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John Petersen is the executive vice president and chief financial officer of ePower Engine Systems, Inc., a Kentucky-based enterprise that has developed, built and demonstrated an engine-dominant diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain for long-haul heavy trucks that promises fuel savings of 30 to 40... More
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Fefer Petersen & Co.
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  • What I Learned, Heard And Saw At ELBC 13 In Paris 80 comments
    Sep 28, 2012 1:26 PM | about stocks: AXPW, JCI, XIDEQ

    ELBC 13 was a tremendous event that gave me a lot of clarity on where Axion and the PbC fit into the market. It also gave me a good deal of clarity on where the competition is headed because I had an opportunity to watch presentations from JCI, Exide, and East Penn, and spend a good half-hour talking one-on-one with the CEO of East Penn.

    MY KEYNOTE PRESENTATION

    As many readers know I gave a keynote presentation at this year's ELBC. Since I thought readers might like to see and hear what I told the industry, I've put together a Sliderocket presentation that includes both my slides and the scripted version of my discussion. It's available here:

    portal.sliderocket.com/APMLF/Final-John-...

    DCA WORKSHOP NOTES:

    The DCA workshop on Tuesday taught me several things about how cycling impacts DCA. The worst-case operating regime for DCA deterioration is a conventional vehicle that only starts the engine once per trip. The presentation from Heidde Budde-Miewes showed that AGM was better than a standard flooded battery, but not necessarily better than some of the enhanced flooded batteries.

    The test cycle she's been using comes much closer to emulating the real duty cycle of a car because it cycles the battery for a half hour and then let it "rest" for five hours before cycling it for another half-hour. Even the best performing lead-acid batteries lose 90% to 95% of their DCA within a few weeks when you include more realistic rest periods. So in a quirky way, the micro-hybrid duty cycle test protocol that Axion's been talking about for the last two years is easier on the batteries than real life.

    While I'm on the topic of the test protocol, Eckhard Karden of Ford referred to the test protocol a couple times as the "Axion-BMW Protocol" rather than the Ford-BMW protocol. I found that attribution fascinating because Axion was only briefly mentioned at the back of the 2010 ELBC presentation from BMW, Ford and Moll.

    I did some digging and learned that BMW and Axion did the heavy lifting on developing the test protocol, but Eckhard Karden got top billing on the 2010 presentation because he was the first researcher to describe DCA as an issue. Despite the fact that the protocol originated with Axion and BMW several presenting companies used it to show how their innovations were improving their DCA performance. Many of them were able to shift their curves up a bit, but there was nothing that even vaguely resembled the PbC's graphs.

    The next point of clarity I got from the DCA Workshop is that automakers are measuring DCA in terms of "Amps of charge per Amp-hour of battery capacity," rather than Amps per battery.

    In effect, Axion has been understating its DCA advantage by comparing a 50 Ah PbC with comparably sized AGM batteries that have ratings in the 80 to 100 Ah range.

    If you think about it for a second the Amps per Amp-hour metric makes a lot of sense. After all, a 50 Amp current going into a 50 Amp-hour battery is twice the charge rate of a 50 Amp current going into a 100 Amp-hour battery.

    The bottom line is that the best "stabilized DCA performance" automakers are getting from Enhanced Flooded and AGM batteries is in the range of 0.05 to 0.10 Amps per Amp-hour.

    After the workshop I had a few minutes to chat with Enders about the battery Axion used in the original BMW tests. He did confirm that it was an automotive sized PbC and while he didn't recall the Amp-hour rating, he agreed with my guess that it was probably in the 50 Ah range since the bigger 30HT sports a rating in the 70Ah range.

    That means the DCA of the PbC when stated in terms of Amps per Amp-hour is roughly 2.0, while the nearest conventional competition is in the range of 0.1. While the current numbers are extraordinary, Ender's presentation yesterday said that the ongoing work under the project funded by the SBIR grant will be testing the dual battery system at a 150 Amp current (91% to the PbC and 9% to the starter battery), or roughly 3 Amps per Amp hour for the PbC.

    In light of Tom's recent public statements that the 30HT has been tested at 200 Amps, which is roughly 3 Amps per Amp-hour, my guess is they already know that the PbC can handle a 3 Amp charge rate, but want to publicize the formal claim in connection with a peer reviewed testing program, which is basically what you get when you submit the results of an SBIR Phase I project to the DOE.

    EXIDE-JCI NOTES:

    It's clear that JCI and Exide are focusing on Enhanced Flooded and AGM batteries, and they're generally satisfied with the modest performance improvements these technologies offer. For now, many mass-market automakers like Ford Europe are only concerned with meeting the CO2 requirements to continue selling cars. This makes sense if you think back to the "Best Available Technology" discussion in my ELBC presentation. For now, Ford has perfect cover for its decision to stick with Enhanced Flooded batteries because better AGM technology isn't available at relevant scale, and even better PbC technology isn't available in any scale. Their decision dynamic will change as AGM capacity ramps and then PbC capacity ramps, but for now I'm scratching Ford off my list of potential early adopters.

    ULTRABATTERY NOTES:

    I had met the CEO of East Penn, at a couple of industry conferences including EESAT 2009 and ELBC 2010. Yesterday Rachel and I were able to snag about a half-hour of face time and ask her some very direct questions about East Penn's plans for the Ultrabattery.

    Unlike public company executives who have to be guarded about what they say and how they say it, East Penn's CEO was refreshingly blunt. She explained that East Penn took two licenses from CSIRO. The first, in 2008, was limited to automotive in North America and China. The second, in 2010, was a worldwide license for stationary applications with exclusions for Japan and Thailand.

    She then explained that while automotive was a long slow grind, they'd had tremendous results implementing the Ultrabattery technology in their big 2-Volt stationary cells, and were actively building that market. They were also continuing work on the mild-hybrid market, which has been a primary target for the Ultrabattery for years. She confirmed to me that East Penn was not presently focusing on the micro-hybrid market and while she wouldn't close the door on the possibility of a future run at micro-hybrids, it was not presently a priority application for East Penn.

