Relativity Simple: Understanding Einstein’s Theory.

See things in a different way.

Understanding relativity provides a completely different perspective in looking at everything in the world around us. Although, some the maths and other details are complex, those maths and details are not required to grasp fundamental concepts, that change the view of the world around us forever. The biggest challenge is that if you have thought of things from one perspective for your entire life until now, it takes time for the concepts to become natural, even when they are simple. Allow a couple of days. The key to relativity, is understanding gravity, which plays a bigger role in our everyday life than E=mc2 , which explains very little.

  • Understanding Relativity.
    • Step 1: Forget E=mc2, just think about relative motion.
    • Step 2: Frames of reference: Nothing is ‘absolute’, everything is relative.
    • Step 3: Review Free Fall vs Zero Gravity.
    • Step 4: Re-consider how gravity works.
      • Newton.
      • Einstein.
    • Step 5: Spacetime, four dimensions and one (time) keeps changing.
    • Step 6: Gravity as curved spacetime, and not a force.
    • Step 7: Thee Full Picture, The Effect of Gravity.
    • Conclusion.

I am going to collect some feedback on this, and then will add more.

Continue reading “Relativity Simple: Understanding Einstein’s Theory.”

Motor Vehicle Superpowers: Transforming Humans.

Continue reading “Motor Vehicle Superpowers: Transforming Humans.”

Coffee: How much is a good thing?

There is conventional wisdom: too many cups of coffee can be bad for you. There are also a surprising number of of extremely rigorous reports confirming a certain number of cups of coffee per day may be a good thing. What is most often missing is the definition of ‘a cup’, given that long ago I learnt that the amount of caffeine in a ‘cup of coffee’ can vary by a factor of 10x.


Years ago I was looking to move from a capsules style coffee machine to an expresso machine which would make changing between regular and decaffeinated coffee more difficult. This triggered a research project: is decaffeinated coffee worth bothering with anyway? Apart from the pros and cons of decaf, the big thing I learnt is that the caffeine in a ‘cup of coffee’ can range from 40mg to over 400mg, which is from the same amount as a cup of tea, to the same amount as 10 cups of tea. Note that a ‘grande’ is 470ml (16 fl oz) and a shot of expresso is around 30 ml, so technically per ml there is more caffeine in the expresso, at least until frothed milk of a latte or cappuccino, or additional hot water of a long coffee is added. Surprisingly, ‘per cup’, expresso has the lowest level of caffeine of the common ways of having coffee.

On this page I will collect information on what is in a ‘cup of coffee’, as well as the research into positive and negative claims in the the impact on health. Plus, I encountered some questions as to how long coffee drinking will remain affordable. Early days, but information will grow.

The case for ‘drink coffee and live longer’.

The Data.

This large prospective cohort study of a half million people found inverse associations for coffee drinking with mortality [that is coffee drinkers had less deaths], including among participants drinking 1 up to 8 or more cups per day. No differences were observed in analyses that were stratified by genetic polymorphisms affecting caffeine metabolism.

JAMA- Journal of the American Medical Association report.

They followed a group of 1,567 people, aged 20 years and older, over an 18-year period.

The initial data came from the Valencia Nutritional Study, which was conducted in 1994. It assessed a range of food groups, including drinks, such as coffee.

Their findings suggest that drinking between one and six-and-a-half cups of coffee per day can lower your risk of cancer and what scientists call “all-cause” mortality (meaning, any kind of death).

DW (Deustche Welle) – Spanish study shows coffee still good for your health

There is a body of evidence that some of the side effects of coffee may actually be good for you, and they appear to have nothing to do with caffeine. But Dr Karl Kruszelnicki’s grind is the observational studies that make up the ‘statistics’ behind the health benefits.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki: July 2016 (other comments quoted here)

Is this scientific?

The Spanish study reported in the above quote, is one I specifically was looking for a reference on, as it is have been widely peer reviewed, has a large sample size, and studied over an 18 year period. However, even that study does not match best scientific principles, because there is a limit to the ability to experiment on humans. To follow ‘best practice’, it is necessary to take the sample group at random, without regard to their existing coffee habits, and randomly divide into two subgroups. One subgroup would consume a placebo that is indistinguishable from coffee for the period of the trial, and the other group would consume coffee, and no one would know which group they are in. There are many reasons this type of trial would be neither practical, nor ethical.

Without the ‘double blind’ type rigour, there are limits to what can be inferred from the data. Since the participants are people who choose to drink coffee, they may already be different in other ways than non-coffee drinkers. Are they at the same wealth level? Are they more social? Still, all things considered, the weight of data is very compelling, and especially compelling with to reduction in diabetes levels. However, the adage still applies: correlations is not causation.

More Links.

Just what is in ‘a cup’ of coffee?

A Cup of Coffee.

Well, not literally. There is a recipe for what we call a ‘cup of coffee’.

