Seeking Alpha

User 393748

User 393748
Send Message
View as an RSS Feed
Latest  |  Highest rated
  • Axion Power Concentrator 387: Jan. 25, 2015 [View instapost]
    -->> Edmund Metcalf

    "I have spent considerable time over the years digging through patents and would like to try and answer questions, but the questions use terms that are not well defined. Like "carbon additives". Questions AND answers that use these terms are subject to interpretation."

    This is a huge problem that companies in the BMS business have. Quite often battery makers do not want to divulge to the BMS project design and coding teams any information that they feel is confidential and/or proprietary regarding the internals of their particular battery products. This can even involve withholding needed details on matters such as grid design.

    This makes it impossible to produce a BMS that is 100% optimally designed and constructed for any particular battery product. This can even happen in an "in-house" designed and constructed BMS project. A battery maker may want certain information made available within the company only on an extremely constrained "need to know" basis. The in house BMS team in a company may be kept out of the loop on crucial details that it needs in order to make a solid, top notch BMS for their own company's battery products.

    I wonder how BySolar's BMS project with the PbC is working out? Are they getting the info that they need in order to get the best out of the PbC in a solar application?
    Jan 28, 2015. 02:55 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 387: Jan. 25, 2015 [View instapost]
    -->> iindelco

    The way that Dr. Buiel described the discharge behaviour of the UB lines up with the discharge behaviour when a carbon additive is mixed in with the lead on the negative or when it is pasted onto the negative. For convenience, here is in part what he had posted sometime ago:

    "The Ultrabattery combines lead and carbon on the negative electrode and the PbC battery only has carbon." Further on, he states "lead has a great discharge capability.... So, although you can charge the carbon, you have to pretty much discharge the lead part of the negative down to nothing in order to get the energy you put in the carbon out. Basically the carbon is dead."

    Ed Buiel's statement that the UB "combines lead and carbon on [a single] negative electrode" perplexes me on this because in Gou's dissertation, he describes its theoretical design and its physical layout as having two separate and distinct negative parts; one being a sponge lead plate and the other being a negative electrode made of carbon, usually AC. In other places elsewhere, I have read that the UB has two completely separate negative electrodes. Confusion abounds.

    I do not know for sure, and its just a guess, but might it be possible that there have been different physical renditions of the UB? In the various pieces of literature that do exist on it, there do seem to be varying descriptions of its theoretical layout. Is it possible that CSIRO or Furukawa have ever made a standard style two electrode rendition of the UB, with the negative having a carbon additive mixed in with the lead or a carbon additive pasted over the lead? If the answer to this question is yes, then Ed Buiel's comments can be correspondingly reconciled. If the answer to this question is no, then it presents a challenge in reconciling Ed Buiel's comments.

    Perhaps Edmund Metcalf may have some thoughts on this possibility. From what I understand, he has read alot of the patent material on the UB. I did read EM's earlier post of today in which a UB patent doc reads as it having a sandwich type structure for the negative side, IIRC.

    At any rate, back to the charge and discharge behaviour of a mixed or pasted carbon negative situation, Dr. Ed Buiel's description exactly matches with the behaviour of a negative with mixed in or pasted carbon material. The lead will take up all of the incoming charge first, and the once the lead is totally charged, only then will the carbon be able to be charged up. On discharge, the same process takes place, with the lead exhausting itself of all of its charge energy and at that point only will the carbon get the chance to exhaust itself of any of its charge energy.

    Here is what I had posted sometime ago regarding the Gou findings:

    "Adding some more info from the Gou material, he states that with the design ratio [lead to carbon ratio] that his model used, the capacitor cell [meaning the carbon negative] provided about one third of the UB's capacity, with the remaining two thirds coming from the battery cell [meaning the sponge lead negative]. So, with that in mind, the battery cell will determine the overall performance of the UB.