    Of the two applications they are working on, she sees more short-term potential in the non-utility stationary market, and says that East Penn could be ramping sales faster than they are, but is holding back because they don't want to risk "the big mistake." As CEO of a family-owned company, she apparently believes that growth in several stages is more sensible than trying to conquer the world in one giant leap.

    In this morning's presentation, East Penn indicated that they had a string of batteries on test at Penn State for Norfolk Southern which apparently wants 5-years of proven battery life. They indicated that so far the Ultrabattery is about three years through the testing cycle and performing stably. I don't see any reason to believe, however, the Ultrabattery might be a short-term competitor.

    AXION NOTES

    I'm biased, but I thought Enders Dickenson's presentation was more dynamic, positive and generally interesting than all the others combined. It explained how the SBIR project would take the BMW-Axion test protocol up a notch and use a 150 Amp current instead of a 100 Amp current.

    It also explained why the PbC performs so well in strings. The basic reason is that conventional lead acid batteries have a convex shaped charge curve like a ski-jump while the PbC has a concave shaped charge curve like an upside-down bowl. Apparently that difference tends to bring weaker cells up to standard naturally without having to engage in active current and load management in the BMS.

    In this morning's presentation about their New Mexico project, East Penn noted that their battery strings are also self-balancing to a degree, although they didn't go into much detail about how, why or when. So I guess we'll have to live with the idea that PbC is king in a string, but there may be a couple princes out there.

    BMW NOTES:

    In 2010 BMW fired a shot across the bow of the battery industry when it held up Axion and the PbC as a better solution. This year the shot across the bow described a six month single vehicle test where they used dual battery system that used a flooded LAB for starting and a 14-volt, 20 Amp-hour lithium-ion pack for the hotel loads. It was the same kind of dual battery system that Axion is proposing, but it used lithium instead of PbC as the demonstrator. In the Q&A session after the presentation, the BMW guy indicated that the cost of a dual-battery lead-acid/lithium-ion system would probably be on the order of 2.8 times the cost of an AGM battery alone. My sense from the presentation was that BMW was trying to tell the lead-acid industry "We can do this if we have to, but we'd really rather not." I saw nothing to indicate that their testing of a dual lead-lithium system was anywhere near the same stage of development as the dual lead-PbC system.

    UNEXPECTED FUN DEVELOPMENT

    One of the speakers on Wednesday was from Avicenne Energy, a French firm that does most of its business consulting for the lithium-ion, NiMH and NiCd battery world. They've invited me to speak at their lithium-ion battery conference in Nice, France next month. It may feel a bit like Daniel in the lion's den, but it should be interesting.

    OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT YEAR

    I was very encouraged by my talk with East Penn's CEO who explained that they saw renewables integration and behind the meter systems as the clearest and easiest paths to sales becuase the customers are driven by entirely different needs than automakers and utilities. She said there was enough demand out there for them to sell 60 or 70 MW a year, but they were intentionally keeping the numbers small because they didn't want to go too big without enough experience out of concern that going to big too fast can be deadly if you end up facing an unexpected problem. She didn't mention A123 by name, but she did say that she'd hate to be in a position where she had to go to the Chinese for money because they bit off more than they could chew. I was careful to avoid asking her direct questions about Axion, but it's clear that she's impressed with the results coming out of New Castle.

    FUTURE ARTICLES

    Those of you who've seen my presentation know that it tied together several themes I've written about before, but failed to explain as thoroughly or as well. There was something about being forced to clarify the points for a brief presentation that also forced me to crystallize my thoughts on several topics that had been pretty amorphous. In the process, I planted the seeds for a series of articles that will more clearly define the issues and show where Axion and the other companies I write about fit into the broader landscape.

    I'm not sure when those articles will be published, however I am sure that I'll split the work between SA and TheStreet. This year's ELBC didn't have a single negative minute for Axion, but there were several positive hours.

    I'm pumped.

    Disclosure: I am long OTCQB:AXPW.

    Stocks: AXPW, JCI, XIDEQ
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Comments (80)
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  • Jon Springer
    , contributor
    Comments (4152) | Send Message
     
    Thanks John.
    28 Sep 2012, 01:26 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I'm really sorry my connectivity was so bad in Paris, but the hotel put the entire conference on a special network and it was simply overloaded most of the time. Despite the communication delays, Paris was all about micro hybrids and I think Axion stole the show. The mouse of ELBC 12 roared at ELBC 13.
    28 Sep 2012, 01:46 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    John - Good.

     

    I'm looking forward to hearing more of the mouse that roared for two hours without one negative minute, so that I can be as pumped as you are.
    28 Sep 2012, 03:09 PM Reply Like
  • bangwhiz
    , contributor
    Comments (2224) | Send Message
     
    John, you are a god-send to Axion investors. Your coverage and insights are of tremendous value to us all. If you read my latest comments with the APH you'll see I am see-sawing at the moment. Sure would like to hear your vision for how you think things may go over the next year. It is all a black hole to me. Shine any light into it you can please. Thanks for all your good and hard work.
    28 Sep 2012, 01:55 PM Reply Like
  • jakurtz
    , contributor
    Comments (1887) | Send Message
     
    In other other words dose him up another syringe with some blue Kool-aid and shoot him up. While you are at it you might as well make that two blue-sky cocktails.
    28 Sep 2012, 01:59 PM Reply Like
  • anthlj
    , contributor
    Comments (230) | Send Message
     
    John,
    Thanks much for your diligent and generous reporting.
    A couple of points.

     

    You state: 'My sense from the presentation was that BMW was trying to tell the lead-acid industry "We can do this if we have to, but we'd really rather not." I saw nothing to indicate that their testing of a dual lead-lithium system was anywhere near the same stage of development as the dual lead-PbC system.'

     

    If the dual lead-PbC system is more advanced with BMW, then why did they present the lithium-flooded data? Or not present the Li and PbC-based systems together?
    If the Li cost is 2.8 times AGM, where does that put it in $ terms, bearing in mind Axion is hoping to invoice NS in the region of $400+ for a PbC?
    28 Sep 2012, 02:04 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3308) | Send Message
     
    Ah, and here we have the crux. BMW would appear to be playing their hand in a very sophisticated way. Surely they've paid for and value highly all the PbC information they have amassed... and with operative NDA's in force for now they basically own it. So why (or why not) share it for free? What are the upsides and downsides to sharing it, and sharing it now? Certainly there's hunger there for that data at the ELBC. We know there is here. So why did they demur? Is it just not time yet? All their thought processes here must be fascinating...
    28 Sep 2012, 02:36 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » In a side conversation with Eckhard Karden of Ford he made it pretty clear that one of his big goals is to push battery manufacturers to do more and get even more creative. He basically confirmed my view that the 2010 BMW-Ford-Moll presentation was a shot across the bow to wake the industry up and challenge them to get their game on.