Start with beans from a coffee plant. The beans go through steps of being pulped, fermented, dried, and milled, before finally being roasted. It is a lot of steps. Some time after roasting, grind the coffee. As soon as possible after grinding, run hot water through the ground coffee to extract the ‘essence’ of the coffee, which includes caffeine, and at least 20 other chemicals, many of which may be as significant as caffeine in terms of flavour, health and even staying awake.

So a ‘coffee drink’ is mostly water, infused by extracts from coffee. Then there is most often added cream or milk, plus possibly sweetener.

Why Expresso is different.

Coffee made as expresso has a different mix of what is extracted from the beans. Almost all other methods of making coffee ‘pour’ boiling, or even slightly above boiling temperature, water over the ground coffee. Generally, the water must be as hot as possible to ensure sufficient extraction. With the goal of changing the balance of extracts from t coffee, the expresso process uses lower temperature water, and compensates by first compressing the coffee and forcing the less than boiling water through the packed ground coffee grinds under pressure. Using lower temperature water means that just adding cold milk or water would result in a tepid drink, so milk is heated by ‘frothing’ before being added to expresso. However by using heated frothed milk, far milk can be added without resulting a tepid drink. The result is that expresso coffees such as a latte or cappuccino may have a greater percentage of milk that is common with other coffee drinks.

How Much Caffeine per cup?

I will add some comparison data between filter, French press etc, but the main focus will be on determining caffeine per cup of expresso, as there are many variables.

Expresso is lower in caffeine and the oils that contain the caffeine, due to the reduced extraction temperature and the use of pressure, which changed the mix of what is extracted from the beans. Expresso can be extracted at a range of temperatures, usually 90C to 95C, and collect and add data a I find it. But I will start with what I recall from previous research.

The following all affect the amount of caffeine:

  • Beans.
  • Roast.
  • Grind.
  • Tamping pressure.
  • Extraction Temperature.

Arabica beans are lower in caffeine than Robusta beans, although these days almost all beans are Arabica.

I will dig around and add links and sources of information. I will start with what I recall from my original research, and add references as I find them. One of my first sources was study that found that at a Starbucks coffee outlet, a ‘Grande’ of regular filter coffee had 400mg of caffeine, while an expresso from the same location had only 41mg of caffeine. (this section still to be completed)

Decaf Anyone?

To be added. Is there any benefit to opting for decaf?

Objections? Any health case against coffee?

I am still to research this fully.

Sidebar: Experiences with coffee at home.

This section also to be added, but only of interest to anyone considering making expresso at home, and finding yet another persons experience interesting.

Is there enough? Coffee drinking is spreading, will it remain affordable?

The US is around 25th in a table of coffee drinking nations, and on average people in the US drink between 1/2 to 1/3 as much coffee per year as those in Scandinavia. The Finns, who drink 3x as much coffee as Americans, do also have a longer life expectancy, but not as long as Japanese, who have almost caught the US coffee consumption per capita, but are not there yet. The longer life cannot not be attributed just to coffee, but the coffee is certainly not killing the Finns either. So what if the world all consumed coffee at the same rate, not as the Finns, but as the more moderate Americans, who themselves, might live a little longer if they drank more?

The US consumption is listed on that table as 9.26 lbs (4.200kgs) per capita per year, and I have this data on total worldwide coffee production as 172.46 million 60 kg bags in 2019. Using the 9.26lbs per capita:

4.200 * 328 million / 60 = 23 million 60 kg bags.

Yet direct data from statistica shows actual US consumption at 26.5 bags. Close, but suggesting either not all coffee bags purchased are consumed, with 13% of the coffee not being consumed. In reality this, may also be discrepancy between sources of data.

Now consider if the entire globe of people in 2019 had equal access to those 172.46 million 60kg coffee bags produced globally, then multiplying the number of bags by the ratio of people in the US(0.323 billion) compared to the rest of the world (7.5 billion): would allocate only 7.7 million 60 kg bags to the US.

177.46 * (328,231,337 / 7,543,334,085) = 7.72

As 7.72 million bags is less than 1/3 of the coffee the US currently consumes, the poorer nations gaining wealth to the point where the level of coffee consumed in the US, which is 1/3 of that in Finland and possibly below the ideal consumption, became the global ‘typical’ level, then coffee production must increase threefold, or people in richer countries reduce their coffee consumption. The average US coffee drinker would drop from 2.9 cups per day, to less than 1 cup per day, or more realistically, the price of coffee rises until only 1/3 of current coffee drinkers can still aford coffee.

Factor in the expected population growth in the next few decades and their seems a very real risk that coffee will become a more scarce commodity as some countries more people will be able to afford and want to drink coffee in line with current trends, but finding land to grow three or even four times as much coffee is not really practical, given all the competing demands for more land..

