Posted by: moralee | March 20, 2008

Welcome .

Neil MoraleeI specialise in cleaning systems within the food industry in the uk, but I also have 30 years general management experience within the industry, so feel free to ask questions. If I can help I will.

Thanks Neil

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Responses

  1. BIg news about batteries.
    The following section of transcript is taken from the “Security Now”

    podcast. The full transcript can be found at http://www.grc.com/securitynow

    and the whole range of podcasts can be found at http://www.twit.tv.

    This dialogue takes place between Steve Gibson of the “Gibson Research

    Corporation” and Leo Laport of “www.twit.tv”

    STEVE: Okay. So the big news from MIT in the last week appeared in

    the Letters section of Nature magazine, announcing MIT’s, well, two

    materials scientists, some chemists at MIT, have come up with a major

    battery technology breakthrough. What they essentially did was they

    have come up with a technology for changing the surface

    crystallization in an otherwise standard lithium ion cell, where the

    surface is specially prepared to create a much more, effectively a

    porous to lithium ion surface. The upshot of this is you can take

    existing lithium ion chemistry, which is well understood and well

    developed. You switch it to using this particular electrode

    preparation. And you can now fully charge and discharge a lithium ion

    battery in a matter of seconds.

    LEO: What? Charge and discharge in – this is like those

    ultracapacitors that we were talking about.

    STEVE: Well, exactly. In fact, in their paper they show the ways in

    which this technology is similar to ultracapacitors, even though it’s

    entirely different. I mean, for example, as we know, the

    ultracapacitor owes its potential for high energy storage by using

    really high operating voltages. Now, that’s the controversial aspect

    of an ultracapacitor, and actually it’s a problem with its

    application. That is, if you were talking about, what was it, 3,500,

    35,000 volts of charge, so you need to step up your available charging

    source up to that level, and you need to step – when you’re using the

    capacitor’s stored charge, you need to step the voltage back down to

    five volts if you’re going to be using this technology in a laptop.

    So the beauty of using existing lithium ion battery technology is that

    we understand it, it’s mature, fabrication’s in place, and the

    charging and discharging, it’s operating at natural use voltages

    instead of something exotic.

    LEO: Well, how does it charge in nine seconds if it’s the same

    voltage?

    STEVE: Well, voltage and current are different. So voltage is

    pressure, and current is flow.

    LEO: Flow. It would need higher current; right?

    STEVE: Well, and so these guys – oh, yes. And in fact, the current,

    the available current is the limiting factor. For example, you could

    not – you cannot charge your plug-in hybrid vehicle in 10 seconds

    because you need too many kilowatt hours of energy. So a vehicle with

    this battery technology could technically charge itself up in a few

    minutes, but you’d have to give it way more than household current.

    So what you can imagine is, you can imagine the equivalent of a gas

    station, but now it’s an electron station, where you literally…

    LEO: A tank, you need a tank to fill.

    STEVE: Well, you literally drive your car up when it’s near empty.

    You have some serious industrial-type connector which looks like some

    megawatt plug. You plug it in, and this thing dumps a huge amperage

    of current into your car. And in a matter of a minute, just like

    you’re filling your tank now, this thing could recharge your car’s

    next-generation lithium ion battery.

    LEO: That’s really amazing. Now, what about a laptop? Could you use

    – I guess you couldn’t – could you use it on a laptop?

    STEVE: Absolutely. I mean, now, we’re probably two or three years

    away from this getting out into the market.

    LEO: Good, because I just bought a laptop. I don’t want to buy a new

    one.

    STEVE: Yeah. We’re probably two or three years away because, I mean,

    now, two companies, two producers have already licensed the technology

    from MIT. So, I mean, everyone gets it that this is a breakthrough.

    I mean, the days of charging up your cell phone or your PDA or your

    Kindle overnight, that’s going to be gone in a few years. And I can

    imagine somebody four years from now listening to this podcast, it’s

    like, what? You had what?

    LEO: All night?

    STEVE: You guys used to have to do that? That’s crazy.

