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Power Technology

Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film 119

puddingebola (2036796) writes "A team at Stanford has created a stable Lithium anode battery using a carbon honeycomb film. The film is described as a nanosphere layer that allows for the expansion of Lithium during use, and is suitable as a barrier between anode and cathode. Use of a lithium anode improves the coulombic efficiency and could result in longer range batteries for cars." The linked article suggests that the 200-mile-range, $25,000 electric car is a more realistic concept with batteries made with this technology, though some people are more interested in super-capacity phone batteries.
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Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Always good to read successful tests like this. Of course I am curious how well it scales, how long it survives under normal use, and how difficult the recycling/reclamation process is after the maximum capacity fades to useless levels.

    (also, the story looks better here [])

  • More Range Needed (Score:2, Informative)

    by pubwvj ( 1045960 )

    Nice but I need more range. 800 miles would be ideal. Alternatively I need a 10 minute charge time and 300 miles. This would be for a light delivery truck. There are a lot of light delivery vehicles out there. (How else did you think photos got from the sun to here...)

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by geekoid ( 135745 )

      yeah. and when it gets to 800, you'll say a 1000 and so on.

      The worlds burning, but that doesn't mean you should take a whole 30 minutes to charge up.
      When fuel is 10 dollars at the pump with a longer charge seem better? 20 dollars?

      • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Monday July 28, 2014 @11:03AM (#47549989) Homepage Journal

        Let's be reasonable here. Everyone takes long trips sometimes. Now there's definitely an 80/20 problem, where that long trip 20% of miles becomes an inordinate source of range anxiety, and taking a half hour break every 3-4 hours isn't too much to ask I think.

        Unfortunately, we have to convince people that it's a net positive for them, not that it's "not too much to ask". And it's not, unless you count the benefits from every other driver also going electric.

        • Re:More Range Needed (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Matheus ( 586080 ) on Monday July 28, 2014 @11:16AM (#47550111) Homepage

          I'd love to have an 800+ mile range but no car I've ever owned has ever even teased that (best tank ever 436miles). That being said there has been a certain standard set by the automotive industry that I *do expect electric cars to conform to or I have no problem complaining: 1 "fill" ~ 300 Miles. Your average gas tank is sized for that measure and that's a fairly reasonable amount of distance before demanding a break. I'll be a little more demanding and say I want my charge time to be roughly equivalent to my gas fill up time which is closer to 15-20 minutes. SO give me a ~300 mile range car that can charge in 20 minutes and I'll consider an electric car a viable option for the kind of long distance driving I do.

          I always found it fairly disturbing that Doc Brown wasn't able to wire Mr. Fusion into an electric motor back in 1900 (or even when he installed it in 2015!). He had the know how and the means but that would've just effed up the plot now wouldn't it have!

          • by eam ( 192101 )

            In the future, all cars are electric/fusion hybrids using garbage for fuel. It was cheaper for him to leave the gasoline engine because a gallon of gasoline costs less in the future than an old banana peel.

            Plus, he liked hearing the sound of the engine.

          • I'd love to have an 800+ mile range but no car I've ever owned has ever even teased that (best tank ever 436miles).

            Doesn't really matter since you don't have an 800 mile bladder. Unless you plan on wearing diapers while you drive you're going to pull over sometime for, umm... well, you know... and may as well refuel while you do.

            • I think the 800 mile requirement would be if the "fill up" were to take hours like it does now. Like he said, if he had a 300 mile range and the ability to fully recharge in 10 minutes, it would take the time that a gas car takes now.

        • Re:More Range Needed (Score:5, Interesting)

          by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Monday July 28, 2014 @11:19AM (#47550133) Homepage Journal

          Did you know there was a time in the use when gas powered cars could only go a couple of hundred miles on a tank and people managed to go on vacation just fine? That's why roads like the 66 and 80 are littered with ghost towns and closed gas stations.

          In 1973, a Plymouth station age, a station wagon got 7-16 mpg and had a 16 gallon tank. The 256 miles, BEST case.