     

    Since we've recently seen an Asian automaker jump on board in a big way on the strength of BMW's work it's pretty clear that they are sharing in the auto industry. There's not a whole lot of benefit to BMW, however, from telling the battery manufacturers how much further ahead one of them is. They want a competitive market with several acceptable solutions. Right now their only choices seem to be PbC or lithium, and neither of those solutions is currently available in relevant scale.

     

    Stockholders always wish, pray and hope for certainty and a silver bullet solution. Reality is always a horse race where win, place and show all pay off. After spending three days at ELBC there is no doubt in my mind that PbC is head and shoulders above the lead-acid pack and the only potential dark horse is lithium-ion.

     

    Fortunately, lithium-ion is not presently cheap enough, proven enough or stable enough for any automaker to use in mass market products. It will no doubt get some high end design wins, but the auto industry isn't going to give up a century of performance for a promise of performance from a sub-sector like lithium-ion that's been a trail of broken promises for years.
    28 Sep 2012, 02:51 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (16953) | Send Message
     
    Heh! "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer"!

     

    Speaking at a Li-ion conference will likely, indeed, be "interesting"!

     

    This information seems very positive to me - I especially like the potential change in comparing apples-to-apples with charge-rate per amp-hour. We already shine and we haven't even formulated or published in that unit of measure. We already do, effectively, a 2C (and 3C?) rate and "they" are happy with 0.1?

     

    I hope that message sunk into the noggins of some of the potential customers that were attending.

     

    Great piece John!

     

    As always, kudos and thank you!

     

    HardToLove
    28 Sep 2012, 02:05 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    Ht - i could be wrong, but I believe the amp/ahr DCA figure of 0.1 or 2.0 probably refers to effective delivery (ie., acceptance) even tho 2C or 3C rates are employed; so it's what % of a 2C or 3C rate are effective as actual DCA according to the capacity.

     

    I could have misunderstood you (and I'm not trolling, best I understand that concept...).
    28 Sep 2012, 03:05 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » An Amps per Amp-hour rate is also the effective C rate because a 1C current will recharge a battery in one hour.

     

    Conventional lead acid batteries can discharge at rates well above 1C, but they prefer to be charged at rates of C/10 to C/20 if you want to avoid damage.
    28 Sep 2012, 03:34 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    John and Ht - you are right. I wonder if when the Power and the Energy devices are in the same circuit (and in the same cube for AXPW) and one is dealing with capacitance stored in one way at it's preferred rate and capacity while the energy device has it's own preferred rate (charge acceptance) which also varies depending on it's state of charge of it's total capacity. Two beasts presenting preferred handling on the input side and also acting differently on the output side, not discounting that every battery has both a power and energy rating, plus now an additional set for the capacitance side or the graphitic side, if you will.

     

    But hey, I'm obsolete and far removed from what may be going on.
    28 Sep 2012, 05:00 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (16953) | Send Message
     
    NJB: Siliconhillbilly or someone else probably knows better, but I anticipate that the sophistication of integrated circuits and software these days will handle that disparity without much problem. IIRC, devices exist for voltage and current limiting and splitting and the needed logic (in the form of an EEPROM?) is probably easy to program to flip the switches and vary the rates as needed.

     

    From what's been posted, the PbC is easy because there's a linear relationship between voltage and SOC (state of charge) whereas the traditional LA/VRLB/AGM batteries don't have that - they would need logic a little more complicated (not much - just a table of values to be matched?) to handle them.

     

    But, as I said, someone more knowledgeable should really address this. I just didn't want you to possibly have to hang for a weekend until they might drop in.

     

    HardToLove
    28 Sep 2012, 05:15 PM Reply Like
  • Rick Krementz
    , contributor
    Comments (2057) | Send Message
     
    HTL - The problem of estimating remaining capacity in LAB is that there is no consistent match of battery voltage to remaining charge. If a nearly discharged LAB (11 v) is very rapidly charged for 20 minutes, a voltage test may show the battery at 13 v, even though the battery is still less than 50% charged. Wait a few hours, and the voltage will drop back to 11.5-12 v.

     

    Take a fully charged battery at 12.6 volts and rapidly discharge for a short time. The voltage will drop, and slowly recover (in a few hours) after the load is removed.

     

    Battery manufacturers suggest letting a battery sit 24 hours with no charge/discharge to get an accurate voltage as a proxy for capacity.

     

    Another way of measuring charge is from the specific gravity of the acid, assuming the cells are full of electrolyte and there has not been an acid spill. The value needs to be temperature corrected.
    28 Sep 2012, 05:36 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (16953) | Send Message
     
    Thanks Rick. I knew the traditional ones had more considerations.

     

    HardTLove
    28 Sep 2012, 05:47 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    Thanks HTL - I come from the era of mechanical switching when logic was hard wired with real sensors and a feedback loop - maybe an analog setup, etc. Now were are into quantum physics and particles I have difficulty imagining. The earth is not flat, however. Don't be fooled.
    28 Sep 2012, 10:21 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    Is not the portion of the AXPW PbC not replaced with the graphictic plate still functioning as a regular or standard PbA?
    28 Sep 2012, 10:26 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » The positive plate goes through a conventional LAB reaction, but the negative plate goes through an electrostatic reaction.
    28 Sep 2012, 11:12 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    John - that's right; a portion of the total negative plates are replaced with graphitic electrodes to match the desired application while the remaining portion of negatives do their normal thing as do ALL the positives, with everything swimming in the same electrolyte.
    29 Sep 2012, 12:55 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » In the PbC all negative electrodes are replaced with carbon electrode assemblies. There is no lead on any negative electrode in a PbC.
    29 Sep 2012, 05:43 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    OK. I stand corrected. So then, PbC applications will demand additional traditional batteries for the energy component? Obviously I have been wrong-headed in thinking power and energy would be within the same PbC box. So the PbC begins to look more like a Maxwell ultracapacitor coupling. Except for the posivie plate contribution, that is. I guess I'll have to dig into this again. Or, maybe not..
    30 Sep 2012, 07:06 AM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (16953) | Send Message
     
    NJB: There's *tons* of information that will inform you if you start slowly going through some of the older concentrators.

