Use energy to separate the alkane, producing CO2 as a biproduct.
Our planet does not have enough gravity to hang on to raw ‘unattached’ hydrogen, and it floats off into space, so unlike the Sun, or giant planets like Jupiter, we have far less hydrogen and what we do have is combined with other elements.
Hydrogen is still the 10th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, and you just need energy to separate it from other elements. Then you get some of that energy back, by letting it reattach to oxygen to form water. Just like a battery: put energy in so you can get it back later.
With method 1, if you use renewable energy for the separating, you have ‘green hydrogen’.
With method 2, the production of the CO2 provides the energy, which is just as well as more energy is needed if you start with water, but this process produces the energy needed.
So you always need an energy source to produce hydrogen. Hydrogen isn’t the energy source, it is what you use the energy source to produce. Just like a battery, hydrogen provides energy storage, and you get back a percentage of the energy from the source later.
Again, you need an energy source to start. Ideally you use ‘green electricity’. You can also use coal as the energy source, but 95% of production uses natural gas, because that gives the energy and the hydrogen in one.
There is a full page exploring this, but it turns out, as explored below, most proponents of hydrogen cars have ulterior motives and in the end there are no real benefits to offset having more complex and expensive vehicles with 3x the running costs of battery electric.
Alarm Bells: Hydrogen As The New Snake Oil? Always ask “Where is the energy coming from?”.
The moment anyone says ‘hydrogen as an energy source’, run.
Outside of nuclear energy, hydrogen is never an energy source. When it is suggested hydrogen is the energy source, someone is being scammed. Where is the energy really coming from? Often, when you hear words like this, the person speaking has been scammed, and does not think to ask “where is the energy coming from?”.
You always have to start with an actual energy source and convert the actual energy source to hydrogen. For ‘green hydrogen’ you start with ‘green’ electricity, but in the real world so far, for almost all hydrogen ever produced, your start with fossil fuels and produce more CO2 for each joule of energy, than you produce by burning the fossil fuel.
If a green energy company, or someone else who really does have at least genuine plans for green electrical power, talks about green hydrogen, then they may be genuine. The credibility in green energy, and the production of excess wind and solar is what needed for green hydrogen.
But if a mining company, or a company without green energy plans is talking about hydrogen, at some point it is going to be that someone is being scammed.
Outsider green energy companies wanting to store that green energy, it is best to treat any scheme or technology based on hydrogen with significant scepticism.
Apart from nuclear and rocket fuel for space, there is really nothing you can do with hydrogen, that you can’t do directly with fossil fuels. So most projects around hydrogen, are:
Based around plans to ‘greenwash’ fossil fuels
Or distractions to confuse and delay green energy projects.
Blue Hydrogen: Disguised Natural Gas Made Worse.
Fossil fuel has carbon, that makes CO2 when you burn it, or when you take out the hydrogen. Blue hydrogen is when you pretend you have a way to catch the CO2
In the video to the right, from the channel “just have a think”, suggests “blue hydrogen” is the greatest fossil fuel scam in history.
Note that even people talking up ‘green hydrogen’ can in fact be looking to create markets for fossil-fuel sourced, ‘blue’ or ‘grey’ hydrogen. Unless you have green electrical energy going to waste, ‘green’ hydrogen is just expensive, and fossil fuel companies have an alternative.
Hydrogen Cars And Trucks.
The Big Picture: The Economics Don’t Add Up, Its A Stalling Tactic, or a ‘fossil fuel’ trick.
I have previously explored in detail the pros and cons of battery electric vs hydrogen cars and found 3x running costs, more expensive cars with no real benefits not available using batteries. The bottom line is, for motor vehicles, the economics just don’t add up to use hydrogen in place of batteries.
In more detail:
The argument against hydrogen is:
If using green hydrogen from electricity, you need 3x more electricity than battery electric cars.
The suggested benefits for hydrogen:
If you have really really large fuel tanks, you can in theory better range than battery electric cars.
In practice, hydrogen cars only better the range of very low price electric vehicles, and there are no low price hydrogen vehicles. In practice, far better range is available from battery electric.