    On page 68 of Gou's dissertation, he says that the capacitor cell provides most or all or the current at the beginning of the discharge cycle and at the end of the discharge cycle. During the mid section, as it were, of the discharge cycle, the battery cell will take over and provide all of the current, and that during that phase it is exactly the same as discharging a lead acid battery."

    One can see that there is a significant difference in the way that Ed Buiel describes the discharge behaviour of the UB and the way that Gou describes the discharge behaviour of the UB.

    Allow me to add this portion of a post that I had made sometime ago as well:

    "[Gou's] dissertation points out issues that exist with the UltraBattery, as well. One issue that his computer model found was a problem with overpotential within the UB. Such overpotential will result in the UB generating heat. A second issue is with the discharge profile: under a constant discharge draw, his model indicates that the UB will discharge in the same manner as any other battery using a carbonaceous additive or paste, that is to say, the lead portion will charge and discharge first, and only then will the additive or paste come into play. So, assuming that to be the case, for optimal performance, the UB requires a BMS that discharges the UB with a non-constant draw. Under a constant discharge profile, the additive or paste, as the case may be, is left with very little to do. Anyone that has a vehicle with AGM stop/start with a carbon additive or paste (BMW, Ford C-Max, etc.) can use this info to understand why their car's stop/start capabilities deteriorate after a short while."

    The Mg link that you had provided is quite interesting. There is nothing more powerful than an idea who's time has come.
    Jan 28, 2015. 02:28 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 387: Jan. 25, 2015 [View instapost]
    -->> RA. I have not read the IP docs on the UB and the PbC in quite awhile, but one thought that comes to mind is that the UB having two negatives may play some part in IP diffs. I don't know much about IP stuff, either.

    If the UB has the same amount of carbon in it as the PbC, and the positive is of the same PAM surface area as the PbC, then its performance should be about the same as the PbC. If, however, it has less carbon in it than the PbC, then it could be expected that the UB will perform at a correspondingly lesser rate, considering the carbon aspect in isolation.

    Both of the negatives in the UB are connected in parallel. So, once the lead negative has reached its sulfation max, then there is still the long lasting carbon negative to carry the load, as it were. Again, much of the overall performance of the UB will depend on how much carbon surface area it has in the carbon negative as compared with how much surface area is in the carbon negative in the PbC. Again, there will be other variables to consider in this comparison, but ceteras peribus, any difference in carbon surface area in the carbon negatives of both the UB and the PbC will be an important consideration in trying to assess the overall performance differences between the UB and the PbC.
    Jan 27, 2015. 12:36 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 387: Jan. 25, 2015 [View instapost]
    -->> RA
    Ed Buiel was correct on what he said about carbonaceous additives, it's just that, as far as I can tell, the UB does not use carbon additives. It has two negative electrodes inside of the battery. One is lead with no additives and the other is straight carbon like the PbC. Two negatives and one positive is what it has.
    Jan 27, 2015. 11:24 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    -->> KillaCycle

    First, I finally found the GM file and it was my own typo. It was for 20 gallons of gas at 120 pounds.

    I understand what you are driving at with UN3091 and "UN3091 = "Lithium _Metal_ Batteries Packed with Equipment"

    However, that is not what the FAA cited MIT for; MIT was cited for not having "Lithium batteries, contained in equipment." The citation does not mention anything about lithium metal. This is a distinction that cannot be ignored and glossed over. There has to be a statutory reason for this difference in terms of citation with a resulting difference in legal consequences.

    / start quote
    "10. The proper shipping name for the lithium batteries are "Lithium batteries, contained in equipment." They are in hazard class 9, packing group II, and have an assigned identification number of UN3091 when offered for transportation in air commerce." / end quote

    So, there is an apparent misalignment between section 10 of the violation notice and the details on the classification or designation of UN3091.

    In about 2005, the international aviation and maritime organizations made a distinction between lithium ion cells or batteries and lithium metal cells or batteries. At the time, the US Government chose to not adopt that distinction in US domestic law.

    Only recently did the US Government decide to "permit" shippers to use the international distinctions or the US Government domestic definition for shipping purposes.