This figures is less than means, even to reach Just to be conservative, using the using the lower figure of 23.18 show This matches closely with the statistic direct data


Those advocating population is not a problem will typically promote how there is no danger of the world starving, as we can easily produce sufficient wheat to feed an even bigger population. But what is our ability to provide ‘optional’ products for the world such as chocolate, or coffee? The reality is, we can provide more than enough wheat, which means those who are is less developed countries, and all addition people added through population growth, remain on a very basic diet and do not consume commodities such as coffee or chocolate, standards of living in the west can remain at current levels. However, people in China, India and elsewhere in Asia and Africa and developing nations continue, well developing, commodities and such as coffee and chocolate are going to move in the direction of housing, and become only accessible by the rich. The more people the world adds, the greater the challenge.

So if you are over 40, then consider multiple cups of coffee per day may even lengthen your life. But if younger, then maybe best not to start a habit that may become too expensive.

WTF? UFOs are Real? (OK, UAPs or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena)

The answer is: Something is real.

The US military is, for the first time, sharing that they really do have UFO/UAP sightings that they cannot explain.

It is easy to underestimate the significance of this revelation. There is even at least the appearance of deliberate efforts to downplay the significance. But this revelation, at some level changes our understanding of the universe. Every possible explanation sounds crazy. All of them. Yet at least one must be real.

The video to the left, shows President (2018-2016) Obama confirming there is something real and unexplained, and Marco Rubio (from the other side of politics) also confirms there is something real. A report to the US congress will be released June 2021, outlining what has been for many years covered up. The public is finally being told at least part of what is happening.

It turns out, that for decades, we have been kept in the dark. It also turns out that there is far more data than would have been expected. This doesn’t mean there are aliens, but it certainly means there is something that fundamentally changes our understanding of the universe that has been hidden.

Continue reading “WTF? UFOs are Real? (OK, UAPs or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena)”

EV Batteries Reference: Benefits & Technologies.

F150 Lightning – 2022 Price competitive pickup?

Batteries for EVs have progressed being expensive and while delivering impractical range, to less expensive and with just acceptable range, but only now showing signs they can soon enable price completive EVs with range that inspires confidence.


What do I mean ‘Battery’?

I use the term battery to mean something acts as storage of electrical energy, and although I rarely state ‘rechargeable battery’ I when I use the term ‘battery’, it can be taken to mean ‘rechargeable battery’.

The term ‘battery’ has evolved over time, and my interpretation is that mobile phones and electric vehicles have made rechargeable batteries so common that we no longer need bother saying ‘rechargeable’ depending on the context.

The original electric batteries were called ‘batteries’ because they had a ‘number of similar articles’ where each article was an electrical cell. But now we even have single cell batteries, which given that ‘battery’ originally meant ‘a number of similar articles‘, is a little contradictory. Meanings change, and the meaning of ‘battery’ is still evolving. The word ‘battery’ still can be used for a ‘battery of guns’ or a ‘battery of tests’ or batteries of other things, but without the ‘of something’ we now take ‘battery’ to mean storage of electricity.

Some people feel it is only a battery if the energy is stored internally as one or more chemical ‘cells’, but I would argue that it does not matter how the electrical energy is stored, to most people it is battery because of the function, not how it achieves that function. So in general use, anything that holds energy for later use as electricity, can be considered a battery. So even a capacitor can be considered a battery.

Single Use vs Rechargeable Batteries: For Vehicles, ‘battery’ means ‘rechargeable’.

Depending on context, the term ‘battery’ can be assumed to means ‘single use battery’ or ‘rechargeable battery’. If someone says “do you have AA batteries”, single use batteries are usually assumed unless it is specifically stated that the batteries are ‘rechargeable’. However, with mobile phones, automobiles and battery electric vehicles, battery is assumed to be ‘rechargeable’. We never say ‘rechargeable car battery’, or ‘rechargeable mobile phone battery’ because these batteries are always assumed to be ‘rechargeable’ batteries.

On this page, and all pages related to EVs, ‘battery’ is taken to mean ‘rechargeable battery’ unless specifically stated otherwise. In many ways, single use batteries have more in common with gasoline as as source of energy than with rechargeable batteries. With both gasoline and single use batteries, energy supplies are replenished by adding a new supply of the original chemicals.when energy runs low, more chemicals pred The comments here apply to specifically to rechargeable batteries, although as EV batteries are

H because car ba, . and ies are assumed to be

Batteries and the Price of Electric Vehicles.

There was a time when computers less powerful than what is today a low priced home computer filled rooms, cost millions of dollars and were something normal people imagined having at home. There was a time in the 1980s and early 1990s when mobile phones could cost $4,000 or $5,000 and normal people did not imagine ever owning one.

The bad news is electric vehicles are not about to go through that type of price crash. Just the batteries, which in a 2021 EV is around 50% of the price.

The power for all current engines always comes from chemical energy.

All current vehicles are powered by chemical reactions. Internal combustion engines are powered by the heat from a chemical reaction between gasoline/petrol or diesel or hydrogen with oxygen, and electric vehicles are powered by electricity generated by a reaction between the chemicals inside the battery, or for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity.

