Lori Zimmer

Inexpensive, Lighter Jelly Batteries Could Power Laptops and Electric Vehicles

by , 09/12/11

green design, eco design, sustainable design, jelly battery, University of Leeds, Electric vehicles, lithium battery

British scientists have created a lithium jelly that could be used to make safer, cheaper and less toxic batteries. The new gel would replace the liquid electrolytes in common lithium batteries, which are hazardous and toxic. This could also mean lighter, more powerful batteries for our laptop computers and electric vehicles.

green design, eco design, sustainable design, jelly battery, University of Leeds, Electric vehicles, lithium battery

One of the biggest assets behind the jelly batteries technology is that it less likely to overheat. Batteries can heat up to hundreds of degrees into a state called thermal runaway, which can wreak havoc on a device, or even catch fire. Overheating is also a common issue in electric vehicles, which use liquid lithium batteries as well. The jelly batteries operate at a much cooler temperature, and they would also be significantly lighter than low-performance electrode batteries, a common industry solution to liquid electrolyte batteries.

The jelly batteries replace liquid electrolytes with a gooey gel that stays put between the battery electrodes. It functions like a solid, but has all the conductive properties of a liquid electrolyte. The result is a more controllable electrolytic substance.

According to the scientists, the jelly batteries would be 10-20% the price of liquid electrolyte batteries. Both the laptop industry and the electric car industry could benefit from the jelly batteries, which would make overall prices lower, while providing a battery that does not over heat.

Via BBC

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5 Comments

  1. lazyreader September 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    You could say unless I see one of those jelly batteries soon, your toast……………….

  2. lazyreader September 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Arthur C. Clarke also said “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. We awe at the wonder of some new device until a cheaper competitor comes along, All that money we put into a the first generation of nearly anything. We all remember Fleischmann and Pons’ cold fusion claims. Until scientists tried to replicate the experiment and found nothing. Hopes fell with the big number of negative replications. Not to mention all those junk e-mails you get today claiming commercialization of a Zero-point energy or “Free Energy” device or that special interest groups are suppressing free energy devices.

    Even now, global battery production capacity far exceeds demand for them, present and projected, with the biggest excesses forecast for Japan and the United States. With economists fearing a battery “Bubble” within the next 5 years. When it does, factory workers in Michigan will be back out on the street unless companies successfully lobby for another federal bailout. When a consulting firm interviewed industry experts and 2,000 potential buyers, it found that from now until 2020, only “young, very high income individuals”; those from households making more than $200,000 a year, would even be interested in plug-in hybrids or all-electric cars. This “small number” of people will provide “nowhere near the volume needed for mass adoption.” They will be concentrated in Southern California, where weather, state regulations, and infrastructure are all favorable to electric vehicles and took a lot of regulation and federal and state start up money. Of course the adoption is already being popularized by high-profile celebrities. Annual sales will hit no more than 465,000 by 2020 according to experts, a drop in the bucket of the 250 million nationwide automotive fleet.

    Several studies have found, however, that introduction of plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles will probably not reduce overall U.S. fuel consumption in the short run, and may even increase it slightly given the energy it takes to procure materials and manufacture batteries and dispose of them safely. It takes much more energy to make a classical letter battery than the power it stores, but we make the battery anyway because without it we’d have no Nintendo DS, no flashlights, portable radios, iPods, Diabetes testers, or smoke alarms. A report by Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs found that “strong income tax credits for the purchase of new diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles are essentially ineffective at reducing CO2 emissions from transportation.

  3. sammael September 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    @lazyreader because when second generation cars come out they will be announcing new batteries that charge in half the time, and weight even less, so you will wait for that. Then when those come out they will be announcing new ones that for same mass have three times the energy density.
    Tehnology goes foward at stunning rate. If you always wait for new and better (which takes years) you never actually get anything.
    Trick is to buy when things are good enough for your needs, and when better comes along, get it then.
    If you always want and wait for the better… my advice is to read story “Superiority” by arthur c clarke.
    here is a complementary link:
    http://www.mayofamily.com/RLM/txt_Clarke_Superiority.html

  4. caeman September 13, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I am all for the less-toxic improvements. Too much of this green movement to electric cars seems to be ignoring the incredible hazard that Li-Ion and Lead-Acid batteries are. These same folks condemn coal plants. It makes no sense.

  5. lazyreader September 13, 2011 at 8:18 am

    If that is the case why but current generation electric cars now. Especially if these next generation batteries promise better performance, reliability or range. Who here has bought a smartphone or laptop only to have battery troubles in as little as a year or so.

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