     

    Some are linked right in the "headers" and others come about in the comments.

     

    HardToLove
    30 Sep 2012, 07:09 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » The PbC is a battery-supercapacitor hybrid. It stores energy just like a battery, albeit at a lower specific energy, and it charges and discharges like a supercapacitor.

     

    There is no need for another device.

     

    A 30HT AGM battery from Lifeline has a rated capacity of 150 Amp hours at a 20 hour rate. – http://bit.ly/sYM4Qf

     

    The 30HT PbC battery from Axion has a rated capacity of 70 Amp hours at a 1 hour rate. – http://bit.ly/vbHfBB

     

    I'm not sure what the PbC's rated capacity would be at a 20 hour rate but it would probably be closer to 100 Amp hours.

     

    Both batteries can be discharged without damage in less than an hour, but the PbC can also be recharged in less than an hour while the AGM battery would need 10 hours and prefer 20 hours.

     

    In terms of potential throughput per day, the PbC is an order of magnitude better at storing energy than an AGM battery.
    30 Sep 2012, 10:12 AM Reply Like
  • User432382
    , contributor
    Comments (80) | Send Message
     
    Wow, and they're selling that 30HT AGM battery for $409.99! Makes the 30HT PbC sound like a bargain.
    30 Sep 2012, 12:56 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » If your value equation is based on energy throughput per day the $400 Lifeline AGM can capture and deliver 1,800 to 3,600 watt hours while the $400 PbC can capture and deliver 4,200 to 8,400 watt hours.

     

    That strikes me as a significant difference.
    30 Sep 2012, 01:32 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    Thanks John for the clarification (and saving me the trouble of studying it out, if such application info and design and internal operation detail is available).

     

    Am I correct in saying then that the PbC rate of discharge of the negative graphitic electrode (capacitance) is actually dependent or regulated by the opposing Pb positive plate's active material participation (energy and/or power) v/s a true capacitor which would not be dependent upon the opposing electrode participation as it basically acts as a fully absorbing or satisfying conductive device.

     

    (PS: I should be better at this PbC stuff but have been absorbed by WT excitement; and not to say that AXPW does not have my attention - I'm depending upon you and your communication/analysis - and you'd better be right <:=)))) ).
    30 Sep 2012, 08:34 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » As an electrochemical capacitor, the PbC is slower than a carbon-carbon supercapacitor from Maxwell would be, meaning that it can't fully discharge in seconds, but I'm not technically astute enough to discuss the rate limiting mechanisms.
    1 Oct 2012, 12:07 AM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    John - I finally understand to the level that has been bothering me. Whew!! And thanks.
    1 Oct 2012, 03:00 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I'm always glad to help to the extent I can, but there are times when I wish I had a deeper understanding of the technical details.
    1 Oct 2012, 03:13 PM Reply Like
  • Futurist
    , contributor
    Comments (2128) | Send Message
     
    John,
    Thanks for the thoughts. Your ability to clearly state what you heard is invaluable to us.
    28 Sep 2012, 02:30 PM Reply Like
  • SMaturin
    , contributor
    Comments (1986) | Send Message
     
    Thanks, John.

     

    In light of your comments about East Penn working with Norfolk Southern, I have to wonder if they are competing directly with Axion for the just announced new grant project that WTB found: http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    That's almost $1million to develop a "hybrid locomotive," between the Federal $400K and NSC's private $590K. Can we hope that they may actually be comparing PbC to the UltraBattery as a part of this project? King In a String should win, both in DCA, and in weight and cycle longevity.
    28 Sep 2012, 03:13 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » NS wants proof of a five year life and their test cycle on the UB is currently sitting at three years. The first round tests on the UB are nowhere near complete and it's highly unlikely that NS will put a battery that it hasn't fully tested on the road.

     

    By the way, the story WTB found in the Altoona Mirror specifically says "Work on the project will take place in Altoona, University Park, New Castle and Roanoke, Va., through December 2013."

     

    http://bit.ly/UU9Zpx

     

    Last time I checked, the only battery manufacturer in New Castle was Axion Power International.
    28 Sep 2012, 03:29 PM Reply Like
  • SMaturin
    , contributor
    Comments (1986) | Send Message
     
    Oops! I missed that "New Castle" mention.

     

    Yes, this is really very good news! Not only will they be continuing work on NS999, but it sounds like they will be starting this new hybrid locomotive program and using Axion batteries in the new design.

     

    Thanks, JP.
    28 Sep 2012, 03:35 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » It's more than good news, it explains why the batteries for the OTR locomotive were not ordered earlier. If you know a grant is coming to help pay for a project, you never EVER jump the gun and start spending the grant proceeds before they're awarded. Doing so is a great way to find yourself in a position where the government says "you did that purchase with your money, not ours."
    28 Sep 2012, 03:37 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3308) | Send Message
     
    Months adrift on a still and endless sea... but Lo! Something just landed on my leathered, sun-baked arm---a little white feather... the blessed plumage of Noah's dove....carrying coal dust *from* New Castle! ;)
    28 Sep 2012, 03:46 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    Is not one of the two buildings used by Axion a former PbAcid owned if not East Penn building?
    28 Sep 2012, 05:05 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » No. The main plant building is rented from the former owners of the New Castle Battery Company. According to the trolls on the Brand X message board, the building that houses the electrode fabrication plant was formerly used by some sort of pharmaceutical company.
    28 Sep 2012, 11:15 PM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie
    , contributor
    Comments (1823) | Send Message
     
    So there should be nothing holding NS back now, right?

     

    Let's keep a close eye on the Altoona works and hopefully see some action soon.