Rechargeable Gasoline, Refuellable Lithium: Both Technically Possible.

In a gasoline engine, the main chemical reaction is:

gasoline + oxygen -> CO2 + Water + energy(heat)

While there are some ‘burnt impurities’, and the heat is so intense that some nitrogen is also burnt, the components listed above are those that are needed for the engine to work.

In theory, if the tailpipe emissions of CO2 and water were retained, then instead of refuelling it would possible to run add heat back into the ingredients, and thus run the equation in reverse:

CO2 + Water + energy -> gasoline + oxygen

This would result in a sustainable internal combustion engine vehicle. Of course, there are some problems. This is not an easy reaction to run in reverse, and as internal combustion engines are so inefficient there is a lot of energy needed to reverse that reaction. But if we could add a ‘recharger’ that took the emissions from an internal combustion engine, and a source of heat from a recharging station, we would mimic many of the important qualities of an electric vehicle. Also, instead of needing the exact right fuel, the heat could be generated however we want, as heat is always heat.

Similarly, a lithium iron battery also runs a chemical reaction, only this is two half reactions at each side of the battery:

1)  LiCoO2 -> CoO2 + Li+ + e-(electrical energy)
2)  Li+ + 6C + e- -> LiC6

Where the Li+ electrolyte is in a solvent that can flow between cathode and anode. You will often see these formulas with a bi-directional arrow, because taking the electrical energy out makes the reaction go one way (discharge), but adding the electricity back makes the reaction goes the other way (recharge). At ‘recharge time’, instead of putting electrical energy back, it is technically possible to simply take out the CoO2 (Cobalt dioxide) and LiC6 (lithium graphite) as exhaust, refresh the electrolyte, and put in new LiCo2 (lithium cobalt dioxide) and C (graphite), replacing the chemicals as we are doing when refuelling a gasoline car. By replacing the chemicals, the car would be ready to go again without the time delay of recharging.

The problem with this is that for every battery chemistry, there are different chemicals, which would mean there would need to be range of ‘fuels’ even more diverse than the different octane ratings we have for gasoline/petrol. Plus, not everything is in the convenient liquid form.

In the end, there are good reasons why no one is going to actually recharge a gasoline fuelled vehicle with heat, and nor is anyone going to refill the chemicals for a battery vehicle, but contemplating what would be needed highlights the differences between the nature of the systems.

The approach with gasoline is to continually run chemical reactions with chemicals that are preloaded with energy (gasoline and oxygen), runs the reaction once and then discard results of the reaction as exhaust. The entire system was conceived at a time when the very concept of ‘renewable’ appeared unnecessary. The inputs are the specific chemicals required by the reaction.

The battery approach keeps the outputs of the reaction, and allows resetting everything back to the original conditions through the use of energy that itself can be renewable. For the life of the battery, the only input is energy.

The Benefits of Batteries.

Electric vs Chemical Input: Ultimate Flexibility.

Chemical (e.g. gasoline) Refuelling is inherently inflexible.

An combustion engine without a ‘recharging system’ which can return the ingredients to their original state, requires an exact ingredients the engine is designed around. Fortunately, of the two ingredients of a gasoline engine, the oxygen is readily available from the air. However gasoline (or diesel), must be mined and then refined to quite precise formulation required by the engine. Without gasoline, which is only available by way of one specific supply system, the engine cannot be used.

A battery vehicle can use any source for the energy. Not only is the mains electrical system that is normally used as the source of energy available at almost every dwelling in the developed world, it is also possible to provide energy from solar or wind. Even in the most remote location, it is possible to generate electricity from natural sources without any need to locate specific chemicals. With enough time people could even hand crank a small amount of electricity. This allows for vehicles such as the Aptera, or the Lightyear One, that can travel normal commuter distances each day on a days solar energy alone.

Since batteries are recharged by energy, rather than the chemicals inside the battery that react to produce the energy when it is needed, how the battery stores energy can change, with no impact on refuelling. The reactions above are for ‘conventional’ lithium-cobalt-graphite batteries that have been used in most mobile phones and electric vehicles so far, but already different battery chemistries are being introduced, with phosphorous having already replaced cobalt in BYD batteries, and also being introduced by Panasonic.

Supply Security and Sovereignty.

Moving from requiring one specific chemical formulation for fuel, to requiring electrical energy, is moving to almost total fexibilty.

While a specific chemical formulation can only be satisfied by obtaining that exact fuel, any form of energy can be converted into electrical energy.

You can source electrical energy from solar, or wind, or tidal forces, from hydro or from waves, as well as from any fossil fuel. Any of these sources and more can be used to produce electricity. If you have energy, you can produce electricity, while the gasoline or diesel required by an internal combustion engine can only be produced by an oil refinery, which in turn requires a specific resource which is far from universal and requires complex equipment to extract when it is found.