    LEO: This could be a huge breakthrough. And what I love about this,

    as opposed to ultracapacitors, is it works with existing battery

    technology.

    STEVE: Yes, yes.

    LEO: How much of a change is it? Do they change how they manufacture

    them?

    STEVE: Well, yes. Again, this is all in the lab. And these guys,

    they talk in this paper, none of the – this is in the press a lot this

    week. But all the stuff in the press is just sort of your top-level

    surface junk, and it didn’t really talk about how this works. So I

    bought a PDF from Nature of their paper, which is deep in chemistry

    and material science. And it talks about how they – what they make

    this of, that this is a lithium iron phosphate electrode, which they

    heat to 600 degrees for some length of time, then they raise it to 900

    degrees, and they do this and that. And they understand, being

    materials guys, that what they’re doing is they’re changing the

    surface, the crystalline surface structure at the nano level so that

    it is far more permeable to ions. And it’s the ionic permeability of

    the electrodes which have traditionally limited the rate at which you

    can charge and discharge lithium ion cells.

    And they’ve got charts and diagrams. And they show, for example, they

    state in their paper that the typical power rate, okay, so that’s not

    the total amount of energy, but the power rate, the rate at which

    you’re able to take power out of a lithium ion cell, the traditional

    lithium ion cell, is between 0.5 and 2 kilowatts per kilogram. So

    think of it, between half and 2 kilowatts per kilogram. In their test

    cells, using their modified lithium ion phosphate electrode, they’re

    able to get 170 kilowatts per kilogram. So from 2 to 170.

    LEO: Wow.

    STEVE: So it’s orders of magnitude. And that was a full discharge of

    the battery. They charged the battery up, topped it off, just like

    you do any lithium ion battery, although much more quickly, and they

    discharged it fully in nine seconds. So they dumped all of the

    battery power out in nine seconds. So, I mean, what this means, as

    you said, you asked for laptops. We’re back again to plugging it in

    and counting maybe to 10, or maybe to 100. But, I mean…

    LEO: That’s great.

    STEVE: …no more hours required to charge. See, right now…

    LEO: But, now, we wouldn’t need a special charging station, though;

    right? I mean, again, we need extra current to flow that much – or

    maybe not. Is a battery, a laptop battery that much current?

    STEVE: And that’s my point exactly, is that we’re not talking about

    filling up a car battery.

    LEO: Right, right.

    STEVE: We’re filling up a laptop battery, so…

    LEO: You could do it on your standard, whatever it is, circuit.

    STEVE: Well, it will be different charging technology. So, I mean,

    it’s not like we’re going to be able to get new batteries and stick

    them in our old laptops because that won’t happen. It’ll be the next

    generation of laptop. It will work only with these next-generation

    batteries. And so when you plug your laptop adapter into the wall,

    okay, the house lights will dim a little bit.

    LEO: That’s not good.

    STEVE: But only for 30 seconds.

    LEO: For nine, nine seconds, yeah.

    STEVE: It’d be like running your microwave, where you can sort of,

    ooh, wow, this is sucking some power out of that. But in 30 seconds

    your hamburger is hot. And in this case…

    LEO: Now, this would also increase the capacity; right? We should be

    able to get much longer life out of these; right?

    STEVE: I don’t think that’s the case.

    LEO: It’s not, okay.

    STEVE: Because it’s still using – and they don’t directly address

    this in their paper. And if it did increase the capacity, they

    certainly would have addressed it. Because it is using standard

    lithium ion technology, they just solved the rate at which you can

    charge and discharge. Now, the other reason that’s important is that,

    well, first of all, it means that you solved the problem of

    recharging, given that we actually would create electrical recharging

    stations the way we have gas stations now. But say that we stayed

    with a hybrid model. The problem with traditional hybrid technology,

    where you’ve got a gas engine, an internal combustion engine, is that

    there are better ways to convert fuel, gasoline, to electricity than

    an internal combustion engine hooked to a generator. What you really

    want is an external combustion engine. And that’s called a turbine.

    LEO: Ahhh.

    ————

    The future looks good !


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