     

    D
    29 Sep 2012, 10:41 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » While I think it's safe to assume that the pending grant was a big contributor to the delay, I don't know that it's ever safe to assume that there's nothing holding NS back. Big companies are about as nimble and responsive as supertankers, but the existence of a reasonable explanation is encouraging.
    29 Sep 2012, 11:06 AM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie
    , contributor
    Comments (1823) | Send Message
     
    I suppose that's right, John. The work on the ns999 would require scheduling of resources which they could not have done until now since they would not have known the timing of the grant approval.

     

    So the approval now only means that NS can schedule the allocation of resources to the work but how far out those resources were already committed we can't know.

     

    We all must continue to be patient.

     

    D
    29 Sep 2012, 12:10 PM Reply Like
  • Tim Enright
    , contributor
    Comments (1333) | Send Message
     
    I might take it a step beyond scheduling resources and call it assembling a team. It will take some dedication to the project to push through the resistance. Perhaps this is where East Penn and the student program comes in...
    29 Sep 2012, 01:20 PM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (8492) | Send Message
     
    John, Thanks as always for attending and sharing your insights on these most important annual events.

     

    I'm happy that some of my thoughts concerning ease of entry into certain markets and the difficulty of others being supported by some of your discussions with persons far more "in the know" than myself. I'm even more grateful for the Rosewater relationship based on your comments. Oh, and that Axion is running their PowerCube demonstration behind the meter.

     

    I did leave a comment for you in the concentrators knowing you'd probably be far too busy but I took a chance. I'd like to ask it again since it's of huge interest to me. What I'd like to know is why the Solar industry is going with large individual 2V cells? I thought it was probably for better conditioning (cell balancing). What was of interest to me was that it seem the industry still wants this format with the the Ultrabattery. I tells me they are looking to use legacy BMS's or that the Ultrabattery is not as good as the PbC in string equalization. Not seen anything from East Penn and surely too direct a question for the CEO unfortunately.

     

    Thanks again for all your efforts as always.

     

    Oh, And I'll state again. I'm even envious of the train ride which we already addressed in the other form! What an expensive blessing where you can find it.
    28 Sep 2012, 04:04 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » The East Penn presentation from this morning showed interior shots of their containers in New Mexico. These 2 Volt cells have to weigh a couple hundred pounds each – they're immense.

     

    That's apparently the way cells have always been made for big industrial batteries. Axion makes cells in automotive and truck case sizes because that's what their plant is set up for. With 3 million feet of manufacturing facilities, East Penn does a whole lot more for a much wider range of customers.

     

    The East Penn presentation this morning did show that their cells also tend to passively equalize over time, but my sense is the process takes longer for the Ultrabattery than it does for the PbC.

     

    I hope to have a copy of Enders Dickenson's presentation by tomorrow. When I get it, I'll be sure to post a complete copy to my Dropbox. It will probably be a week or two before I get the rest of the ELBC presentations.
    28 Sep 2012, 04:12 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    Pb acid "jar" cells, huge, yes even glass, open tops, etc., have been the backup for much for many years; easily replaceable, maintainable, etc., etc. Typically, emergency power used between losing the primary and starting the diesel and bringing it on line, best I know.
    28 Sep 2012, 05:11 PM Reply Like
  • Al Marshall
    , contributor
    Comments (486) | Send Message
     
    John: Thanks very much for your report. 481086's comment captures my mood perfectly both for the WTB's article as well as your report.

     

    I do think your impression of BMW's actions is most interesting. Can you discuss in more detail the message you think BMW is trying to send to the industry? After all, Axion would seem plenty eager to receive an order from BMW. Sure, BMW might prefer better pricing, but BMW surely isn't trying to send a message to Axion. Clearly, BMW's message was intended for JCI and Exide, whom, as you describe above, seem pretty content with AGM and enhanced flooded batteries.

     

    Now, if BMW is concerned about manufacturing the PbC, you'd think that JCI and Exide would jump (join forces with Axion) if BMW just told them to. Do you think that they would say no to BMW?

     

    The analogy that strikes me is that of a classroom where BMW is the teacher who is intently ignoring the nerdy kid (Axion) with the answer who keeps raising his hand and saying "ooh ooh" and instead is focusing on the cool kids (JCI and Exide) who are just sitting there silently.

     

    Is sure looks like BMW doesn't want to go with Axion for some reason or doesn't think Lithium Ion is a workable second source.
    28 Sep 2012, 04:25 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » You're jumping to way too many conclusions there AP. One of the key points in my presentation is that the lead-acid battery industry still sees itself as a commodity business while its customers are seeking help with regulatory issues.

     

    The auto industry doesn't want a sole source solution. It wants several competitive solutions from a variety of vendors. BMW has spent a fortune testing the PbC and is investing heaven knows how much in getting third party confirmation. There's nothing there to indicate dissatisfaction on BMW's part. Until BMW is ready to place an order, however, there's no particular reason for JCI or Exide or somebody else to bend over backwards making a deal with Axion when there might not be a need to.

     

    I've never heard an automaker seriously suggest lithium-ion as a substitute for lead-acid. The chemistry is too darned delicate for day to day abuse by hundreds of millions of customers. They do, however, have an urgent need to shock the lead-acid battery industry into taking things up a couple notches. I don't think it helps the automakers case that they're such penny pinchers, but the lazy kid in class who's grown used to a "no child left behind" policy never has much incentive to excel on his own. I think the teacher is trying to tell the lazy kids that T-ball time is over and they will be left behind if they don't get their act together.
    28 Sep 2012, 04:34 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (16953) | Send Message
     
    APMarshall: I think it's not that BMW doesn't want to go with Axion. I think it's what's been discussed in the past - security of supply by having multiple sources and larger proven-capacity and quality suppliers in their supply chain.

     

    Working off John's take, I interpret this a message saying BMW wants one or more of these folks to give them a better product than they currently offer and, knowing that Exide and JCI are aware of the Axion testing with BMW and very positive results, they won't get the business if they don't do something because BMW can go Li-ion.

     

    I could be all wet, but ...