If society is without electricity, the ability to power vehicles is not the most immediate problem, and of this reason, solutions to problems in electricity supply are numerous and well tested. Any supply problems are will almost always be local, and with an EV, the vehicle may even be able to out and get more power and bring it home. With electricity, there is no need to be at the mercy of foreign states able to impact supply.

Upcoming Products.

Under battery technologies below, there are several new products and their proposed timelines. However, this is not car companies announcing products. Those will appear here:

Tesla 4680 Battery.

Battery Theory.

Terminology: Cathode, Anode, Electrode etc..

A note on terminology as it can be confusing, particularly the terms ‘cathode’ and ‘anode’ when discussing rechargeable batteries. The cathode is the terminal from which current flows, and the anode is where the current arrives. Since currents flow in the opposite direction during use of battery power or ‘discharge’ than current flows during ‘recharge’, each physical part of a rechargeable battery swaps roles. So the cathode during use, becomes the anode during recharge. This causes much confusion, and I have seen several videos and sites that get confused by this and think one side of the battery is the ‘cathode’ and the other is the ‘anode’ at all times, not realising this changes. Also note to make things even more confusing, electrons flow in the opposite direction to current. For these reasons, I will stick to a simpler ‘positive electrode’ and ‘negative electrode’ in any explanations.

Charge Time.

Chemical batteries are limited in the speed they can absorb charge, but recharge points are also limited in the speed they can supply charge. Fuel tanks for gasoline and diesel vehicles can absorb fuel ‘instantly’, but it still takes some time to refuel. This is because pumps only pump fuel at a finite speed. The flow.

For comparison consider diesel vehicles. There are special ‘high flow’ pumps for large trucks that can deliver fuel so fast that the fuel will go everywhere instead on just into the tank if these ‘high flow’ pumps are used with vehicles not specially designed. The tank can take fuel ‘instantly’, but the hose from the fuel filler to the tank can only manage a certain speed. Trucks can use a really big hose to handle a higher speed, but that is also limited by the maxium rate the fuel pump hose can handle. So there are three contraints:

  1. Gas/diesel pump speed.
  2. Hose from fuel filler point on car/truck to tank.
  3. Tank maximum fill speed (no problem with gasoline or diesel tanks)

With electrical vehicles, chemical batteries normally do have an effective limit on how fast ‘the tank can be filled’, but the other two limitations also apply:

  1. Charging Station maximum power rating.
  2. Car/truck connector and cabling to battery maximum power rating.
  3. Battery maximum ‘fill’ (recharge) speed.

This means that even with future battery technologies that do not limit battery recharge speed, refilling will still not be instant, just as refilling a large truck today is not instant. Currently the fastest chargers have a maximum power rating 350kw, so a 100kw/hr battery would need 100/350 hours or 17 minutes to recharge. The Hyundai Ioniq 5, one of the fastest charging vehicles of 2021, can recharge 75% of an 53kw/hr battery in 18 minutues, so just under half the maximum possible.

Battery charging could in future rival times for filling liquid fuelled vehicles, but they still wont be instant and it doesn’t just depend on the vehicle.

Battery Life.

Batteries can be replaced, as shown on this video. While the battery structure with dedicated EVs is often currently integrated into the vehicle, and the replacement is specific to the vehicle, the process is simpler than replacing an engine in an internal combustion engine vehicle, and making 3rd party replacements should be easier.

One one hand, batteries are improving so rapidly including lifespan, that already we are seeing batteries that may outlast the normal life of a motor vehicle, but on the other hand, batteries are improving so rapidly that batteries also become obsolete before they will fail.

And as I said before, with batteries, it looks they’re going to start lasting way longer than the vehicles, which means you can amortize the cost of the battery over three vehicle lifetimes right, so where there were its going to land on batteries right now like no one has any idea. It’s really a strange time to be in this industry. And with the mineral resource issues and mining stories coming out about lithium extraction, your going to see more attention being put to battery technology. I think were going to see some interesting alternatives coming out here pretty quickly. Especially on the solid state side of things, you’re going to see some interesting breakthroughs.

Aptera CTO Nathan Armstrong.

The off the cuff remarks quoted above convey the contradiction that while batteries may now last longer than the car, they may be the first part of the car to be out of date. Fortunately, replacing the batteries can be practical, and as batteries improve, replacing them can result in a vehicle that becomes even better than when new. When batteries are replaced, the materials are valuable and recycling is possible.

Battery Technologies.

(this section still being updated)

The benefit of all batteries being charged by electricity and output electricity, is that how batteries work internally can be changed with no impact on the infrastructure to recharge. This means that what we have now is only a starting point, and there are many potential improvements to charging times, cost, lifespan, safety and environmental impact still to come.