          So I think people need to get over themselves a bit and relax about having to stop for a git during long road trips when the other 80%* is a hell of a lot cleaner. Yes, electric cars are even cleaner over all in state that use old coal plants.

          OF course, you could rent or buy another vehicle for the road trip.
          Or take a train.**

          *I'd say 95%


          • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Monday July 28, 2014 @11:48AM (#47550371)

            In 1973, a Plymouth station age, a station wagon got 7-16 mpg and had a 16 gallon tank. The 256 miles, BEST case.

            Yeah, and you could refill it in 2 minutes.

          • Of course I know that.

            The problem, as I'm trying to make clear, isn't the absolute value of an electric car. It's an amazing thing. The problem is that people naturally will compare things to what they personally have at their disposal now. And when one attribute comes up short, it's human nature to reflect on that shortcoming, and how much it will cost you.

            I mean, I personally would take the: simpler maintenance , quieter running, lack of gas station trips in "normal usage", lower running costs, and low

            • by geekoid ( 135745 )

              I have no idea what you know. I don't even know you're age. A lot of people have no clue that less then 50 years ago the range was that limited.
              Just pointing out a fact as it relates to people complaining about mileage.

        • What about the majority of people who live in dense cities in apartment buildings without private driveways and/or parking spaces that are simply not practical to electrify. You know, it's easy to solve the problem for relatively rich folks [], but most people in the world live more like this [] or this [] (myself included). We park our cars out on the streets, drive around mostly in or near the city and fill up perhaps once a month. Are we supposed to go charge our cars once or twice a week for a few hours at some
          • by geekoid ( 135745 )

            Because they don't know how to make plugs in these cities?
            Plug it in charge while you asleep, or at work. Never take time out of your day to fuel up again.
            The environment you describe s perfect for electric cars right now.

            • And exactly who pays for this electficity on the other end of this majic plug concept?

              When you live in apartment complexes, you do not always get to park in the same spots and you likely cannot dig up the parking lot to instal outlets connected to your meter.

              If only it was as simply as parking and lluging in where ever you might be.

              • by AaronW ( 33736 )

                There are plenty of car chargers out there like Chargepoint which basically use a RFID credit card. You wave the card in front of the charger to activate it and it bills your account for charging. They've had this for years.

              • by DamonHD ( 794830 )

                The solution is to have (almost) anyone use (almost) any socket and use a little thing called technology to bill the right person. Then sockets can be installed on public streets and in communal parking areas as well as in private driveways.

                We do it with mobile phones, and we already do it with *some* plug-in EV points.

                The tech isn't that hard.

                Actually getting a suitably universal plug and socket seems *as* hard.



                PS. I have no driveway and would need a solution like this.

          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            If everyone last person was going to be driving electric cars tomorrow, yes, that would be a problem.

            Given that that's not the case, and for decades it's always going to be such that the people whose situation best suits an electric car are going to be the next ones in line to adopt them, then no, it's not a problem. You really think people can't build curbside/parking lot charging stations over the course of *decades* if there seems to be steadily growing interest in EVs?

            As a side note, I don't know those

            • by geekoid ( 135745 )

              To paraphrase Fry.
              No one owns cars in those neighborhoods, the parking is too horrible!

              • Google Car (Or similar) based Taxi Service coming to a big city near you, and using Tesla Electric cars (or similar) will provide most of the "local" transportation needs in the future. Imagine, being able to hail a cab, get in (and share??) and get to your destination quickly and efficiently.

                Human Taxi drivers will go the way of buggy whip makers.

        • Range extension of electric cars Has anyone not thought of maybe a trailer that contains a battery? Think of it as a first stage? Would be great for longer trips, still rechargeable.... You could rent them for longer trips, or swap them out at your destination "HERTZ" Batteries! Get to the next generation battery like this and it's almost feasible
          • BAH!
            With Google on the cusp of self-driving cars, we'll just have just-in-time in-transit recharging. They'll just line up like baby ducklings following mama and plug into each other.
            • Have you seriously considered patenting this concept?

              I mean, if you're an anti-patent revolutionary(or think it's obvious) then the reason to patent it would be to license freely to others instead of when someone else tries to patent it.