     

    HardToLove
    28 Sep 2012, 04:39 PM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (8492) | Send Message
     
    John, Just to stick my nose into your and apmarshall62's discussion. In light of your comment regarding lithium ion safety, I saw this article lately which I hadn't posted at the concentrator. Seems timely. :)

     

    German joint industry project develops safer EV traction batteries

     

    "Over the next three years, 15 partners from German science and the automotive and supply industry will research how the safety of lithium ion batteries can be further improved for electric and hybrid vehicles. Focal points of the research program dubbed SafeBatt will be new materials, test methods and semiconductor sensors for use in lithium ion batteries."

     

    http://bit.ly/QLkfLt
    28 Sep 2012, 04:58 PM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (8492) | Send Message
     
    HTL, You're right on the money as is John.

     

    Automotive wants assured quality, price, delivery but they also want it localized in the markets they serve in short order. They cannot ship batteries from one plant in one country and be successful. It's too expensive and risky. They want suppliers that can scale and follow them around as they roll it out in the markets they serve. The large auto companies are global and it reduces geographic risk ( recent Japan ) geopolitical risks ( want a single source out of Libya ) risks associated with monetary and government policy swings etc.

     

    In the end they would be happier than pigs in s^%t if Axion sold their rights to 10 different suppliers around the world and turned PbC into the commodity flooded batteries are. It gives companies like BMW all the leverage in negotiations and they are assured supply.

     

    PS, Honda came out recently and said they are losing money on every vehicle they export from Japan to the US. They were not prepared for the huge shift in the value of the Yen vs USD. They didn't have the vision, or scale, to do what Toyota has done for the last 20 years or so in the US. So they have to suck it up and eat it because the market is too darn important to abandon. They will eat the losses until they can expand production and shift their supply chains around to adapt. Just another example.
    28 Sep 2012, 05:12 PM Reply Like
  • Al Marshall
    , contributor
    Comments (486) | Send Message
     
    JP/Iindelco/HTL: I'm all over the dual source issue with you all and as I've said, Axion's "Coke" needs a "Pepsi". Or, to humor John, even if Axion is a niche player like Dr. Pepper, it'll do just fine. In other words, PbC, a viable LI solution, and even a lesser, but still in the ballpark solution from JCI and or Exide would present a decent palette of choices for the auto OEMs.

     

    If BMW really, really wants to send a message to JCI and Exide, all it has to do is give Axion some kind of order. Until that happens, presentations like the ones that BMW gave in 2010 about Axion and in 2012 about LI are just posturing and the more they do it the less effective it will be.

     

    Part of me hopes that Axion's negotiations with the major Asian OEM in addition to revenue guarantees for Axion also includes some temporary MFN /exclusivity features for the OEM. Clearly, the battery makers and the auto OEMs think time is on their side when it comes to dealing with Axion. Hopefully, Mr. Granville will be able to prove them wrong.

     

    Still, it is going to be a very long road. The regulators aren't going to move until they are convinced there are multiple mature solutions in place, and the auto OEMs are in no hurry to have the regulators raise the bar on them.

     

    In my mind, it all gets back to other markets such as the residential hub and other niches we haven't yet heard much about, including my favorite, elevators. If these niches get us to cash flow positive by year-end 2013, Axion will be able to wait out the auto and battery guys.
    29 Sep 2012, 12:38 PM Reply Like
  • jveal
    , contributor
    Comments (666) | Send Message
     
    AP,

     

    It is very possible that XIDE and JCI know all about the progress of the PbC with BMW. With testing in the third party phase and fleet testing soon to follow, it is very likely that BMW has been in talks with Axion and potential mass producers of batteries. If that is the case, we are the ones in the dark and the battery manufacturers know exactly what's going on.
    29 Sep 2012, 01:10 PM Reply Like
  • carlosgaviria
    , contributor
    Comments (775) | Send Message
     
    jveal.
    My opinion:
    BMW is from Germany. I think they want a help a Germany Battery: "MOLL BATERY".
    Have a good day.
    Carlos.
    29 Sep 2012, 01:45 PM Reply Like
  • wtblanchard
    , contributor
    Comments (2283) | Send Message
     
    Here's Moll's AGM page ... "ideal for start-stop"

     

    http://bit.ly/OvTSgw

     

    Perhaps an ideal "shot across the bow?"
    29 Sep 2012, 02:40 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (16953) | Send Message
     
    Iindelco: "... if Axion sold their rights to 10 different suppliers around the world and turned PbC into the commodity flooded batteries are".

     

    Let's hope John is right and Axion doesn't do that. His JV's scenario seems the best for Axion, to me.

     

    HardToLove
    28 Sep 2012, 05:51 PM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (8492) | Send Message
     
    HTL, I'm only expressing what might lead to turning PbC into a commodity. The autos would love for everyone to be their servants as would most large businesses. That doesn't mean you sign up for it.

     

    Balance my friend balance. Everyone pushes and pulls and at some point you shake hands and start out. Then you push and pull again.
    28 Sep 2012, 06:15 PM Reply Like
  • carlosgaviria
    , contributor
    Comments (775) | Send Message
     
    Many interesting things come from Paris:

     

    2010 ELBC presentation from BMW, Ford and Moll. It was relevant:

     

    -.The importance of DCA.
    -.Presented the PbC Tech.

     

    2013 ELBC in Paris

     

    -. The SBIR project would take the BMW-Axion test protocol up a notch and use a 150 Amp current instead of a 100 Amp current.
    -.E.P. CEO confirmed to me (JP) that East Penn was not presently focusing on the micro-hybrid market and while she wouldn't close the door on the possibility of a future run at micro-hybrids, it was not presently a priority application for East Penn.
    -. East Penn's CEO who explained that they saw renewables integration and behind the meter systems as the clearest and easiest paths to sales becuase the customers are driven by entirely different needs than automakers and utilities.
    -. The presentation from Heidde Budde-Miewes showed that AGM was better than a standard flooded battery, but not necessarily better than some of the enhanced flooded batteries.
    -. The micro-hybrid duty cycle test protocol that Axion's been talking about for the last two years is easier on the batteries than real life.
    -. Despite the fact that the protocol originated with Axion and BMW several presenting companies used it to show how their innovations were improving their DCA performance. Many of them were able to shift their curves up a bit, but there was nothing that even vaguely resembled the PbC's graphs.
    -. Automakers are measuring DCA in terms of "Amps of charge per Amp-hour of battery capacity," rather than Amps per battery.
    -. It also explained (Mr. Enders) why the PbC performs so well in strings. The basic reason is that conventional lead acid batteries have a convex shaped charge curve like a ski-jump while the PbC has a concave shaped charge curve like an upside-down bowl. Apparently that difference tends to bring weaker cells up to standard naturally without having to engage in active current and load management in the BMS.
    -. And much more!!!

