A revolutionary Cheap, high energy/high cycle battery for Energy Storage

Post links to other interesting fusion or alternate energy sites here.
Post Reply
User avatar
Dennis P Brown
Posts: 2208
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 2:46 pm
Real name: Dennis P Brown
Location: Glen Arm, MD

A revolutionary Cheap, high energy/high cycle battery for Energy Storage

Post by Dennis P Brown » Tue Jul 27, 2021 11:31 pm

Looks like a battery for high energy storage with low cost materials has been developed. It is cheap (compared to lithium), uses simple safe materials (just iron and pure oxygen as primary materials), and operates with a well understood chemistry. While a Li-Ir battery has been around awhile and works extremely well (and very safely), this uses no Li or other expensive materials - apparently just those two primary ingredients (but it is a wet chemistry process so not sure what that solution is based upon.)
The cost (they claim) will be approximately $20 per kw/hour when outfitted as part of a total system. Certainly a useable energy storage cost for solar/wind if it works at that cost. The battery bank will supply energy (at its optimum load) for 100 hours w/o recharging. The chemistry is well understood and cycling of a few thousands times (80% remaining storage) is claimed in large scale testing. This is being built by "Form Energy". While I'll certainly wait and see, the basic chemistry and initial testing work appears legitimate and reviewed - of course, until they build a full sized mega-watt storage facility and run it for a year, then I'll believe the hype.

A small article in the Washington Post gives a cautious, and extremely bare bones review:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions ... -lot-hype/

I've looked up more advanced articles but they are not exactly as useful as I hoped (but the chemistry is well explained.)

In a reasonable time, we will certainly see if this is the break-through needed for short term energy storage.

User avatar
Richard Hull
Moderator
Posts: 13334
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 1:44 pm
Real name: Richard Hull

Re: A revolutionary Cheap, high energy/high cycle battery for Energy Storage

Post by Richard Hull » Wed Jul 28, 2021 3:00 am

Read the non-expert exposition and Dennis is correct. Like fusion "real soon now"...or not. One thing for sure, green energy will never be more than a earth-raping environmental disaster delusion in any form, without huge energy storage systems that will 100% percent rival current energy costs. Even then, that storage magic will not supplant all other current sources. Chemical energy storage is volumetrically inefficient across the board even at dreamland levels. Chemical systems degrade rapidly in a fixed number of recharge cycles. The needed serial/parallel banking demanded in huge systems can quickly go off line due to any one or two major cell failures among thousands of cells. This means redundant 100% switchable cells at least or an equivalent backup giant bank of equal power storage, ready to be switched into the grid.

Again, you will not get the power companies to leap on green beyond their current green image saving dribs and drabs until whatever storage comes on line will protect their reputation for constant energy on demand at a price very close to current rates. Those damned bean counters again.........

Yeah, it is a cold cruel world out there where frozen wind turbine blades freeze and lock and the attendant clouds kill solar cell power. None of us wants to pay 300% more for our power because it is green and those supplying it realize that.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

User avatar
Dennis P Brown
Posts: 2208
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 2:46 pm
Real name: Dennis P Brown
Location: Glen Arm, MD

Re: A revolutionary Cheap, high energy/high cycle battery for Energy Storage

Post by Dennis P Brown » Wed Jul 28, 2021 11:16 am

Richard clearly hits the nail on the head; as physics shows over and over, there is simply no free lunch. Energy storage can never exceed the best volumetric storage that nature in the via the hard work of plants and then through geology took millions of years to concentrate. Nor can we provide any cheaper solution when nature already did 99.99% of the work creating the energy storage material in the first place - coal, gas and uranium. Never going to happen since thermodynamics is absolute.

User avatar
Frank Sanns
Site Admin
Posts: 1829
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 6:26 pm
Real name: Frank Sanns
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA

Re: A revolutionary Cheap, high energy/high cycle battery for Energy Storage

Post by Frank Sanns » Wed Jul 28, 2021 1:17 pm

The only existing long term storage of energy seems to be hydrogen. It does not lose energy day to day like all batteries do. Electrolysis can reach 100% and even exceed it. Energy multiplication of more than 100% efficiency is a plus for the technology. 1 watt in, 1.2 watts out. Don't we wish we could do that with fusion too!

At the same time we can get rid of animal and people waste and make fuel for vehicles, heating, and electricity production.

The iron air battery is a good idea from a cost and weight stand point. Weight is a factor when putting into moving vehicles but it is not a factor for just siting on the earth out next to a solar or wind farm. Still, the problem is degradation of the battery components with each charge. Things never go back exactly to where they came from so what was a flat plate or pellet surface becomes more and more corrupted as the metals try to go back from where they came. There are strategies to lock the ions into solid substrates like glasses and ceramics but then power density suffers.

Unfortunately people like Elon Musk have sold the world on electric vehicles. These make zero sense from an ecological or economic stand point. It is a money making scheme at best and consumers are falling for it. The Green Energy politicians and advocates have not done the math to realize how existing electric vehicles are at the worst net losers and at best very slight winners. Then there is the 1% daily loss in electrical energy for each day you don't even use the vehicle. Here is a good video about it: https://youtu.be/oJL9MasBFvM

Back to the greater than 100% efficiency hydrogen generation. It sounds too good to be true to get more out than what is put but here is where it gets interesting. Back around 2002, I was involved in a technical symposium at a well known university. Various technologies were being presented and discussed. Top PhDs engineers, were working through a variety of energy production methods. When hydrogen electrolysis came up, the room was tepid at best. It is not flashy or new or anything revolutionary.

