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Power The Almighty Buck

Stimulus Could Kickstart US Battery Industry 369

Posted by kdawson
from the charging-ahead dept.
Al sends along a Technology Review piece that begins "Provisions in the Congressional stimulus bill could help jump-start a new, multibillion-dollar industry in the US for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrids and electric vehicles and for storing energy from the electrical grid to enable the widespread use of renewable energy. The nearly $790 billion economic stimulus legislation contains tens of billions of dollars in loans, grants, and tax incentives for advanced battery research and manufacturing, as well as incentives for plug-in hybrids and improvements to the electrical grid, which could help create a market for these batteries. Significant advances in battery materials, including the development of new lithium-ion batteries, have been made in the US in the past few years; but advanced battery manufacturing is almost entirely overseas, particularly in Asia."
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Stimulus Could Kickstart US Battery Industry

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  • by snspdaarf (1314399) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @05:46PM (#26895089)

    Can someone tell us what the stimulus *will* actually do?

    It *will* increase the deficit.
    Other than that, the jury is still out.

  • by senorpoco (1396603) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @05:48PM (#26895125)
    http://www.rules.house.gov/111/LegText/hr1_legtext_cr.pdf [house.gov] QUALIFIED PLUG-IN ELECTRIC VEHICLE is defined as a vehicle "which is propelled to a significant ex- tent by an electric motor which draws electricity from a battery which "(i) has a capacity of not less than 4 kilowatt hours (2.5 kilowatt hours in the case of a vehicle with 2 or 3 wheels), and "(ii) is capable of being recharged from an external source of electricity.-"
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:12PM (#26895435)

    Please stop making false claims that would have taken you 3 seconds to check.

    http://www.toxco.com/ [toxco.com]

    There you go they recycle. Besides if no one recycled them why would the recycling centers and such pay so much for old lithium batteries?

  • by Rei (128717) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:37PM (#26895745) Homepage

    You can hand-pick talking points out of the bill. Or, you could actually see the breakdowns [recovery.gov]. Your call, I suppose. Once the grants start going out, that site will even have every last contractor, what's going to what congressional district for what projects in that district, and on and on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @07:01PM (#26896027)

    As an R&D type who has spent way too much time in the business world I can tell you that Obama, despite having thrown gargantuan amounts of money at this, is going to have a hard time making it stick.

    Western business has a sickness which one might call "middle man disease". For every $1 put into battery factories, 90c will go on financiers, accountants, marketers, "business development" and whatever else the middle men of today choose to call themselves.

    It is folklore that in certain parts of the world nothing gets done without bribing the right people. We have the same thing in the West except its a legalised, lobby-driven, slick form of bribing.

    For example in my native UK whenever the govt has some new "initiative" its remarkable how the same usual self-promoting suspects are quick to get around the trough. Despite inventing nothing (and contributing very little) this is where the vast majority if the funding gets creamed off. When the oxbridge/city/public school set have had their fill what little is left is passed on to their mates the next stratum down.

    And so on and so forth. On and on, down and down until the likes of you and me see a pitiful salary and a budget so tight nothing of value can be done and under terms and conditions so punishing (think: ownership of arising intellectual property) that nobody in their right mind would even think of getting out of bed to do it.

    Its a systemic sickness and Obama needs to get a clue real quick that between his lofty goals and the poeple doing the actual work lurk the layers upon layers of talentless parasites that got us here in the first place.

    It makes me mad that ANOTHER generation is lost to the same ivy-league/power/money/military-industrial complex.

  • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @07:24PM (#26896269)

    However, the EV1 had one gigantic problem: the battery pack was so big that you barely had room for a decent interior! Small wonder why the idea failed.

    A better solution is plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, where you have a powerful battery offering about 40-50 miles range on a full battery charge and then the vehicle operates like a normal hybrid vehicle a la Toyota Prius. Indeed, the 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid already are ready for PHEV conversion as soon as higher density storage batteries are available (whether lithium-ion, zinc-air or ultracapacitor types).

    Since most commuting is under 15 miles in range, PHEV's will likely operate in mostly all-electric mode for commute drives.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @08:20PM (#26896725) Journal
    Just, lets make cars have more weight than either approach alone, and have all the issues of both as well.

    I have never understood why ppl push such crap. The serial hybrid makes sense for SOME vehicles. For example, an offroad like a hummer, or a long distance semi truck. That REALLY makes sense for both. BUT for the average driver, they rarely drive more than 100 miles/day. So instead, cars should electrical with at least 100 mile range, AND the ability to have a trailer with power. In particular, a van is the ideal EV to start with. Not commercial, but home use. For moms. Most home vans carry ppl and little else for 10-30 miles. But if you could rent a small trailer and then drive across country, it would be ideal for the occasional event.
  • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @08:29PM (#26896789)

    But, would you like to pay $5 a AA battery? That's what the result would be. As much as we hate pollution and forced Chinese labor, we also hate high prices even more. Also, what would you do with Mexicans and Canadians smuggling batteries across the border. That's what will happen, like it or not.

    Exactly, I mean a factory that employs 50 people and makes millions of batteries per year would experience significant savings if they could pay Chinese wages.

    Wait a minute: Union wages x 50 employes / millions of units = very very small labor premium per unit. Turns out maybe battery manufacturing is probably dominated by the material costs, which aren't really any cheaper in China after all. All in all, it will probably add a few cents to the cost of "Made in USA" batteries.

    But I'm just /. spewing right? Anyone can pull numbers out of their ass!! If only there was some American AA battery factory out there so we could see the reality. Lucky us:

    "All Panasonic Alkaline batteries are made in the U.S.A. at our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Columbus, Georgia."

    Of course, those are "Panasonic Industrial Alkalines" those are gonna cost you a fortune:
    Panasonic Industrial AA Batteries 24/carton - $9.60
    Works out to $0.40 per battery. I think we'll cope.

    I accept your apology.

    Cites:

    Made in USA claim:
    http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/battery/oem/chem/alk/ [panasonic.com]
    Panasonic Industrial AA's for sale:
    http://www.jirehsupplies.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=PI-AA [jirehsupplies.com]

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @09:30PM (#26897389) Journal
    Energizer industrial AA batteries are made in the US. They cost $0.33 apiece.
  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:52PM (#26898061)

    It's not taking it out of your pocket. It's taking it out of your kids pockets, since it's all borrowed.

  • by GodInHell (258915) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:23PM (#26898287) Homepage
    Wow -- the ratio of mantra to mental effort on that post slid heavily toward BS.

    The market dictactes the most efficient way for capital to achieve it's end -- the creation of additional capital in the hands of those who hold capital. For the few who succeed in this effort it is an amazingly efficient system. Unfortunately these efficiencies include allowing the poor and the elderly to die of starvation and lack of health care -- a very economical solution to excess labor -- but one that our society fortunately rejected in Victorian England.

    The problem with market efficiency arguments are that they rarely consider the fact that we have an inefficient number of mouths to feed. The key force of market efficiency is destruction, the stripping away of that which cannot survive on its own -- like bad banks and people born with diseases that lock them out of the job market -- allowing them to die makes the market better.

    We do not have a free market, and we have rejected the concept that market efficiency is the same as human efficiency. Face facts, if you sat down the polis and debated between a pure free market solution -- including the mass starvation, depredation of wealth, exclusion and disolution of the middle class, they would rather string you up than vote for your dogma.

    Free market capitalism is the opposition to hardline communism -- both extremes are corrupt and useless ideological dead weight. Get over it.

    -GiH

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:20AM (#26900389)

    That is.

    You're imagining that there are dollars outside your system which can come in and pay your debt.

    National currencies aren't like that. All the dollars and all the debt are already there inside.

    The US is in this position; All it's debts are denominated in US dollars. There are 47 trillion in US debts. There are only 11 trillion US dollars.

    How can you pay back the debt? No matter what you do. No matter how efficient you are, no matter how hard you work. There are still only 11 trillion dollars to pay back 47 trillion in debt. Even worse, most of those dollars (90%) are credit, so they simply vanish when they pay the principal on the debt.

    The genius of the capitalist system is that it gets you busy working as hard as you can and you simply get deeper and deeper in debt.

  • Re:How is it racism? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @11:33AM (#26903021) Homepage

    Well, I'm not buying the sub-prime thing. The total value of all mortgages in the USA is only about 10 trillion dollars, and so I would think that if the subprime mess were the problem, that's only about two trillion worth, and the USA has already pumped that much money into the banking system to cover those losses, either via TARP, or via games played with the Federal Reserve.

    The only reason you're "not buying" it is because you haven't actually learned anything about it. Go read about Credit Default Swaps. They multiplied the effect of the housing bubble many times over. We're talking 10s of trillions of dollars in a completely unregulated market, dollars that evaporated as the housing bubble burst.

    'course, why would you want to actually educate yourself? It's far easier, here on Slashdot, to just spout off without actually understanding the topic you're discussing...

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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