     

    Happy weekend to all.
    Carlos.
    28 Sep 2012, 08:26 PM Reply Like
  • carlosgaviria
    , contributor
    Comments (775) | Send Message
     
    Nobody knows for who is working:

     

    The presentation from Heidde Budde-Miewes showed that AGM was better than a standard flooded battery, but not necessarily better than some of the enhanced flooded batteries.

     

    I get the feeling that they are (Exide & JCI) investing a lot of money to achieve a minimal difference. At the end of the day, it's all for AXPW.
    Carlos.
    28 Sep 2012, 08:32 PM Reply Like
  • Pillot
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    John,
    I really appreciate our exchange at ELBC Paris.
    29 Sep 2012, 04:44 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » It was a lot of fun Christophe and I look forward to your conference next month.
    29 Sep 2012, 04:46 AM Reply Like
  • Mseekingalpha
    , contributor
    Comments (66) | Send Message
     
    John,
    Enjoyed your slide presentation and the discussion after this article. I also agree unfortunately that regulation is becoming a major driving factor for change. I have been doing survey of trucking companies to find problems they have that could cause them to convert to natural gas from diesel. A big problem I encountered is almost new and new fleets that cannot meet new diesel pollution control requirements. Regulations were passed that truck makers cannot meet. I expect, when new bigger natural gas engines become available in 2013 & 2014, to see many companies jumping to natural gas that is so much cleaner than diesel.
    Concerning the Trolls, open-mindedness is usually a cover for an inability to look closely enough at an issue. They and those that follow them probable deserve more pity than your wrath and time.
    29 Sep 2012, 11:34 AM Reply Like
  • magounsq
    , contributor
    Comments (964) | Send Message
     
    Mseekingalpha

     

    "They and those that follow them probable deserve more pity than your wrath and time."
    True, but they can be disruptive and provide misdirection and disinformation.
    Caveat emptor.

     

    Trolling Technique - 'CONSENSUS CRACKING'

     

    "A second highly effective technique... is 'consensus cracking.' ...Under the guise of a fake account a posting is made which looks legitimate ... but the critical point is that it has a VERY WEAK PREMISE without substantive proof to back the posting. ...uninformed reader cannot determine which side is the truth. As postings and replies are made the stronger 'evidence' or disinformation in your favour is slowly 'seeded in.' However in some cases where the forum members are highly educated and can counter your disinformation with real facts and linked postings..."

     

    VERY WEAK PREMISE...or...repeating questions previously answered (several times)...continuing a line of questioning merely to disrupt or misdirect followers.
    29 Sep 2012, 01:36 PM Reply Like
  • Mseekingalpha
    , contributor
    Comments (66) | Send Message
     
    Sorry for the distraction on John's article. But thanks for the Black PR lesson.
    29 Sep 2012, 02:17 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (16953) | Send Message
     
    Magounsq: IMHO, a lot of the success of any troll-type is dependent on the responses. Personally, I have a mental "Ignore Feature" and will extend myself only minimally if I believe some might actually believe the falsehoods.

     

    In most cases, because we have such a strong crew of individuals that keep accurate information at the forefront, I suspect most falsehoods will not be believed.

     

    Ditto for the seemingly innocuous questions or statements with a negative implication buried within.

     

    Denial of gratification is the weapon I favor most.

     

    Deletion of patently offensive behavior such as name-calling, denigration of others, ... is something I do support whole-heartedly.

     

    MHO,
    HardToLove
    29 Sep 2012, 04:42 PM Reply Like
  • magounsq
    , contributor
    Comments (964) | Send Message
     
    HTL

     

    "...dependent on the responses..."...true, but some take the bait as true and honest discussion.

     

    "I have a mental "Ignore Feature" ..."...as do I. But the "under the radar" ones can be troublesome.

     

    "...we have such a strong crew of individuals that keep accurate information at the forefront, I suspect most falsehoods will not be believed."...Agreed...but again, the "under the radar" comments have led commenters off on a tangent...i.e. repetitive Q&A...disruptive.

     

    Because I tend to follow comments in my own critical due diligence manner, tends to get a little frustrating ...JP hammers back when due, then commenters dislike some of JP's terms/tone...many of those commenters don't "see" it all in context.
    30 Sep 2012, 11:56 AM Reply Like
  • magounsq
    , contributor
    Comments (964) | Send Message
     
    Mseekingalpha

     

    My apologies if I came across harsh to you...not my intention.
    I would disagree with some to always DNFTT.

     

    "Black PR" is a good term...and no, I am not paranoid, just some healthy skepticism and cynicism.

     

    With all due respect to those much more technically proficient than myself...i.e. vast majority, my concern is some high IQ commenters read the comments and may not see the hidden agenda.

     

    IMHO
    30 Sep 2012, 12:05 PM Reply Like
  • magounsq
    , contributor
    Comments (964) | Send Message
     
    Mseekingalpha

     

    BTW...you have an interesting seat in the NATGAS arena via your profile.
    Any bloggers you follow whom you value re NATGAS?
    30 Sep 2012, 12:09 PM Reply Like
  • Renzo
    , contributor
    Comments (351) | Send Message
     
    Axion seems to have a lot of confidence in their technology for "no-idle" based on the last section in their SAE paper headed "Next Steps". (Apologies in advance for being somewhat unspecific in the transcription, but I'm trying to follow the letter and spirit of the DRM agreement.)

     

    The authors state that "additional samples" of VRLA and hybrid lead/carbon batteries will be tested and that once the protocol is validated as a relevant comparison method that results will be submitted to stop/start system manufacturers to secure "field trials" of the PbC system configuration. They state they want to involve manufacturers to establish test metrics and system configurations for field testing.
    29 Sep 2012, 11:25 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » It sounds like they're trying to develop a testing standard that's similar to the Axion-BMW DCA testing protocol for automotive stop-start. Based on what I saw and heard in Paris, it's a standard the engineers are likely to embrace.