As the electrolysis presentation was continuing, I did some quick calculations in my head and the answer did not make immediate sense. The efficiencies exceeded 100%. Being one or perhaps the only chemist in the room, I saw the error. The error was not in the result but rather where the electrolysis gain was coming from. The presenter was working on waste water clean up. That was her ten year mission. Mine on the other hand was energy. Bring the two together and you have an answer that makes sense. Now for the chemistry and thermodynamics of it.

Conventionally, hydrogen can be made by electrolysis of water. The energy needed to separate hydrogen and oxygen from water is the exact same energy that you get back when you burn it or use it in any other way. Of course you can never get it all back because of thermodynamic loses. It is a net energy loser. The piece that the presenter and everybody else in the room was missing was that it was not pure water that was being electrolyzed. It was concentrated animal effluent; urine.

The answer lies in the bond energies. For water it takes 467 kJ of energy to split off a mole of hydrogen from water. Burning that will yield back 467 kJ of energy per mole. With efficiency losses, you never even get back to unity. No surprise there.

Effluent though contains materials like urea and other nitrogenous compounds. The bond energy for the nitrogen to hydrogen bond is only 391kJ of energy per mole. So it takes 391 kJ to make the hydrogen but it produces 467 kJ of hydrogen energy that is available for use. A 120% conversion gain! Figuring in loses reduces that number but starting with nearly a 20% excess energy is huge advantage.

What is happening is the sun is doing some of hydrolysis work by animals eating plants and converting over amino acids and other compounds into urea and other compounds. Combining the work of nature will no doubt be our ultimate solution. Why build batteries when you can use the energy already being converted by life on the planet to give a huge bump up on energy production and storage solutions.

User avatar
Rich Feldman
Posts: 1393
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:59 pm
Real name: Rich Feldman
Location: Santa Clara County, CA, USA

Re: A revolutionary Cheap, high energy/high cycle battery for Energy Storage

Post by Rich Feldman » Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:52 pm

Glad to see Frank's talk about chemistry and bond energies.

About hydrogen as a fuel, which can be stored with no loss but at sadly low density:
I think it will be decades before its production by electrolysis (from any feedstock) surpasses production of H2 by chemical "reforming" of natural gas.
The hydrogen at today's fuel-cell-car filling stations, and in cylinders at industrial gas stores, is a fossil fuel.
Whose CO2 footprint is emitted at the hydrogen production plant (but is smaller than that if the methane were burned in combustion engine).
https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/h ... -reforming

Has there been any recent news on the artificial photosynthesis front?
It might be as difficult to reach as nuclear fusion power.
It gets plenty of research funding, but hasn't achieved newsworthy breakthroughs.
The goal is "solar farms" that are not photovoltaic, and not heat collectors.
Where sunlight drives chemical reactions to yield a compound with higher energy than the precursor, that can be stored and used as "fuel".
Natural photosynthesis on Earth began a few billion years ago. Result: so much oxygen in the atmosphere that wildfires and humans can happen.
All models are wrong; some models are useful. -- George Box

User avatar
Dennis P Brown
Posts: 2208
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 2:46 pm
Real name: Dennis P Brown
Location: Glen Arm, MD

Re: A revolutionary Cheap, high energy/high cycle battery for Energy Storage

Post by Dennis P Brown » Thu Jul 29, 2021 10:32 am

Batteries fail with large numbers of cycling but very much so do fuel cells and they are extremely expensive to replace - this iron/oxygen battery (they really mean aqueous solution with dissolved oxygen) uses rather cheap materials that are easy to replace; a big plus compared to fuel cells and hydrogen generation systems. I'll note that non-pure water can be much harder on the electrodes used to split said water - that could seriously compromise that process. These people (trying to sell this idea to investors) say their batteries can cycle well over 2000 times (up to 10,000) before dropping below 80% cap - lab results I bet but sounds very hopeful if they can reproduce that number with real sized units cycled under real conditions (a lot of "to be done" before belief of claims.)

That said, fascinating about using water with organics - a lot like break down of coal or gas: nature did the work and we gain in energy out for energy in. Something that tar sands have issues with and oil shale does in spades … but that is another topic entirely.

Also, nice summary Rich on those approaches.

User avatar
Richard Hull
Moderator
Posts: 13334
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 1:44 pm
Real name: Richard Hull

Re: A revolutionary Cheap, high energy/high cycle battery for Energy Storage

Post by Richard Hull » Thu Jul 29, 2021 9:37 pm

Man has been a hunter gatherer for his entire existence. That will not ever change. We harvest prestored fusion energy from burning wood around campfires in caves millennia ago to fission plants burning stored fusion produced nuclear binding energy in U235. We mine, we pick it up of the ground, drop water over a cliff to turn a turbine, etc. It is all due to fusion from the stars and our sun. Both now and in the distant past, this stuff that we hunter-gather contains stored energy. Setting a match to one ton of coal to retrieve the energy is not a free energy process or an over unity process. We did not put the energy there, we hunter-gathered it along with its stored fusion energy from the age of the ferns or whatever. Not even dams are free energy. Fusion heats the water on earth, evaporates x amount and that falls on high ground and we harvest the fusion induced, gravitationally stored potential energy in flowing water, throwing it over a cliff.

In short there is no over-unity energy created by man in any of his energy endeavors. Only potential and stored energy harvesting plus net losses summed around the handling and exchanges associated with the process.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

Post Reply

Return to “Interesting Links”