              There is no reason to believe this concept is actually too difficult to implement on any level. You'd just need to devise a road safe linking system, and diagram it out, and that would take at most a matter of days for anyone who's done technical drawing before.

          • I've thought about that too. Some people can bearly drive a car in the first place. Putting a trailer behind them might not be a good idea.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          In the EU a driver of a commercial vehicle must take a minimum 45 minute break every 4.5 hours of driving: []

          You can drive for four hours in a Tesla Model S before you need to stop for 50 minutes, falling to 40 minutes as 150kW chargers are rolled out. Seems like the only real barrier to long distance travel is the availability of superchargers and people who think they can safely drive more than 4.5 hours without a break.

      • by Rei ( 128717 )

        Actually, 800 is quite a sensible number. At an average speed of 60 miles per hour (aka, factoring in driving / bathroom / meal breaks), that's 13 1/2 hours of driving - a good day's drive. Throw in a few more hours driving time / a couple hundred miles more range if you charge while you're taking your breaks. Once you get that sort of range, charge speed becomes virtually irrelevant because it happens while you're sleeping (and getting ready for bed / getting up in the morning). A regular Tesla home charge

        • The car companies themselves will be building the charger networks, perhaps with some minor subsidies from local governments. And it doesn't have to be all that fancy and probably not particularly expensive either if you build a network of bare minimum unassuming chargers. The car maker can indirectly offer their customers food and other services by placing the chargers next to shopping malls and restaurants with long opening hours.

          Here is one of Teslas supercharge stations in Norway for example: http://inf []

    • You know that light delivery trucks will soon be replaced by drones. That's why we really need the improved batteries.

      At least, that's what Amazon seems to want us to think...

      • by Rei ( 128717 )

        I actually totally get Amazon's logic on this one. If there's only a $10 extra profit on each drone delivery (something I'm sure tons of people in range of the service would pay for in order to get their item in half an hour), and if we assume each drone operational cycle takes one hour (delivery, return, charging), then that's $240 a day. Doesn't take a lot of days to justify the cost of a drone with a return like that.

        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          well, other then you have a free flying device with fast spinning blades near people, can only use it in good weather, and don't mine people screwing with them.

    • A friend has a Ford Fiesta with the 1.6L engine. Probably the same one on Ford's shelf since the early 80's. It gets about 340 miles to a tankful of gas. So 300 miles on a charge isn't a stretch. It's just recharge times have to approximate gas refuel times.
      • by AaronW ( 33736 )

        Usually the recharge times don't matter. I own a Tesla model S and sold my gas powered car. For most of my driving I just plug in at night and have the equivalent of a full tank every morning. It's only on long trips where the superchargers come in to play. I rarely bother with public charging stations since I don't need them. Now on long trips the superchargers come into the picture. In my last trip to Reno I stopped in Folsom to charge up. It took about 40 minutes during which time I got a nice lunch, too

    • Nice but I need more range. 800 miles would be ideal.

      800 miles in one day for a commercial vehicle? Unless your entire day is on a 75 MPH highway, that's probably well above what most states in the US allow for commercial drivers.

      • You can drive 11 hours a day with a 1/2 hour break after 8 consecutive hours since going on duty. All this has to be done before 14hours since you came on duty

        However, if you come on duty at midnight and take a 10 hour break after 12 hours, you can drive another 2 hour before the next day and meet that 800 miles. But you took 10 hours off that you could be charging so you ate corect.

  • Modern phones do a lot more, and a lot faster, than older tech... but I admit I miss the battery life of the old Palms. One month on a couple of triple-As. Not having to charge my phone every single night would be pleasant.
  • It makes perfect sense to use lithium metal as an anode, as a way to minimize weight and maximize specific energy.

    The problem is, it's an alkali metal, useful in a number of chemical processes -- including processes used to make meth. And so far, regulators in the US (and many other areas) have demonstrated that they'll do whatever they can to Fight the Meth Menace, no matter how much collateral damage they cause to industries, economies, and human well-being.