Recharging can be faster than the recharging a battery.
Battery swapping is faster and safer than rechanging hydrogen, and there are already more battery swap stations than hydrogen stations.
Toyota: The Anti Electric Vehicle Car Company.
So why are some companies still pushing hydrogen cars, including the worlds largest car maker: Toyota?
Toyota gained a positive ‘environmental’ reputation with the introduction of hybrids, starting with the Prius in 1997.
Here was a company introducing new technology that reduced emissions!
For the performance and other specification, the Prius was an expensive car. To make a hybrid, you take a normal car make it more complex by adding a battery and electric drive train, and perhaps the motivation of Toyota was simply to sell more complex cars? To move from a hybrid to an EV, you take things out and make the battery bigger, which makes the car simpler. It seems on making cars simpler, Toyota are not so pleased, and looking at the EPA data, maybe the environment is not really their motive.
The main reasons for backing hydrogen cars, is that doing so could slow or even derail the uptake of battery electric cars, which are a threat to:
Some existing automakers who will lose market share and as a result employ less staff.
Fossil fuel companies.
Not only are hydrogen cars seen as a way to delay the uptake of electric vehicles, but also as a potential market for ‘blue hydrogen’ for fossil fuel companies, and a way to retain pricing and profit for Toyota and some other car makers not ready for battery electric vehicles.
Hyundai: Did You Know They Also Do Oil and Gas?
I thought of Hyundai primarily as a car company, but on corporate web site, automotive is just 1 of 11 activities, and oil and gas is amongst those activities. I do not know if the activities look as synergies, but Hyundai being the only company I know of that does both automotive and oil and gas, as well as now appearing to be the strongest remaining supporter of hydrogen cars, may not be entirely a coincidence.
‘AsianPetrolHead’, an informative reviewer of cars from Korea, recently attended a Hyundai promotion on their plans for hydrogen, and was provided with the message that hydrogen cars “can act as a generator“, and that even entire buildings could be powered by hydrogen.
Given that ‘green hydrogen’ requires more electrical energy to produce than the electrical energy get back, it is not logical to use the fuel cell to generate electricity if the hydrogen was made from electricity.
This means that for Hyundai, it seems clear what the answer to the question “where does the hydrogen come from” is:
Is it possible that the car division of Hyundai is announcing a strategy to support the “natural resources” division?
Honda and BMW have also produced a small number of hydrogen cars, but why is not clear, but there is more information here.
Hydrogen Home Gas: Leaky Pipes Anyone?
Michael Liebreich, the influential energy analyst and founder of BloombergNEF, told Recharge in June: “You’re not going to have hydrogen in your home for safety reasons. It’s just not going to be a thing.”
One suggestion is that hydrogen could replace methane as the gas used over the ‘gas main’. The appeal is that many homes are already fitted for gas.
However, all those gas pipes and fittings have been tested for leaks of methane. These same pipes are untested with hydrogen, which is a major problem as that hydrogen is a gas of much smaller molecules than methane, and will leak when methane would not leak. The reality is that pipes and fittings of the gas main already leak methane, just within acceptable limits. Upgrading theas system of pipes for hydrogen would be very expensive.
Then, all the ‘burners’ and heaters and appliances the burn the gas would need either replacing or modification to work with hydrogen instead of methane or ‘lpg’.
And what would we be the benefit, if the hydrogen begins life as electricity, and 50% of the energy is lost by converting to hydrogen? We can already distribute electricity to homes, and there are already cooktops and heaters available. Yes, historically natural gas could be less expensive than electricity, so gas was economic. But those economics are from the past if in future the gas is going to be produced using the electricity! Remember, if you convert electricity to hydrogen, there are inefficiencies and you lose a lot of the energy, and solar is now far less expensive than electricity was in the past. Hydrogen at homes would be used only for heating, as converting back to electricity using fuel cells would be just ridiculous, so the losses are less than with electric cars and other situations where you need the efficiency of electricity, but there are still substantial losses. It will simply cost more even to heat and cook using hydrogen than with the more efficient heat pumps and induction cook tops.