    So, what is now required is to search out the cause for the definitional differences between the two definitions of UN3091, that apparently being as defined internationally and defined domestically. These may be different.

    I have to do some more legal research on this in order to "disambiguate" and resolve this apparent misalignment.

    Aslo, paragraph 1 of the Notice states:
    "1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”) offered a shipment of hazardous materials for transportation by air, as set forth below, without complying with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (“HMR”) (Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations)."

    So, MIT was cited for violating US domestic law, that being the Hazardous Materials Regulations (“HMR”), not for violating the rules of an international aviation or maritime organization.

    Also, again, CFR 173.185 had been amended to read that lithium cell(s) and lithium batter(ies) includes both lithium metal and lithium ion chemistries. (Ref = CFR §173.185 - Lithium cells and batteries.)
    Jan 26, 2015. 03:31 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    -->> KillaCycle

    "120 pounds of gasoline = 20 gallons. _Not_ 30 gallons as you stated earlier. (Gasoline weighs about 6 lbs per gallon, not 4 lbs per gallon.)"

    A figure of 20 gallons works for me. Those figures are from GM's sworn testimony before a Congressional Sub-Comittee in 1975. They can change it themselves, if they want to. It is probably a typo on someone's part. The extra 10 gallons would not invalidate their basic point in that comment.

    -->> Petersen wrote this article "Another Li-Ion Battery Nightmare"

    That's an interesting point. I read JP's article and the AVWeb article and tried finding a reference to the batteries being Lithium metal, but I couldn't find any reference anywhere. Did I miss something? Did you find any reference to it?

    MIT was cited for acting at variance with CFR §172.102, Special Provision 188. That Special Provision may no longer be in effect at present, but a plain reading of SP 188 places lithium metal, lithium alloy, and lithium ion cells and batteries under the classification of a "lithium cell or battery."

    In the alternative, if SP 188 has been repealed, then the applicable law today would appear to be that pursuant to the CFR §172.102, Special Provision 88, CFR 173.101 and CFR 173.185 and related international regulations that for regulatory packaging and shipping purposes, lithium cell(s) and lithium batter(ies) includes both lithium metal and lithium ion chemistries. (Ref = CFR §173.185 - Lithium cells and batteries.)

    It would then appear that the 33 batteries described in both JP's article and the AVWeb article could have been lithium metal or lithium ion batteries.

    This is very detailed stuff to have to dig up, so I would not fault anyone for not having the exact details as to the battery type involved. One would have to talk to someone at the USDOT FAA, New England Region to get more on the story.
    Jan 25, 2015. 11:29 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    An edit to my own post of 25 Jan, 05:33 PM:

    I wrote: "As I am sure that you are aware, Peukert's Law only provides an estimate of a battery's runtime. It does affect or determine a battery's performance."

    It should say: " As I am sure that you are aware, Peukert's Law only provides an estimate of a battery's runtime. It does not affect or determine a battery's performance."

    Once again, my prescription bi-focal polarised night vision coating contact monocle has failed me.
    Jan 25, 2015. 06:38 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    -->> KillaCycle

    "First off, there are no Lithium Metal batteries in cars and there will never be any nor has there ever been." That was poor editing and sentence structure on my part.

    How is this: For Lithium metal, which as we all know is not currently used in EVs or hybrid vehicles, and Li-ion batteries, which as we all know, are currently used in EVs and Hybrid applications, the research into the much needed improvements in cold and hot temperature performance and power density continue to be elusive.

    I have not read all of JP's writings on Li based batteries, but I do know that what I have read of his did not give me the impression that his writings were confusing Li metal and Li-Ion tech. Nor did it cause me to be confused on that issue

    At this point, the general consumer is not even aware that there is any difference between Li metal batteries, also known as solid state batteries, and Li-Ion batteries. Almost all of the readers of any articles on Li based battery tech are at almost zero risk of being confused, because, in all likelyhood, they do not even know that there is any difference between the two. At present, this is really a technical point that only a small number of serious battery tech followers know exists.