    What kind of ridiculous regulations do you think

    • What? Yeah because you can walk into your local pharmacy and get some lithium....think Potsy think.
    • Speaking of people that need to lay off the drugs...
    • by necro81 ( 917438 )

      What kind of ridiculous regulations do you think they'll try to impose on devices that contain a multi-kilogram slab of Widely-Known Drug Precursor?

      I would argue that none are really needed - it's a self-limiting problem. Any meth-head dumb enough to try to crack open an enormous battery pack and pull out a metallic lithium anode is likely to end up extra crispy.

  • ...why can't I buy all these wonder batteries?

    In the last five years I must have read about at least fifty breakthroughs in battery technology, but nothing of it has reached the consumer (me) yet.

    I believe that this is because researchers seem to exaggerate their research results for obvious reasons and seem to underestimate what it takes to make a successful product.

    Regarding battery technology I completely stopped to believe anything that comes out of the research community.

    Unless I can buy it, it does no

    • Another brain dead moron. RTFA. The Stanford team developed a technique that could allow you to "design a pure lithium anode." It's a huge accomplishment. Nowhere did they say they had a battery ready for market. Moron.
      • Nowhere did they say they had a battery ready for market. Moron.

        No, but the GPs point remains valid -- we keep hearing about all of these breakthroughs in batteries, but they don't ever actually ever seem to materialize.

        It certainly seems like all of this research never actually turns into anything you can actually buy.

        So either these advances aren't trickling down to consumer stuff, or companies are doing a lousy job of telling us about it. If they're not trickling down to consumers, why?

        • by DamonHD ( 794830 )

          Yes, they do materialise, just not in your/GGP's attention span it seems, nor all at once, nor at your convenience. Read an electronics catalogue rather than /. if all you want to know about is things ready *now*.

          I have the benefit of a nice big LiPO4 pack at home, enough to run my server for a couple of days, which would absolutely not even have been a twinkle in my eye when I started in electronics and computing for example. Oh and a couple of months' worth of lead-acid behind it, essentially a century-

    • A) This story isn't about batteries.
      B) This is a big breakthrough
      C) Batteries have improved, and some og those things do make t to market. You just don't hear of them becasue they market it's impact, not the technology or science.
      "20% longer! " Not "20% longer do to the tech Dr. So N So invented 5 years ago."

      Nice to know aircraft carriers, 777s, and mount Rushmore dodn't exist in your wold.

    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday July 28, 2014 @12:12PM (#47550589) Homepage

      Except that you have bought them; you just haven't realized it. Energy density of li-ion batteries has grown by about 50% in the past five years. Have you seriously not noticed how cell phone and laptop battery mah ratings keep growing while they keep making the volume available for the batteries smaller?

      It's big news when a new tech happens in the lab. It's not big news when the cells first roll off a production line.

      Most new lab techs don't make it to commercialization. But a lucky fraction of them do, and that's the reason that you're not walking around today with a cell phone with a battery the size of a small brick.

      • by Radical Moderate ( 563286 ) on Monday July 28, 2014 @01:13PM (#47551103)
        This. Compare today's cordless tools to those of the late 90s. Night and day. The battery revolution has been going on for years, but because it didn't happen overnight nobody's noticing.

        I expect Slashdot to trumpet every potential battery break-through because it's new for nerds. I don't expect to find those new batteries on the shelf tomorrow because I'm not an idiot. It's a long road from the lab to the market, most brilliant ideas don't make it.
      • by Synon ( 847155 )
        uhh... what? 50%? Is that how many numbers are made up on the spot? I build electric bike battery packs out of laptop batteries so I have paid close attention to cell capacity, and working in IT gives me an unlimited supply of old used batteries (nearly all laptop batteries use individual 18650 sized cells in series and parallel). 10 year old laptop battery packs with 6 cells are typically 56Wh, a battery from a brand new machine which still uses 6 cells has 64Wh. 14-15% over twice the time period is a far
      • by Twinbee ( 767046 )
        mAh only tells half the story. You need the voltage in combination to determine the true energy capacity of the battery. Ideally we're looking at the 'watt-hour'. Only in a world where the voltage stays the same in all devices and conditions does it make sense to talk about amp hours as if that was the total energy.
        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          Voltage on li-ions, esepcially the cobalt-based variety found in laptop and cell phone cells, is roughly identical.

