The Dernogalizer

May 19, 2009

Electric Car Breakthrough

Filed under: energy — Matt Dernoga @ 5:19 pm
Tags: ,

Occasionally it’s nice to see a new invention or breakthrough that brings a clean energy future absent of fossil fuels a little closer.  One of the main obstacles facing electric and plug-in cars today is how much energy a battery can store when it can only be so large to fit in the car.  We’ve been getting better with our battery technology and storage, which I why we should be seeing plug-in hybrids on the market in 1-2 years, and electric cars not too far off.  The breakthrough is an air-fueled battery that can last up to 10 times at long as the conventional batteries we use right now.  This doesn’t only apply to electric cars, but all sorts of electronic devices such as laptops and cell phones.  Right now the development of this technology is only halfway through its 4 year program, but hopefully it will find its way to the market within the next decade.  Excerpts below.

“The new design has the potential to improve the performance of portable electronic products and give a major boost to the renewable energy industry. The batteries will enable a constant electrical output from sources such as wind or solar, which stop generating when the weather changes or night falls.”

“The STAIR (St Andrews Air) cell should be cheaper than today’s rechargeables, too. The new component is made of porous carbon, which is far less expensive than the lithium cobalt oxide it replaces.”

“The oxygen, which will be drawn in through a surface of the battery exposed to air, reacts within the pores of the carbon to discharge the battery. “Not only is this part of the process free, the carbon component is much cheaper than current technology,” says Bruce. He estimates that it will be at least five years before the STAIR cell is commercially available.”

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2 Comments »

  1. The only question with these innovations in the battery of the electric car is whether the technology to mass produce them would be cheap.

    Comment by autostry — May 20, 2009 @ 11:04 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for the comment. I agree, and usually with new breakthrough technologies, the technology to mass produce them cheaply isn’t there at first. However, over time as we gain economies of scale and economies of efficiency, the price inevitably comes down. That is the tough things about breakthroughs though, is that it takes awhile for them to permeate the market even when they are mass produced at a reasonable price. Take hybrid cars right now for example, which have been out for over a decade yet still only make up small(although growing) portion of the car market. I’m hopeful the greater R&D investment we’re getting on these technologies under the new administration will speed things up some.

      Comment by Matt Dernoga — May 20, 2009 @ 11:10 pm | Reply


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