    At any rate, visit the web site for a company called Sakti3. They are working on Li metal (solid state) batteries for EV and hybrid vehicle applications. So, it is too soon to say that there will "never" be a Li metal battery for vehicular use.

    -->> "These days, there are multiple effective technologies for predicting and preventing a thermal runaway in Li-Ion-metal-oxide batteries."

    This all depends on how one defines "effective" as used in this context. Where any of these "effective" technologies are unable to make measurements as to voltage or current, they will necessarily be based on models and will have built in pre-set parameter floors and ceilings, minimum and maximum values. This is far from a satisfactory means of handling TR in a mass market vehicle, whether it is from an unhandled impact or shock or control electronics failure or from an inexplicable field failure. By definition, a field failure is a failure for which the answer will most probably never be known. Destructive forensic examinations are usually unable to discover the cause of a field failure, and that is because most or all of the battery will have been destroyed in the failure event, leaving little or nothing to forensically examine.

    The researchers on this issue realize that what is needed for TR detection is real-time monitoring and detection and they are working towards that extremely problematic goal. There are many roadblocks to developing such a real time system. Some of these roadblocks involve significant extra cost and weight, and at present, are complete deal breakers to developing a market-suitable real-time TR detection and prevention system.

    -->> "If you choose LiFePO4, it does not thermally run away, ever."

    I know that this is a popular ill-informed expression of faith on the bike forums, but the experts that actually do this kind of work and do the required testing and analysis have published results that show that a LiFePO4 (a member of the LiMPO4 genre) chemistry can go into TR at as low as 190 degrees celsius. However, it will release only half the energy that will be released by a LiCo2 battery in TR. The maximum temperature that a LiFePO4 battery will reach once ignited will be generally be around 275 degrees celsius. Again, roughly half the maximum temperature of a LiCo2 battery in TR. But, that all important separator will have been demolished once the battery's temperature has reached 130 degrees celsius. The LiFePO4 chemistry does contain oxygen atoms. So, in a TR situation, a situation of increasing heat buildup would be the triggering event for exothermic onset and the oxygen atoms would allow the continuation of the exothermic reaction.

    A 10 degree celsius increase in heat per minute is considered to result in an exothermic reaction. Even a lead acid battery can go into thermal runaway.

    The figures of 11,000 pounds of FLA batteries to 120 pounds of gasoline are not my figures, they are from General Motors' engineers. When those figures were quoted in 1975, GM had already spent upwards of $500,000,000 (500 million USD) in research into alternative fuel research. Remember the Corvair Electrovair? It didn't work very well.

    As to what the bike forums say regarding Peukert's law, it is not the case that it does not apply to Li-Ion batteries, but rather that it does apply to Li-Ion batteries, but in very much more limited situations and can produce a Peurket K result of 0.98 to 1.30. These results will also depend on the particular Li-Ion chemistry that is under consideration. For more meaningful Peurket type runtime results for some Li-Ion chemistries, one would use a modified Peukert plot, which would be similar to a Ragone plot.

    Research has established that Peurket's Law is even very limited in its application to FLA batteries. It works best when the FLA battery is at room temperature and is being discharged at a low current level. When the test or real world conditions are outside of these parameters, then Peurket's Law breaks down. As the document that you had reference stated, Peurket's law is even less applicable to AGM batteries.

    Peurkert's law results also depend on how much acid reserve is in the battery at the time of testing. So, it can be taken that Peukert's law will generally not be valid when applied to a VRLA battery.

    As I am sure that you are aware, Peukert's Law only provides an estimate of a battery's runtime. It does affect or determine a battery's performance.
    Jan 25, 2015. 05:33 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    -->> iindelco

    I could see Mg being more expensive and attractive to auto than Al, as it is about 30% lighter than Al.

    The reactivity of Mg was the first thing that I thought of, as well, when talk of using Mg in auto gained traction. Firefighters know very well the hazards involved in a Mg fire.