If you had a million dollars to invest in a battery company, right like right now where would you put your money, right, like it’s changing so quickly and every six months there is a new technology it doesn’t quite make it to market but you know it threatens to kind of like you know change the whole industry again, um so battery technology is a really weird one, right, like we have these lithium cells so they’re pretty good um five years from now they’re going to be way better different chemistry 10 years from now something different again so we are trying to be king of battery agonistic.

Aptera CTO Nathan Armstrong.

Li Ion

Despite first being developed back 1970, mass manufacture of lithium ion batteries is relatively recent. The first commercial battery products did not appear until 1991. If you are old enough to recall older mobile phones had first nickel cadmium batteries (invented in 1899), and then nickel metal hydride batteries, with both of these older battery types having a ‘memory effect’.

Cobalt Lithium Ion: Since 1970

Electric vehicles so far have mostly used lithium ion cobalt oxide ion batteries (LiCoO2) as described here and first developed in the 1970s. Lithium is highly reactive which would make significant amounts of pure lithium dangerous, so cobalt is combined with lithium to form LiCoO2 as a container to hold the lithium more safely in a less chemically active form. Cobalt is not rare, but cobalt in the form that is lowest cost to extract is found almost exclusively in the Congo, creating a supply chain risks, and at times as much of 10% of that Cobalt being mined, has been mined using unsafe practices. In batteries with cobalt, the cobalt becomes the main factor in the cost of the battery.

Phosphorous: In passenger EVs since 2020.

Lithium ion phosphate batteries (LiFePO4), are an alternative to using cobalt that reduces battery cost and results in a safer battery.

Historically, despite being less expensive and longer life, lithium ion phosphate batteries (LiFePO4) have had lower energy density than cobalt based batteries, which limited their use to busses and larger vehicles. However, several companies now have solutions to the energy density, which allows a price, safety and lifespan breakthrough from lithium phosphate batteries such as the BYD blade battery.

Graphene: Future (September 2021?).

Although originally observed in electron microscopes in 1962 as occurring on suppotive metal surfaces, graphene isolated and fully analysed for the first time in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester. This resulted in a Nobel Prize just 6 years later in 2010. Remember it took 16 years from Albert Einstein’s ‘miracle year’ of discoveries in 1905 to his Nobel prize in 1921, so it is clear this work was quickly recognised as a big deal.

Graphene based batteries hold promises of ‘instant charging’ combined with:

The rapid charging isn’t the only selling point. In the lab, NanoGraf says its graphene batteries show a 50 percent increase in run time compared to conventional lithium-ion ones, a 25 percent drop in carbon footprint, and half of weight needed to provide the same output.

To date, graphene is the strongest mineral ever discovered, with 40 times the strength of diamond. It is more effective as a conductor of heat and electricity than graphite. … Graphene is capable of transferring electricity 140 times faster than lithium, while being 100 times lighter than aluminium. This means it could increase the power density of a standard Li-ion battery by 45%.

Mining Technology.

GAC, a subsidiary of Chinese state owned GAIC, has announcedThe batteries will be installed in the first vehicle from September[2021]”, which would be the 1 year anniversary of the joint venture project with GAC and .

Solid State Batteries: Future (VW plans for 2024-2025)

Solid state batteries promise far higher energy density than current electrolyte lithium ion batteries, almost instant recharging, lower costs, and can be extremely durable. Some project it will take 10 years for them to take over, but a joint venture between VW group and QuantumScape plans for volume production by 2024-2025.

QuantumScape is developing what many consider the Holy Grail of electric car batteries: a highly-efficient, long-lasting, long-range, fast-charging electric car battery cell.

The battery startup achieves this by replacing* the liquid electrolyte that regulates the flow of current with a solid electrolyte.

The polymer separator used in conventional lithium-ion batteries is substituted with a solid-state ceramic separator, QuantumScape says. As a result, the less-efficient carbon or carbon-silicon anode is replaced with an anode of pure metallic lithium.

Forbes: Feb 2021.

Aluminium ion and Graphene: Future (Coin cells 2021, Automotive 2024-2025).

Batteries do not have to use lithium as the electron donor metal. Lithium is the lightest metal, and with the smallest size atom, but lithium atoms only have a single outer shell electron per atom, and thus only allow a +1 charge. Aluminium, although a larger and heavier atom, has 3 outer shell electrons, not one, and this gives aluminium the potential for a +3 charge, which it turns out results in even greater energy density than with lithium.

There are a variety of projects to deliver aluminium batteries, eg:

Graphenemg: Aluminium/Graphene batteries which can charge 20 to 60 times faster than lithium ion batteries.

GMG plans to bring graphene aluminum-ion coin cells to market late this year or early next year, with automotive pouch cells planned to roll out in early 2024.

Based on breakthrough technology from the University of Queensland’s (UQ) Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the battery cells use nanotechnology to insert aluminum atoms inside tiny perforations in graphene planes.