    • parabyte,

      When was the last time you weighed your L-ion battery and compared it's weight to it's energy storage rating? And have you been doing this every year? Battery technology has doubled capacity in the last 5 years and continues to accelerate. This lab breakthrough will likely be seen as quickly as they can engineer it and this is true of all the previous breakthroughs you've read about that have already made it into the batteries you use every day. You are ignorant and choose to display that ignorance

    • Here's a suggestion: Don't ever listen to research announcements. Just buy the best of whatever exists right now.

      Meanwhile the true nerds (like myself) will be excited about it because they give us a glimpse of what may become....

  • Stable is a relative term. Stable compared to what? It is the same thing I think of when someone says "soon". Are we talking "soon" compared to a fruit fly's life or "soon" compared to galactic time?
    From the article;

    According to Stanford, the results so far look promising. In tests the new lithium anode reached 99 percent efficiency over the course of 150 charge/discharge cycles.

    150 charge/discharge cycles is not very much. That is only 5 months use. Who is to say that the battery does not degrade to 50% at 200 cycles? What about 3,000 cycles? I bet they have done that test a few times. They seem to be hiding something. Sure it may be stable compared to current lithium

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Considering previous lithium anode had 50% efficiency at 100 cycles, this is quite an improvement.

      IF you don't like reading about stuff that's in the load, then why the hell are you on /.? OR even reading this story?

      Fucking ignorant haters are ruining everything haters.

      • There is a huge difference between a "hater" and a "skeptic". Doubling from a absolutely useless number of cycles to a completely useless number if cycles is significant but not useful. I like reading stuff in the load but touting this kind of improvement as something that will revolutionizes electric vehicle pricing is much too soon. It appears to be a marketing ploy to gain investment in a sham. The sooner shams are expose the sooner investment goes into areas of real possibility.

    • 150 charge/discharge cycles is not very much. That is only 5 months use.

      Initial testing of batteries is usually done at C/20, or less than one cycle per day. I don't know if they sped this up any, but it would still take quite a while for 150 cycles. You're asking too much from a research project.

      • You're asking too much from a research project.

        I think you ask too little. What get me are quotes like this;

        The team is looking at a price point of $25,000 for an EV battery range of 300 miles, which would be competitive with a 40 mpg gasmobile.

        They haven't even shown that their battery will last six months at a charge cycle a day. As there is no mention of it I doubt they have built a full EV scale battery yet. There is a huge gulf between what they have and what they are "looking at". If they haven't even done long term cycle studies they surly have not looked into the cost of mass production. How can they come up with battery costs? Had they stopped at what they had proven then I woul

        • I think you ask too little. What get me are quotes like this;

          The team is looking at a price point of $25,000 for an EV battery range of 300 miles, which would be competitive with a 40 mpg gasmobile.

          That's not actually what the team said, it is a paraphrase of something Chu said about what is desirable in an EV. The author apologizes in the first comment.

          Don't blame the researchers for the idiocy of the article's author.

          • My original statement still stands; 150 cycles is not "stable". It is just less unstable than previous attempts. When that can show 2000-3000 cycles then we can talk about "stable".

            • At one cycle a day that will take awhile.

              Cui has previously touted results of a different battery after only eight cycles, so 150 is quite an improvement. They are still a long way from having something ready to sell, and they don't claim otherwise.

  • I wonder if any are commercially viable.
  • Right Google? Right?

    In Google's future, I should be able to buy a self-driving car.

    In the post-peak oil future, my car will be electric, powered by summer breezes and sunbeams. a logical extension, I should be able to sit in the back of my Google shaggin' wagon with a case of beer and a bed, and happily stress test the shocks with my missus on a 800 mile road trip in my Electric Love Wagon without giving a thought about anything else.

    Right Google? Well, hell with you Google, get your engineers on thi

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