    Apparently, the auto companies have already identified areas in vehicles in which they could use Mg and achieve a weight savings of 300 pounds per vehicle globally. They are ready, willing, and able to go ahead with this switch, but there is not enough Mg supply to do so on a global scale.

    For Mg based batteries in auto, I can well imagine how raw materials are not the only consideration in designing and producing and selling an end user product or an OEM part or assembly.

    My thinking on this involves the lower material cost, plus the control electronics and concommitant connectors and wiring that could affect the price in a Mg battery. Since the currently established findings are saying that Mg does not experience dendritic growth, that would be one set of control electronics and related parts and software that could be dispensed with for a cost savings.

    However, it may turn out that those savings may be may offset or even obliterated by any particular means that is invented for dealing with the many other current
    challenges in getting a Mg based battery chemistry to actually perform under the hood (or floorpan) to the satisfaction of the consumer in the marketplace.

    Plus there are the developmental costs that must be recovered on all these envisioned battery and supercap ideas.

    But, again, it is still rather early in the "product cycle" on any alternative to Lithium based chemistries.
    Jan 25, 2015. 05:20 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    I got those numbers from a transcript of GM's testimony to congress in around 1975.

    The point that I find interesting is that EV tech was supposed to save energy for us all. It turns out that people are more interested in driving their EV from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. That is a waste of energy. But, that's life....

    Also, EVs end up being "over juiced", as well, because there are expected to be able to perform as well as a gas or diesel powered engine. Gotta have "street cred", you know.
    Jan 24, 2015. 10:19 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    Thanks, HTL. I am all for "cheap wheels."
    Jan 24, 2015. 10:14 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    -->> KillaCycle

    "In the last 5 years, there has been an enormous amount of development in Li-Ion."

    There has been much research devoted to Li-Ion over the last five years, but with very limited success. The really significant advances in Li-Ion tech since 1990 have been limited to improvements in energy density. This has turned out to have worked quite well for the small scale applications, such as cell phones, laptop computers, tablets, inter alia on that scale, but such improvements still present the same historical, intractable problems when applied to larger scale applications such as grid storage and EVs and hybrid vehicles.

    For Lithium metal and Li-ion in EVs and Hybrid applications, the research into the much needed improvements in cold and hot temperature performance and power density continue to be elusive. Additionaly, the jury is still very much out on the question of there being enough Li supply for a meaningful global fleet of EVs or Hybrids using Li.

    BTW, there is still no technology available for a warning light or warning chime or buzzer alert telling the vehicle driver that a thermal runaway event is imminent or due to begin at any particular point in time in the future, thereby providing the vehicle occupants or garage owner with a reasonable opportunity to seek safety.

    It is well known that Li-Ion chemistries are prone to TR when being charged or discharged at temperatures near or below freezing. One possible means of mitigating damage to the battery pack in such colder temperatures would be to have the BMS reduce the current being applied while charging and reducing the load on the battery while discharging in near freezing or actual freezing conditions. Such could easily be
    programmed to operate invisibly or covertly, as it were, and the driver would never even know.

    The damage suffered by the battery in such colder temperature conditions would be li metal plating and dendritic formations. A dendritic formation, once initiated, will continue to increase in length, thereby unaviodably adding to the risk of a TR event. As of yet, no-one has invented a reliable method for detecting thermal runaway in a Li-Ion battery.

    Just as lead - acid batteries in EV and hybrid applications (believe it or not, FLA batteries were being used for EV applications and proposals in the 1970s) gave way to nickel-cadmium, and NiCad then gave way to NiMHydride, which gave way to Li-Ion intercalation technology, Li-Ion is currently being readied to having to give way to magnesium ion or magnesium metal batteries.

    Mg is divalent (-2e), 24 times less expensive than Lithium, is non-toxic and environmentally friendly, and is not prone to plating and dendritic formations, and is far more available as a resource than is Lithium.

