Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Battery Power Is the Problem

There is a constant push to develop various electric products. Many ideas have come and gone due to the fault of batteries. Generally, batteries are highly dangerous and corrosive concoctions of acids and volatile metals. They are very heavy but needed power sources. Most of the advances in electronics have come on the hardware side not the power side. We have continued to shrink and combine components saving power and reducing the size of the battery.
What is needed is a different kind of battery that frees us of weight and the many dangers that are trapped in this not so scary case. If we could cut the weight of batteries in half the electric car could actually be achieved. I know there are all these hybrids out there, but I am talking about pure electric. Our current technology is hamstrung by the weight of modern lead acid, deep cycle batteries.
There is a break through that is worth mentioning. It really isn't for cars but freeing our home from the grid would also be a welcomed change.

New battery could change world, one house at a time

The prize is the culmination of 10 years of research and testing -- a new generation of deep-storage battery that's small enough, and safe enough, to sit in your basement and power your home.
It promises to nudge the world to a paradigm shift as big as the switch from centralized mainframe computers in the 1980s to personal laptops. But this time the mainframe is America's antiquated electrical grid; and the switch is to personal power stations in millions of individual homes.
Former energy secretary Bill Richardson once disparaged the U.S. electrical grid as "third world," and he was painfully close to the mark. It's an inefficient, aging relic of a century-old approach to energy and a weak link in national security in an age of terrorism.
Taking a load off the grid through electricity production and storage at home would extend the life of the system and avoid the expenditure of tens, or even hundreds, of billions to make it "smart."
The battery breakthrough comes from a Salt Lake company called Ceramatec, the R&D arm of CoorsTek, a world leader in advanced materials and electrochemical devices. It promises to reduce dependence on the dinosaur by hooking up with the latest generation of personalized power plants that draw from the sun.
Solar energy has been around, of course, but it's been prohibitively expensive. Now the cost is tumbling, driven by new thin-film chemistry and manufacturing techniques. Leaders in the field include companies like Arizona-based First Solar, which can paint solar cells onto glass; and Konarka, an upstart that purchased a defunct Polaroid film factory in New Bedford, Mass., and now plans to print cells onto rolls of flexible plastic.
The convergence of these two key technologies -- solar power and deep-storage batteries -- has profound implications for oil-strapped America.

Read the rest of the story: Batteries of the Future

I had to take a break from the healthcare chaos in DC. We don't want to miss energy discoveries that may change our future. I have always had a deep love and apprieciation for photovoltaic solar energy. It has come a long ways in the 30 years I have been watching it. There is a place for this technology. It will be a little longer before it pencils out as a winner.

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