouver) come on top of that.

That thought did cross my mind (that if there is any industry into city that estimation is low one, not high one), but I figured that you did think of people alone. Apparently not. OTOH "city" as a concept is a very flexible thing, ranging from couple of tens of thousands to millions of people with and without heavy industry or mass transit systems so estimating usage for that is a bit pointless without more accurate definition (you and me both are guilty).

I think all money spend on research of battery technology are well spend money, no matter if it's for the grid or EVs :-)

Currently it is for handheld devices mainly. Laptops, phones, powertools. That's the strong point for Tesla battery selection: there is absolutely no risk of suddenly be without supplier, if Panasonic goes under there will be someone else making those 18650 batteries.


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