Plus, burning hydrogen is not completely pollution free, and some nitrogen from the air inevitably also becomes burnt, producing some nitrous oxides.
Home hydrogen gas would mean higher power bills, so at least utility companies may be happy, but it still requires changing stoves and heaters in homes, and is not pollution free.
Converting ‘green electricity’ to hydrogen to send to homes does not make economic sense. They only way sending hydrogen to homes in place of electricity could make sense, is if the hydrogen does not come from electricity, but from natural gas. The trouble with using hydrogen from natural gas is, that greenhouse gas emission are greater than from using natural gas. So going through a conversion from natural gas to hydrogen from natural gas, that results higher household energy costs, more CO2 and more dangerous homes, only adds up if you are prepared to make great sacrifices to provide profits for oil and gas suppliers.
Hydrogen Exports: Send Power By Boat Instead Of Electrical Wires.
There are real plans to export ‘green hydrogen’ from places such as the Australian Northern territory. This sounds great, there is so much sunshine and free land at the source location, that solar and wind makes perfect sense.
But just one question: why convert the electrical energy into hydrogen to send it to other countries?
The map here is of the submarine cables that connect the internet, but why would it not be possible to also use submarine cables to send electricity?
Is it really more efficient to send ships loaded with hydrogen to move electrical energy from one point to another? If it is, why have we been wasting all these years using electrical cables to move electricity from one point to another!
Consider Japan’s plan for buying hydrogen:
https://gcaptain.com/norway-races-australia-to-fulfill-japans-hydrogen-society-eream/Under the Australian plan, coal would be converted to gas for processing to remove sulphur, mercury and carbon dioxide, leaving hydrogen. The Norwegian system would use renewable power for high-temperature electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, which would be released into the atmosphere. In both cases, the hydrogen would be liquefied for shipment to Japan.
The entire project to supply Japan was developed around the idea of sending fossil fuel sources hydrogen, and the ability to use fossil fuels is a major reason for sending hydrogen, rather than shipping electricity.
Yes, and advantage of shipping hydrogen is that there can be stored energy at the point of import. But given the inefficiency of physically shipping hydrogen, and the loss of 2/3rds of the energy, using cables and a mix of using some of the electricity immediately, and converting some to hydrogen at the destination just has to be more cost effective if all the hydrogen would be ‘green hydrogen’.
The sun doesn’t always shine and the wind does not always blow. In reality if you have a big enough connected areas, the sun always shines somewhere during daytime, and the is always wind somewhere, but politics usually block having a large enough connected area, and even then there is the day night thing unless the connection is global. Reality is, storages is needed.
The most tried and tested storage in pumped hydro, and there are places that have now proved batteries as storage. I need to check again if anywhere has hydrogen as storage, but in theory if the area is too flat for pumped hydro, then hydrogen should be a good option. Hydrogen for storage need not be a scam, but it is unproven and so far, as soon as hydrogen is mentioned, the natural gas people tend to try and hijack the project.
Who Is Being Scammed?
this section still being updated.
It sounds good. A supplier offers you hydrogen, and undertakes to ramp up the percentage over time that is “green hydrogen” or even that magical “blue hydrogen”. If you are buying the hydrogen from another country, is it your problem if there are emissions at the location of the source of the hydrogen?
After all, it still lets you have commit to targets for reducing greenhouse gases within your country!
Do not need wonder why supplier does not suggest sending electricity via submarine cable, given that if it is green hydrogen made from electricity, that would be more efficient than sending hydrogen?
I thing everyone has heard the taglines:
The most abundant material in the universe!
Pure clean energy that produces only water as a waste product.
The reality is that hydrogen is not readily available everywhere as the tagline suggests, and even ‘green hydrogen’ never quite matches electricity for lack of environmental impact. It can’t because the cleanest way to use the hydrogen is to use the hydrogen to produce electricity anyway, and you always need more energy to start with.
If you listen to the stories, you could easily believe hydrogen is even better than electricity, and the main reason is that there are huge amounts of marketing behind hydrogen.