    Mg battery tech still has many challenges, such as SEI type passivation layer formations, limited choices in cathode materials, Mg ionic trapping in the electrolyte (subject to the research by Aurbach et al), but, at present, the research interest is gravitating towards Mg as a replacement for Li.

    Conceptually, the move away from Li is known as going "beyond lithium." The phrase "beyond lithium" can be viewed as a "title" for the misgivings that many battery researchers have regarding Li as a viable, long term provider for future energy and power requirements.

    If a Tesla Model S uses 50 pounds of raw Li, then that would price out at $1,740 per battery, whereas maybe 35 pounds of Mg for a Tesla Model S would cost $47.25 per battery. That would amount to a cost savings of $17,025,500 for every 10,000 Model S vehicles sold.

    Currently, the consumers' demands for more power and more energy from all battery enabled technology are outpacing the energy and power that Li-Ion will ever be able to provide. Even using Li metal or solid state batteries for EVs and Hybrids will allow for only perhaps 30% more practical energy than will be practically available from current state of the art Li-Ion intercalation technology. Regarding current state of the art Li-Ion battery tech, for relative and comparative, but not complete, safety in a Li-Ion battery, LiFePO4 would be a reasonable choice, or even Lithium-Titanate. For high power, but notably more risk in terms of safety, LiCoO2 would be the best selection. For a compromise between power and safety, LiNiCoAlO2, (as used in Tesla Model S vehicles) would be the chemistry to choose.

    Solid state Li batteries are, in theory, much safer than Li-Ion tech, but since they use Li metal, which is highly reactive, they are, in fact, inherently more dangerous than a Li-Ion chemistry.

    An interesting piece of trivia: it takes 11,000 pounds of lead-acid batteries to do the same amount of work at a vehicle's wheels that 120 pounds (30 gallons) of gasoline will do.
    Jan 24, 2015. 03:08 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 356 August 7 '14: Changed Loan, IP-Secured MDA; David DiGiacinto Appointed Chairman And CEO; Share Reverse Split And Authorized Share Reduction Approved [View instapost]
    -->> topcat1906,

    I agree, that is the one that counts, right now.
    Aug 10, 2014. 08:34 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 356 August 7 '14: Changed Loan, IP-Secured MDA; David DiGiacinto Appointed Chairman And CEO; Share Reverse Split And Authorized Share Reduction Approved [View instapost]
    -->> topcat1906,

    There could be a hundred ways that a phone call could go. It is not so much that Bob Averill might say yes or no when it is the opposite that is in fact true, it could be that he might not want to get into any kind of conversation over a internet blog with anyone, especially if he were to want to avoid unintentionally saying something Axion related that is not for public consumption. If that were to be the case, the only result would be a very awkward, indeterminate and basically non-responsive answer. That result gets no-one anywhere and would not be worth involving those that really may not be involved, at all.
    Aug 10, 2014. 06:53 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 356 August 7 '14: Changed Loan, IP-Secured MDA; David DiGiacinto Appointed Chairman And CEO; Share Reverse Split And Authorized Share Reduction Approved [View instapost]
    -->> iindelco, I am with you completely on the historical posting issue. I, myself, did some of that earlier today. The tone of many of the posts does present some opportunity for questions, however.

    And, yes, a well timed and well placed "phoney" phone call from the real _______ (fill in the blank) would serve to set everyone's mind at rest.

    My first guess is that it is an older person, that is to say, someone not born into the "Internet Age", but born well before this iAge or iEra (protection by copyright and protection by trademark to be immediately filed as soon as I finish this post), perhaps in the 1970s or before. The phrase "I am in the phone book" would not likely be used by someone that was born in the 1980s or later, but it would not be surprising for that phrase to be used by someone born in the 1970s or earlier.

    Generally, we tend to not easily let go of our own formative and early post-formative cultural mouldings or matrices, and we do not easily adopt those to which we were not open.
    Aug 10, 2014. 06:30 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment