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Power

Sand-Based Anode Triples Lithium-Ion Battery Performance 60

Posted by timothy
from the but-where-will-it-comes-from? dept.
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Conventional lithium-ion batteries rely on anodes made of graphite, but it is widely believed that the performance of this material has reached its zenith, prompting researchers to look at possible replacements. Much of the focus has been on nanoscale silicon, but it remains difficult to produce in large quantities and usually degrades quickly. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have overcome these problems by developing a lithium-ion battery anode using sand."
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Sand-Based Anode Triples Lithium-Ion Battery Performance

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  • Launch date (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kingsaj2 (1390849) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @06:54AM (#47437313)
    Can we have announcements when these products are actually launched and are in use. Every month we hear of some new battery tech that will revolutionise everything in 5+ years time.
  • by Rei (128717) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @07:37AM (#47437377) Homepage

    Commercial li-ion battery energy densities have continued to improve during that time period, including the commercial introduction of cells with silicon anodes. Of course, silicon anodes are a new tech, so there's a great deal of room for improvement, which probably won't come close to "maxing out" for a decade or more.

    Of course, that said, this article is your typical fluff piece following the guidelines of fluff science reporting.

    1. Present an oversimplified version of one technology challenge that may or may not address the biggest issue and certainly doesn't address all of them - but don't mention that.
    2. Introduce an outside-the-establishment loner with a passion - or at least someone you can try to present as "outside the establishment" and glaze over anyone who helped him.
    3. Loner gets a "vision" based on some everyday activity
    4. Present their solution and make it out to be a huge revolution that will certainly solve all our problems - if they can only get corporate backing / funding!

    I think these sort of articles hurt the image of science because people read them, think "OMG, all our problems are solved!", then when everything's not solved afterward, fail to trust science in the future. For example, in this case, the most important element to improve is the cathode, not the anode. And cathode improvements are less common and usually less major than anode improvements. There's also tons of different anode improvements out there in various stages of research. Pretty much all of the silicon ones get way better than graphite or amorphous carbon.

    That doesn't mean that this isnt an important paper - actually, from looking at it, it looks pretty good. It's just not "all that".

    BTW, anyone know how credible this journal is? I see it's hosted on Nature.com but not part of Nature, and I tried to find an impact rating for it but couldn't.

  • Re:Launch date (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @09:03AM (#47437669) Homepage

    Here is the rub, as they continually improve batteries committing to a production line becomes harder. Getting say fifteen years of life out of a battery production line becomes impossible with batteries improving every year and your production line being way behind latest technology.

    So there are certain levels in development where sufficient gain is made to commit to a production line even though the batteries will be out of date or the production line is based around a much reduced life with substantial impact on battery price. This is aided by government subsidises, making it possible to initiate a battery production line with less than optimal outcomes.

    Of course producing batteries builds the infrastructure and pays for more development. It is getting pretty obvious though that full scale electric vehicles are no longer that far off as battery technology continues to develop and companies can commit to major battery production lines with a required life to pay for that production line.

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