All they hype, it is not just consumers being trapped. The promise of schemes make millions from hydrogen infrastructure is also a real thing. One of the key reasons is that building infrastructure around hydrogen can be a distraction from other projects that genuinely transition away from fossil fuels. The more infrastructure projects in the works, the longer we keep using fossil fuels in the interim. That does not mean that hydrogen projects will actually make economic sense once the required green electrictiy is available.
Always question: “Where is the hydrogen coming from?”
If you follow car industry publications, there both facts and well recognised predictions that combined, signal a storm for the car industry.
Reality: Why Makers Are Lying.
The Lie and The Sad Truth: Industry Combined Revenues Will Plummet.
The Predictions of Doom: Both Right and Wrong.
Bankruptcy, Pivot, Or Downsize.
The Industry Future: Robotics?
Reality: Why The Makers Are Lying.
Electric Vehicle Sales are Growing, and their Appeal and Competitiveness is on the increase.
Value for Money Is Increasing Faster with Electric Vehicles than with ICE Vehicle Value For Money.
Electric Vehicles will soon (Est by 2025) become less expensive than ICE vehicles.
New Players, mostly from China, will use the disruption to claim of 50% of the market.
In less than 5 years, electric vehicles will become less expensive than ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles, and are already significantly less expensive to maintain. Lower cost cars means less revenue from sales, and lower cost maintenance hits the even more significant recurring revenues. The introduction of EVs means less total revenue for the automotive industry. Then, there is the introduction of new players, such as Tesla (already the highest valued car company globally), BYD, XPeng, and NIO, who are predicted to capture 50% of the global market.
This means overall, the mainstream traditional electric car makers overall are looking at less than 50% of todays revenues across the industry as electric vehicles take over.
The Lies and The Sad Truth: Industry Combined Revenues Will Plummet.
The grim reality leads to three ‘lies’, or misdirections from automakers:
Internal Combustion Engine vehicles will continue to generate sales for many years.
Hydrogen and Other Technologies Are another Future option.
Around half of our sales will be Electric Vehicles by…….
1. Sales for Many Years.
The first ‘lie’ is to keep sales moving today while ICE vehicles still have a cost advantage, so consumers do not delay purchases waiting for lower cost Electric vehicles. Truth is there will be sales of ICE vehicles for many years, just in rapidly declining numbers and with as shift to used cars.
2. Hydrogen and Other Technologies will be here soon.
Any automaker who promotes hydrogen cars can enjoy marketing support from ‘big oil’, and help delay electrification with FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). The reality is that hydrogen cars can only be cost effective, if they use blue hydrogen and result in more green house gasses than current ICE cars generate.
While creating a new market for fossil fuels certainly can attract financial support, the reality of getting a new technology infrastructure in place that would increase greenhouse gas emissions is sufficiently unlikely that the main appeal is in propping up share prices on the promise of a future for industries that are dying.
Yes, hydrogen cars are an option. Just one that can never really add up. But more options can create choice paralysis on moving to a new technology.
3. Around half of our sales will be Electric Vehicles by…….
Industry pundits continually point out that car makers predict 50% of sales to be electric, by some future date (usually 2030) when it seems certain almost all cars will be electric. They “will go bankrupt if only half their cars are electric by then” is the catch cry!
The automakers are supporting Biden’s new target, announcing their “shared aspiration” that 40-50% of their cars sold by 2030 to be electric vehicles, according to a joint statement from the three automakers.
Recently Ford, GM and Stellantis (Chrysler Jeep) all pledged to reach 50% of sales to be electric.
One one hand, huge marketing dollars push into “it won’t happen”, while industry insiders insist the car makers will all go bankrupt if they are still trying to sell ICE vehicles in numbers by then. Yes, in 2030, almost all new cars sold will be electric, but given the average car age in the US is around 12 years, most cars on the road will still use gasoline for much longer than that.
The truth is that the traditional car industry companies will only sell 50% electric, because they will only sell 50% of the number of vehicles they sell today. That 50% electric is all they will sell, because their market share will be halved, so having the same number of models as today would be economic disaster.
The Predictions of Doom: Both Right and Wrong.
