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Power Google Science Technology

Google Battles For Better Batteries 44

An anonymous reader writes: The Wall Street Journal reports that Google's X research lab has joined the quest for better batteries. The company has at least 20 projects that depend on batteries, from Google Glass to self-driving cars and drones. Thus, it makes sense for them to try developing new battery technology. "At Google, Dr. Bhardwaj's group is trying to advance current lithium-ion technology and the cutting-edge solid-state batteries for consumer devices. ... In a February presentation to an industry conference, Dr. Bhardwaj described how solid-state, thin-film batteries could be used in smartphones and other mobile devices that are thinner, bendable, wearable and even implantable in the human body. ... For the contact lens, the technology is safer because it doesn't use flammable electrolyte liquid, Dr. Bhardwaj's presentation explained."
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Google Battles For Better Batteries

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  • Betty (Score:3, Funny)

    by davidc ( 91400 ) <cdpuff&gmail,com> on Sunday April 12, 2015 @04:36AM (#49456523)

    Betty bought a bitty battery
    But the bitty battery Betty bought was bogus
    So Betty backed a better bitty battery

  • More research into this area is always welcome. Still would like to see more research into replicating full biospheres.
    • I doubt it would happen for a variety of reasons, but I'd love to see Google find a way to work with Tesla on this.

  • not just them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @05:01AM (#49456563)

    Thus, it makes sense for them to try developing new battery technology

    it makes sense for everyone to try to develop a better battery. societies are trying to and wants to switch from chemical power generation to solar generation which currently has the issue of needing costly batteries. if nothing else, it's a growth market.

    • I think that's what the gigafactory is all about. While everyone else natters on about "costly batteries," Tesla is actually doing something about it.
    • by cb88 ( 1410145 )
      Costly batteries are only a problem when you want batteries that are lightweight and high capacity for vehicles... Potassium Hydroxide batteries (among others) already solve the low cost solar storage problem for fixed high reliability installations.

      The only thing stopping people from switching to solar is themselves... its not even that expensive anymore relative to the cost of a new house.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    A breakthrough is certain!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      what does the quantity of people have to do with it?

      Is Google using trial and error - like Edison and his team for light bulb filaments?

      For all we know, Google made someone academic researcher a real sweet offer and got him to move to Google. That's what I would do. If I needs a battery guy, I'd search the literature, find someone making a lot of progress in the direction I need, and throw money and equipment at him.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A breakthrough is certain!

      nearly as certain as the project's discontinuance 6 months later.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        While you joke. What I was reading a couple weeks ago they have ~2 years from the start of the project. Basically whip up some prototypes and are they promising if so then continue after 2. If not kill or spin it out.

        Not a bad way to work. Instead of flushing more money and more importantly time down the drain on something you can not get to work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "I have astigmatism in my eye, do you have the same problem? Yeah, it's when your eye goes screwy. My Optometrist said it was from years of doing stand-up comedy staring into the lights. Said he could fix it with laser surgery. I said what are you going to do, he said: 'I'm going to shine this light in your eyes."

  • that a fully charged car battery is a bomb? Or will we have to have some nut job terrorist drive a truck full of these up to a building and short them to understand that? Energy is energy and high voltage, high current shorts are explosions capable of creating expanding plasmas at thousands of degrees. I roughly calculated once that the energy equivalent of the gasoline in my gas tank was 240 sticks of dynamite. Should we expect it to be any different for batteries? Tell me why not.
  • When I see the battery lifetime of my old Nokia phone, or recent iPhones, I notice the obvious problem is Android. I am lucky if my Nexus 4 isn't drained empty after 24 hours. Google can achieve "better batteries" (at least for their phones) by developing a new OS.

    • I entended my phone's battery life, and its speed and responsiveness, by uninstalling or disabling all (almost) the apps that have background processes always in execution. See under Settings -> Applications -> Running. You should really invest some time for finding alternative apps that don't rely on background processes for ads and the like, or recognize you don't need them installed all the time.

      By trial and errors, you may find that it's only one or two apps that occupy the most resources. I susp

      • I entended my phone's battery life, and its speed and responsiveness, by uninstalling or disabling all (almost) the apps that have background processes always in execution. See under Settings -> Applications -> Running. You should really invest some time for finding alternative apps that don't rely on background processes for ads and the like, or recognize you don't need them installed all the time.

        By trial and errors, you may find that it's only one or two apps that occupy the most resources. I suspect some programmers don't really know what "background" means. For me it totally was a weather app, shipping with the phone.

        Most people who have large battery drainage on their cell phones have processes running the background. A lot of people do not know how to close browser pages and apps (i.e. swiping them off the screen).

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      Or perhaps comparing a ~$350 phone with a ~$650 one and a dumb-but-not-quite Nokia phone isn't exactly fair.
  • They should be investing into the new nuclear reactors, (thorium, etc) along with stationary batteries for large corps and utilities . This is where the west is NOT investing into.
    • by spauldo ( 118058 )

      Why?

      Since when is Google primarily a power utility?

      What Google products (other than datacenters, which it builds where power is already available) would benefit from gen IV reactors? Hint: you're never going to get a phone with a thorium reactor built into it.

      I'm certainly not against development of smaller reactors - lead-cooled fast reactors have a lot of promise for powering remote areas, for instance - but why would it make sense for Google to invest in them rather than technology that directly impacts

  • Bonaparte built batteries [wikipedia.org] for better battles!

    I'm going to go lie down now, that was bad.

  • I breathed a bit of relief that this wasn't another "battery breakthrough" story.

    For the last 4-5 years it seems every popular news outlet is excited to announce battery breakthroughs. But for every breakthrough for instant charging for example they don't explain that the battery is 100x larger in size or 100x heavier or whatever. And similarly, when the battery holds 100x the energy, they don't explain the other downsides that impact its practical application. I mean, a capacitor "charges" quickly (and can

    • Batteries did get a whole lot better in the past decade. It's just that we do so much more with them that the drain on them more then matches the capacity gain we got. Don't blame the battery manufacturer, blame the public who wants 7" screens and oct core 4 Ghz processors on their phones.

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