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Power Week-in-Review: Self-Healing Battery, Personal Hydroelectric Generator & Li-ion Forecast
11/27/2013

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Cracks formed in a self-healing silicon electrode due to swelling during charging (top) begin to seal back up within hours (bottom). (Source: C. Wang et al, Nature Chemistry)
Cracks formed in a self-healing silicon electrode due to swelling during charging (top) begin to seal back up within hours (bottom).
(Source: C. Wang et al, Nature Chemistry)

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junko.yoshida
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self-healing?
junko.yoshida   11/28/2013 12:56:18 AM
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You wrote:

Scientists at Stanford University and the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have created a self-healing battery electrode, which could help pave the way toward more robust high-capacity batteries for electric vehicles and portable electronics.

So, what's the catch? What is standing in the way of getting this technology out of the labs?

AZskibum
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Re: self-healing?
AZskibum   11/30/2013 8:58:15 AM
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One "catch" with silicon anodes has been the limited number of charging cycles. The fact that these researchers were able to get 100 charging cycles out of this battery is a huge improvement. Considering the higher capacity compared to carbon anode lithium ion batteries, 100 cycles should last the average user a couple years, which I think should be enough to make these batteries acceptable in the marketplace.

rich.pell
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Re: self-healing?
rich.pell   12/2/2013 2:32:35 PM
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"The fact that these researchers were able to get 100 charging cycles out of this battery is a huge improvement."

The SLAC article mentions that the ultimate charge/discharge cycle goals are about 500 cycles for cell phones and 3,000 cycles for EVs, so there's still plenty of ground to be made up.



Robotics Developer
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Re: self-healing?
Robotics Developer   12/2/2013 8:50:29 AM
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Junko, my guess is both the cost to manufacture this new cell and while 100 charge cycles is a great improvement it is not enough given the cost of the battery.  It does look like this could be a promising avenue to pursue for further battery improvements!  It would be great to have this capacity in a battery both for portable use (electric cars as well) and backup storage (think off peak power storage / solar energy storage).

prabhakar_deosthali
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Re:
prabhakar_deosthali   11/28/2013 6:27:22 AM
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My vote goes to the "Personal Hydroelectric generator". It will be great help for those campers and trekers  exploring wildlife, those surfers and water rafters. They can keep their mobiles charged while away in the wilderness.

Sanjib.A
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Re:
Sanjib.A   11/28/2013 12:05:27 PM
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I too like the concept of the personal hydro power turbine. How much flow of water is needed for the turbine to function properly? Does it work with rain or does it need smooth flow of water?

prabhakar_deosthali
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Re:
prabhakar_deosthali   11/29/2013 1:27:47 AM
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@Sanjib

I guess this hydropower generator will require a flowing stream for mechanical rotation .

May be the rain water will not be able to create that much rotating torque.

rich.pell
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Re:
rich.pell   12/2/2013 2:44:08 PM
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"How much flow of water is needed for the turbine to function properly?"

According to the Hydrobee site, "Flow of only one gallon per minute will charge the battery. Water flowing at a fast walking speed (about 4 mph) has enough energy to charge the 6 AA batteries in the Hydrobee can in about 2 hours."

Sanjib.A
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Re:
Sanjib.A   11/28/2013 12:05:28 PM
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I too like the concept of the personal hydro power turbine. How much flow of water is needed for the turbine to function properly? Does it work with rain or does it need smooth flow of water?

AZskibum
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Re:
AZskibum   11/30/2013 8:52:37 AM
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prabhakar, my vote also goes to the water-charging battery. Cell phone battery life is a real concern for backpackers on overnight or multi-day trips. Solar chargers help, but how much cooler would it be to charge your phone from a nearby stream?!

Robotics Developer
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Re:
Robotics Developer   12/2/2013 8:58:07 AM
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AZskibum, while I like the idea of being able to recharge my cell phone or other batteries while on a hike I am not sure that it is practical.  Given the nature of much of the terrain here in the North East, there is not a lot of water available for this type of charger and the time needed to charge is too long - consider standing around for 2 hours waiting; can't leave the phone and charger. Tthe location may be a nice one but only if you are camping out (say for the night) would this make sense.  The additional weight is also a concern, traveling lighter is always better.  If I had a vote I would be looking for either a flexible solar blanket that can charge as I go or a hand cranked generator to provide recharge power.  The other option would be to take advantage of the nature of hiking: using the energy that walking generates to trickle charge your devices.

rich.pell
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Re:
rich.pell   12/2/2013 2:38:43 PM
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"The other option would be to take advantage of the nature of hiking: using the energy that walking generates to trickle charge your devices."

Yes, and there are devices being developed for that purpose.  For example, like the recently funded Kickstarter project SolePower: Power by Walking.



MeasurementBlues
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Re:
MeasurementBlues   12/2/2013 4:17:55 PM
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Georgia Tech has a research project on the subject.

Search for "Nanoscale Triboelectric-Effect-
Enabled Energy Conversion for Sustainably Powering Portable Electronics" and you'll find plenty of links to this paper.

MeasurementBlues
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Re:
MeasurementBlues   12/2/2013 4:21:02 PM
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@Robotics Developer, maybe you need a small wheel connected to a generator that you can place in a running stream. The electricity from the motion could charge your phone.

Scott.Willis
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Faucet attachment seems wasteful
Scott.Willis   11/30/2013 1:09:57 AM
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Charging from a stream seems great, if one's available.  If you have a stream of rainwater coming off a roof, it looks like it could work OK as long as the rain lasted.

I'm not happy with the idea of attaching it to a faucet.  They say "only one gallon per minute" but a 2..3 hour charging time seems like it would often mean running 120..180 gallons of clean drinking water down the drain.  Power generation runs a pump, which pushes water through a network of pipes, which turns the HydroBee generator, which charges some batteries.  Then there's whatever energy is spent on water treatment and running the local sewage plant.  The faucet attachment seems like a really low efficency approach to charging batteries.

prabhakar_deosthali
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Re: Faucet attachment seems wasteful
prabhakar_deosthali   11/30/2013 4:13:06 AM
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The Faucet attachment also can work without wasting water, if the faucet water is routed through this generator and at the outlet also a faucet is attached.

So whenever the faucet is used the generator will run on the flowing water and can generate electricity. Off course the time taken for a such a charging process will depend upon the the usage of the faucet.

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