The predictions of doom because car makers are taking too long to convert their sales line-up to electric are misguided. Most of todays car industry has to be prepared to sell half as many cars as today, so they need a leaner model line-up once the market is electric.
Those same companies are stopping development of new ICE vehicles in reality, even if their language can be ambiguous to try and prop up shares prices that effect executive bonuses today.
Halving sales is doom. But it is not because they won’t have enough cars ready. Some of it is because they are already too late the catch the market change, but most of it is because with Tesla, the Chinese and other new market entrants, they just have to lose market share.
Bankruptcy, Pivot, Or Downsize.
A common prediction is “(insert car company) will go bankrupt because they will sell less cars!”. They, existing car companies, will all sell less cars. But this is not the first industry to face disruption and new lower cost technologies. Look at the computer industry from the 1970s. Some companies will fail, but many others will learn how to exist on a smaller scale, or pivot into new markets. Are there new emerging markets for companies producing cars?
The Industry Future: Robotics?
Already the leader in electric, Tesla and the Chinese such as Xpeng, have announced the are moving into the market of domestic robots. As revenues decrease due to cost savings as the electric vehicle market matures, robots could be the big new growth market, and requires many of the same skills.
This page focuses on a topical question, can the Samsung Z Fold 3 be a viable option for someone who has previously owner Samsung Note phones? Having owned 4 notes dating back to the original, I add my review, and links and selected quotes of other opinions.
The page includes my review from the perspective of The page has now been updated (26 Aug 2021) following first useful reviews of the S-pen case.
I will also plan to update the page review my history with mobile phones, which included the first ever Samsung Note, as background to my perspectives. But the history will be added later, with first a focus on what is needed for the Fold 3 to be able to replace a Samsung Note.
Z Fold 3 vs Note: End of Samsung Premium Phones and of the S-pen?
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.
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.
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 in 1749 as built by Benjamin Franklin, an electrical capacitor, and later built by Volta as a ‘battery’ of chemical cells, but there were always called ‘batteries’ because you needed lots of them. But now we even call single cells ‘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. With (rechargeable) batteries, the battery is restored to the original state by putting energy back into the battery, and no new ingredients are required. The battery itself is ‘renewable’ rather than replaceable.
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:
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.
Batteries: Pure Energy Storage.
Universal Fuel Source: Energy vs Chemical Power.
In theory you could make a ‘recharging system’ for an internal combustion engine as described above, but in practice, it will never happen.
When you are out of fuel for a diesel or gasoline engine, you need more of the exact chemicals the engine requires. You can’t just stumble upon gasoline or diesel fuel, and you can’t easily convert other things that are available into gasoline or diesel fuel.
Sunlight, wind, and even heat can be used to make electricity. Almost any form of energy can be converted into electricity and used to charge a battery. The source of the electricity has no impact on the design of the electric car. However, you can just used anything that will burn to power an internal combustion engine. Even the minor change from gasoline to diesel requires a significantly different engine. When a gasoline supplies are disrupted, everything that depends on that specific liquid is disrupted.
Internal battery chemistry can change from car to car with no need to modify how electricity is supplied to the car. All of that battery technologies discussed below can be used with the exact same electric motors.
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.
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:
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.
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:
Gas/diesel pump speed.
Hose from fuel filler point on car/truck to tank.
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:
Charging Station maximum power rating.
Car/truck connector and cabling to battery maximum power rating.
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.
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 performance including lifespan so rapidly 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 may also become obsolete before they should fail, and some batteries develop faults and other problems well before the end of their anticipated lifespan.
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.
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 Care: Chemical Battery Charging.
Current Li Ion batteries, and most likely all future chemical batteries, can deteriorate over time as noted under ‘battery life’. Optimum battery life results when the following principles are all adhered to:
Recharge and discharge currents must be limited to avoid causing elevated batteries temperatures.
Rapid charging should be used sparingly.
Batteries should rarely be discharged until capacity is exhausted.
Batteries should rarely be charged to full capacity.
Consider mobile phones. Most of us break rule 4 almost every day by leaving our phones on charge overnight. A phone designed for maximum battery life would detect a charge is an overnight charge and:
Use a slow charge provided there is sufficient time.
Pause the charge as soon as a ‘during the night’ level is reached.
Resume the charge as late as possible in the morning to ensure the phone is ready for the start of the next day, topped up to a level which still leaves a safety buffer.
Charging outside the schedule of overnight charging would then assume special circumstances and rapidly charge, and allow rapid charging to proceed to full charge if the phone is left on charge.
Some phones (e.g. Apple) do have software to try to avoid bad charging practices, but this is nowhere near as important with a phone as with a car.
(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.
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 ioncobalt 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.
The press release from CATL, the worlds largest battery supplier for EVs:
Based on a series of innovations in the chemistry system, CATL’s first generation of sodium-ion batteries has the advantages of high-energy density, fast-charging capability, excellent thermal stability, great low-temperature performance and high-integration efficiency, among others.
The energy density of CATL’s sodium-ion battery cell can achieve up to 160Wh/kg, and the battery can charge in 15 minutes to 80% SOC at room temperature.
Moreover, in a low-temperature environment of -20°C, the sodium-ion battery has a capacity retention rate of more than 90%, and its system integration efficiency can reach more than 80%.
The sodium-ion batteries’ thermal stability exceeds the national safety requirements for traction batteries. The first generation of sodium-ion batteries can be used in various transportation electrification scenarios, especially in regions with extremely low temperatures, where its outstanding advantages become obvious. Also, it can be flexibly adapted to the application needs of all scenarios in the energy storage field.
The next generation of sodium-ion batteries’ energy density development target is to exceed 200Wh/kg.
At the event, Dr. Qisen Huang, deputy dean of the CATL Research Institute, said that sodium-ion battery manufacturing is perfectly compatible with the lithium-ion battery production equipment and processes, and the production lines can be rapidly switched to achieve a high-production capacity.
As of now, CATL has started its industrial deployment of sodium-ion batteries, and plans to form a basic industrial chain by 2023. CATL invites upstream suppliers and downstream customers, as well as research institutions to jointly accelerate the promotion and development of sodium-ion batteries.
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%.
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, a similar time from to Solid Power. Independent engineering analysis by Cleanerwatt and Matt Ferrel (undecided) do believe these timeframes. CATL, Panasonic/Toyota BYD all have too much at risk and too much engineering not to also be there if solid state does reach market by that time.
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.
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 can result in even greater energy density than with lithium. Plus lithium is so reactive, the batteries are normally made from lithium compounds, rather than lithium metal.
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”.
Lithium metal is one of the best candidates to replace graphite as an anode material thanks to its high theoretical capacity. The problem is that batteries using lithium metal anodes currently have poor cycle life.
However, thanks to a new non-flammable dual-anion ionic liquid electrolyte this could soon change.
see because the current population is clearly greater than
Al Air. (No products 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.
Global EV Battery Shipment – January-May 2021:
If we take a look at the year-to-date numbers, it turns out that CATL (22.1 GWh) maintained its first place, but it’s only 0.4 GWh ahead of LG Energy Solution (2.7 GWh). The combined market share of those two manufacturers is 53.7%, which means that every second xEV on the planet is equipped with CATL or LGES batteries.
CATL clearly benefits from very high sales in China (including LFP deal with Tesla) and several global contracts, while LG Energy Solution got a boost from the deal with Tesla in China and massive expansion globally.
Panasonic, with 13 GWh, is not only behind the leaders, but its growth rate is below 74%, which is a worrying sign.
CATL – 22.1 GWh (up 300%) with 27.1% share
LG Chem’s LG Energy Solution – 21.7 GWh (up 184%) with 26.6% share
Panasonic – 13.0 GWh (up 74%) with 16.0% share
BYD – 5.5 GWh (up 235%)
Samsung SDI – 4.6 GWh (up 106%)
SK Innovation – 3.8 GWh (up 154%)
CALB – 2.5 GWh (up 418%)
Envision AESC – 1.6 GWh (up 11%)
Guoxuan – 1.4 GWh (up 336%)
PEVE – 1.0 GWh (up 43%) other – 4.3 GWh (up 235%) Total – 81.6 GWh (up 169%)
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.