The GMG technology drops aluminum atoms into perforations in graphene.
The Graphene Manufacturing Group’s aluminum-ion technology can charge an iPhone in less than 10 … [+] GRAPHENE MANUFACTURING GROUP

Testing by peer-reviewed specialist publication Advanced Functional Materials publication concluded the cells had “outstanding high-rate performance (149 mAh g−1 at 5 A g−1), surpassing all previously reported AIB cathode materials”.

Forbes: 2021 May 15 (worth reading the article)

Supercapacitors and Ultracapacitors. (nothing scheduled to replace batteries).

Capacitors could also be used as the ultimate ‘solid state’ battery, simply storing a charge using electrostatic attraction. Although there is significant work on supercapacitors for use in EVs, and supercapacitors do function in some ways like a battery, the role they are currently ‘auditioning for’ is to augment the ability of a battery a battery to deliver extremely high currents instantly. If instead of feeding motors directly from a battery, the battery feeds a capacitor that in turn feeds power to the motor, then the system can deliver brief periods of peak current beyond what the battery can deliver. This role, not of being the primary battery, is what is being proposed at this time.

Companies involved include SkeletonTech.

Al Air. (Nothing scheduled to replace rechargeable batteries)

In addition to Aluminium ion batteries where aluminium replaces the lithium, there are also aluminium air batteries. However, these batteries are, so far, not rechargeable and thus not a contender in the same way as other batteries technologies discussed here.


The battery journey is still at an early stage. Right now, the cost of batteries puts EVs at a cost disadvantage to conventional cars, but that disadvantage is evaporating rapidly as shown by the quite competitive F150 lightning recently announced. By 2025, there will be a cost competitive EV for almost all new vehicle market segments.

However, 2025 is not the end of the line. EVs will continue getting less expensive for years to come, just as PCs did for decades.

EV Charging Systems: Reference

The two charging systems: a Norwegian perspective.

I have been exploring electric cars. What is needed to make them affordable, and what it is like to live with them. When exploring charging, the charging systems became so complex that I have extracted what I found as its own exploration, which I will keep updated as a reference.

Continue reading “EV Charging Systems: Reference”

Dark Stuff: Dark Matter, Dark Energy and Antigravity.

Gratuitous space image. Dark matter and dark energy are invisible.

This is an overview of ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’, that was started back in 2016 but published until I was recently asked again. The TLDR; is that no-one knows what dark matter or dark energy are, and it is not even absolutely certain that either exists. In fact, my addition to the official version, is that neither need exist. Both dark matter and energy are possible explanations for for things we do not understand, but not the only possible explanations. That being said, a significant majority of physicists do believe dark matter does exist, and many are looking to find it.

  • Dark Matter:
    • What does ‘dark matter’ mean?
    • Why? Because known matter does not explain observed gravity.
      1. So there must be matter we don’t know about: Dark Matter.
        • Its hiding. Dark matter is just matter we have not found.
        • Or, It is matter, but not as we know it.
      2. Or, maybe we have gravity wrong!
  • Dark Energy.
    • What is dark energy?
    • Why? Something is accelerating the expansion of the universe?
  • Antigravity.
  • The unofficial explanation: food for thought?
Continue reading “Dark Stuff: Dark Matter, Dark Energy and Antigravity.”

A Timeline of Our Solar System.

I feel this a useful reference. It is just collation of data from a variety of resources, as in the table below, and then mapped onto one year, to give perspective of ‘how long through the year’ various events are.

The timeline is based on the life of the Sun from formation through the inevitable ‘red giant’ phase when the Sun will expand to either engulf, or almost engulf the Earth. The ‘green’ section indicates the short time during the ‘life’ of the solar system that the Earth can support ‘life as we know it’ on land. The orange section is the time before the atmosphere could support life on land, and the red section represents the time when CO2 levels can no longer support plant life, and the earth is set to become like Venus. On the one year time line, we need to find another home by tomorrow, and that is without climate change or any problems created by people.

Key Timeline Observations & Discussion Points.

  • Life On Earth Began Early and without oxygen.
  • It took around half the time there has been life, to evolve to, but Evolution started slowly.
  • The Brief Burst of Life on Land.
  • Cyanobacteria: The first photosynthesis.
  • Thermal Runaway.

First On Earth Began Early: But Evolution started slowly.

Life began within 500 million years, which may sound like a long time, but considering the Earth was formed as a result of a sequence of collisions, and would have taken time to become even close to stable. Life had to form in the oceans given that land was inhabitable at the time, and we have evidence of life going back as far as we have evidence of oceans.

Given how quickly life arose, it seems surprising that it took another 2 billion years to single celled organisms, and 3 billion years to get to multicellular organisms. For 3/4 of the time there has been life, all life was single cell life, and there were no animals at all. Evolution was slow to get started!

The Brief Burst of Life on Land.

