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Old 06-06-2014, 07:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Phinergy Claims massive battery range with new air/water/aluminium battery technology

I came across this today on an EV site
Electric car with massive range in demo by Phinergy, Alcoa - Technology & Science - CBC News
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Funny they make such a point of how it is "recharged" by smelting. Ie it's a huge disposable battery that has to be recycled to be reused.

And why would you keep a 220lb battery in your car all the time when you only need it for road trips? When you have to keep topping it up with water? Why not just install it then.
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think it's an interesting take on the "range anxiety" problem. 220 pounds is certainly less weight and complexity than installing an entire ICE drive train like the Chevy Volt. Imagine a car with a 100 mile range on its rechargeable pack and an additional 1000 mile range on its "disposable" battery. It does solve a lot of problems.

I guess the real question become how much money it costs to replace the disposable battery when you take that road trip.
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Old 06-07-2014, 11:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It is actually a good idea to charge those batteries at a smelter. In future it might be possible to use concentrated sunlight to melt the aluminum without the conversion to electricity. Also there are no storage losses and the battery can be kept for a indefinite amount of time. The batteries can be charged when there is excess electrical power.
The battery also only need to be on board on longer trips. But then many people carry so many things in a car that those 220 pounds would matter a lot.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Interesting, but I don't see it taking off due to infrastructure requirements. You can't just recharge it, you have to exchange it because of the chemical reactions that eat away the material.


I chalk it up to hubris.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Beer/soda cans

Washing and flaking or compressing aluminum beverage cans to be used in these batteries should be simple enough and energy efficient. No need to smelt.

Aluminum oxide that forms in air is tenacious and non reactive stuff. It takes something like nasty strong alkaline or fluoride salt solutions to break through/down this aluminum oxide film. Containing these electrolyte solutions and devising durable battery electrodes looks doable at a pretty low technological level. The sludge that forms can be recycled.

How many beer cans per mile?
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Old 06-07-2014, 01:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedJellyBean View Post
Interesting, but I don't see it taking off due to infrastructure requirements. You can't just recharge it, you have to exchange it because of the chemical reactions that eat away the material.


I chalk it up to hubris.
It might not take off but I can certainly picture it.

Imagine that your dealer has a stock of these things sitting on a shelf and can remove and replace it in 30 minutes using a hoist and a few bolts in the trunk. Infrastructure requirements? Every few months they load the used batteries on a truck and send them back to Canada for new ones.

Most of the time you are driving around town like any normal electric car and the aluminum battery isn't doing anything. But, if you decide to take a long trip you can use your "range extender" battery. Or, if you run out of juice 20 miles from home you kick in the "range extender". Every year or so when your aluminum battery is getting low you take the car back to the dealer for battery replacement; hopefully for a reasonable cost. If the battery took you an additional 1000 miles then it gave you the equivalent miles of about $130 worth of gas in something like the Chevy Volt, but saved you having to buy a second car (or a car with two different drivetrains).
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Aluminum metal is a costly fuel

Keep in mind that the battery requires a case, electrolyte, pump(s) and controls which will add weight in addition to the weight of the aluminum. Also, the battery will gain weight from the oxidation of the aluminum. As presently configured it is probably over four feet long for 50 x 1.2 volts.

Using the Phinergy figures of 1000 miles/200# of Al (5 miles/pound) and an average weight of 12oz capacity soda/beer cans of about 30 per pound, you would use about 6 cans (0.2#) weight of aluminum per mile.
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