     

    A curious thing about the trucking industry is that the OEMs are smaller and the users are far more aggressive about adopting fuel saving technologies earlier because there are so many independents and owners of small fleets.
    30 Sep 2012, 12:52 AM Reply Like
  • Mseekingalpha
    , contributor
    Comments (66) | Send Message
     
    You are absolutely correct John. Trucking is one of the few areas that offer good employment opportunities up here in the hills of Arkansas where we are 49th in everything (including education and income) and thank God for Mississippi. There are at least 10 trucking companies in my town of 10,000 people. The owners are some of the best down to earth people you would ever want to meet or do business with. And they watch every government change carefully because it will affect their bottom line greatly.
    30 Sep 2012, 06:55 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » This morning I decided to do some research to see if I could find charging curves for the Ultrabattery because I wanted to see if it had the same CDI characteristics as the PbC. I found my answer in a recent report out of Sandia that shows a clearly convex charging curve for the device.

     

    http://bit.ly/SOij9v
    30 Sep 2012, 01:19 AM Reply Like
  • SMaturin
    , contributor
    Comments (1986) | Send Message
     
    In the discussion around figure 4 in that paper, the authors also clearly indicate that loss of Ah capacity over time reflects sulfation at the negative plate in the ultrabattery. Another major difference between the PbC and ultrabattery, which I suspect is related to the CDI vs convex charge curve difference.
    30 Sep 2012, 09:06 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » The CDI charging curve is apparently unique to the PbC, but it has nothing to do with negative plate sulfation.

     

    Yesterday I wrote another Instablog that included a link to Axion's ELBC presentation. – http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    The phenomenon of sulfation is discussed in the presentation, which explains that lead-sulfate crystals in a conventional battery start out long, thin and highly soluble, but grow to become big, chunky and insoluble over time.

     

    Both differences between the PbC and conventional lead-acid are very important, but they're not related.
    30 Sep 2012, 10:23 AM Reply Like
  • SMaturin
    , contributor
    Comments (1986) | Send Message
     
    John,
    My reason for thinking the shape of the charge curves is related to negative plate sulfation is based on a theoretical hunch. If you examine slides 31 and 33-34 in the Axion presentation by Enders, and compare it to figure 4 in the Sandia paper, they reflect the same phenomenon.

     

    Over time, the negative plate becomes more resistant to charge acceptance because the lead sulfate crystals grow larger, having more surface area, and requiring greater input of electrochemical and thermal energy to break the crystalline bonds so that the lead ions can be reduced back to elemental lead and the sulfate ions recombined with h2o to form acid. I believe it is this reverse crystallization energy that accounts for the upward sloping curve for charging in the ultrabattery and agm battery. As the crystals become smaller, less energy is required to dissolve them, and more of the input energy goes into the reduction of lead side of the process, resulting in a steepening of the charge curve as the charge cycle progresses. That effect of crystalization energy and entropy account for the loss of charge acceptance and increasing size of lead sulfate crystals over time.

     

    The PbC has no crystallization processes occurring at the negative carbon plate, and thus does not require the increasing energy input to reverse crystallization, accounting for the CDI shape of the charge curve. The carbon plate adsorbs elections rapidly in the beginning of the charge cycle, making the curve steeper, and that adsorption slows over time as it becomes electrostatically saturated with electrons, so the charge curve flattens out in time as it approaches the end of the charge cycle.

     

    At any rate, these are my thoughts of what must be occurring on the molecular level that could explain the different charging behavior across the two chemical systems. I could be totally wrong, and would love to hear from the chemical engineers how they account for the difference.
    30 Sep 2012, 02:32 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I can't offer a detailed technical explanation, but Enders spent a good deal of time emphasizing that the concave shape of the curve on each charge cycle pulls the batteries into closer alignment while a convex curve doesn't have the same impact. I too hope that the smarter members of our "fellowship of the string" can provide more detail.
    30 Sep 2012, 02:38 PM Reply Like
  • SMaturin
    , contributor
    Comments (1986) | Send Message
     
    "Fellowship of the String" is perfect!

     

    One string to rule them all,
    One string to find them.
    One string to bring them all
    And in the darkness bind them,
    In the depths of Hybridor
    Where the greenwashers lie.
    30 Sep 2012, 02:51 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    John - Figure 11 is telling.
    30 Sep 2012, 08:49 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2586) | Send Message
     
    John - best I recall, the total voltage charging or discharging voltage is a combination of the two 1/2 cell voltages. The positive plates in the PbAcids and PbC are equal or the same basically, not? Therefore the total voltage contribution we see across the whole battery when at least with the PbC is little contribution if not negative (v/s additive), and I don't know what to say about the ultra design/operating features - i don't have a handle on limiting variables. Well that actually goes for the PbC too. I think it's time for me to stop. And all the saints said......
    30 Sep 2012, 09:03 PM Reply Like
  • Nicu Mihalache
    , contributor
    Comments (1014) | Send Message
     
    By definition, a concave function's derivative is decreasing, and a convex function has increasing derivative (a linear function which stands in between the two has constant derivative). In our case the derivative is the rate of charging (or the slope of the tangent to the graph).

     

    Concave => decreasing rate of charge => "emptier" batteries charge faster. In the convex case they really work against you in a string.

     

    I hope my "proof" is not too nerdy ;)
    1 Oct 2012, 03:39 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29176) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » It sounds reasonable to me, but I'm not nerdy enough to know for sure. That's why I love comments from scientists and mathematicians who know more than I do.
    1 Oct 2012, 04:23 AM Reply Like
  • Nicu Mihalache
    , contributor
    Comments (1014) | Send Message
     
    If I'm allowed to joke here, mathematicians are scientists too, despite the fact that there is no Nobel prize for maths. The latter has more down to earth reasons, as the bad blood between Nobel and the mathematician Mittag-Leffler, "one of the most prominent Swedish scientists at the time".
    http://bit.ly/StNp50
    1 Oct 2012, 05:03 AM Reply Like
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