On the ‘annual calendar’ life on land provides only three weeks to live on land. Life on land becomes possible in early June, and ends before the month is over. This is become by the time the plants have transformed that atmosphere to have enough Oxygen to form ozone to block deadly radiation reaching the Earths surface, the CO2 supply is running low. Plants keep compensating for the ever increasing heat from the Sun by consuming CO2 and reducing greenhouse gas during the first half of the life of the solar system, but once CO2 levels are two low for plants to continue, all life will end as the planet enters thermal runaway, unless the Earth finds a new solution to controlling the temperature for the second half. The Earth will join Venus as a planet with temperatures beyond the temperature where water boils.

The Earth will have supported life on land for less than 1/20th of the life of the solar system.

Cyanobacteria: The first photosynthesis.

The current building block of life, photosynthesis, was not even present during the first billion years of life, and green plants were not present during the first 3 billion years, evolving only 1 billion years ago.

Thermal Runaway.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is goldihz_flux.jpg

You may have heard of the ‘goldilocks zone‘. The distance from a star that is ‘not too hot’ and ‘not too cold’. The Earth is now at the very edge of that zone, as the zone continues to move away from the sun and will soon encounter thermal runaway, where temperature increases add more water vapour to the atmosphere. Since water vapour is a greenhouse gas, the Earth then heats further, adding more water vapour as a result. The end result: Earth will become another Venus with temperatures rapidly soaring beyond those where life is possible.

Given the rapid pace of technological advancement, 25 million years should be more than enough time to find a solution, but in geological time 25 million years is not that long. All things considered, humans only just managed to evolve in time!

Years Relative to NowdateSource
Sun Formed-4,600,000,0001/01/2020Discover Magazine
Earth Formed-4,500,000,0004/01/2020Discover Magazine
First Life-4,000,000,00023/01/2020Livescience
Cyanobacteria-2,700,000,00013/03/2020Scientific American
o2 – Oxygen-2,400,000,00024/03/2020Great Oxygen Event
Eukaryotic (modern) cells -2,000,000,0008/04/2020New Scientist
Algae-1,200,000,0009/05/2020Scientific American
First Animals-800,000,00024/05/2020Natural History
Plant Life On Land-470,000,0006/06/2020New Scientist
First Insects-406,000,0008/06/
First Dinosaurs-231,000,00015/06/2020BBC Science Focus
First Mammals-160,000,00017/06/2020Livescience
Humans-500,00023/06/2020Discover Magazine
Thermal runaway25,000,00024/06/2020
Sun Is A Red Giant5,000,000,00031/12/2020

Electric Cars 2025: ‘adding up’ will create a revolution. Who wins, who loses? China?

BYD rival to Tesla S. 0-100km 3.5s, range >600km
BYD EA1: <$20,000 range of 310m/500km, 18 min recharge, 0-60mph in <5s in 2022

I recently explored how in 2021, the numbers for EVs don’t really add up yet. One of the key discoveries, was that many sensible people are projecting EVs will reach ‘price parity’ by 2024-5. If this happens consider the trend:

  • 2021: Numbers don’t add up
  • 2024-5: Price parity
  • 2026 & beyond: Price Leadership

Looking deeper, there is every reason those predictions look real, and this will completely turn the automobile industry on its head. On this data, while buying an EV does not add up for most people right now, it soon will. And for a huge percentage of people, the EV that finally does ‘add up’ may be built in China, and perhaps even be a Chinese brand.

Automobiles have played a role in how cities and homes are designed, and a significant role in the world economy. Around 50% of the world largest companies supply automobiles or their fuel. Automobiles have been the 1st or 2nd highest valued asset for most people, exceed only by their home, and while homes are not exported and imported, cars are. Less people own homes than own cars. The result is that international trade is heavily shaped by automobiles, and changing this market, will change the balance of world trade. For countries like China, the ability to reshape the world economy even further is a very clear focus, and for Germany, Japan and the economies reliant on fossil fuels, the world order will change. This level of disruption compels governments to action. As individuals, our lives will be changed both by the vehicles and the impact on the world order.

We a facing major disruption.

Continue reading “Electric Cars 2025: ‘adding up’ will create a revolution. Who wins, who loses? China?”

EV Range & Economy: Decoding the Numbers.

The key specification for EVs so far has been ‘range’. But how are the numbers measured, will range specific match reality, and can the number even be compared?

It turns out there are even 3 different standards for measuring range, and they give very different answers!

Further, why have we moved from ‘economy’ to ‘range’? Is there still even economy with EVs?

When you dig deeper, there is some really interesting revelations from numbers such as energy and power, that may be even more interesting than range. Surprises such are how little power cars normally use, and how huge amount of energy in the normal fuel tank is equivalent to around 600kWh, but will normally be used very inefficiently!

This is an exploration of the numbers behind EV specifications.

This is an explocan they be believed, and will twhat are they really saying? Range is the number of miles or kilometres an EV can travel on a single charge, and, like the the traditional counterpart like fuel economy rating for internal combustion cars, will vary significantly with speed, traffic and even temperature and road surface.

Continue reading “EV Range & Economy: Decoding the Numbers.”

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