It is not often on SLB that I use the phrase "game-changer." Most things progress, if they progress at all, in small increments. This time, though, is one of those that deserves the phrase game-changer. (confirmed 4/8/2016, "game-changer" appears here for the first time on SLB)
The innovation is the low-cost, light-weight but powerful battery developed by Nobel prize-winner Alan Heeger, PhD of the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). The company is Biosolar . see link to www.biosolar.com
|Wind Turbines - source: NREL|
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2000: Conductive Polymers (see link) is lengthy but has this to say about the discovery:
" In 1977, however, Shirakawa, MacDiarmid and Heeger discovered that oxidation with chlorine, bromine or iodine vapour made polyacetylene films 10^9 times more conductive than they were originally. Treatment with halogen was called “doping” by analogy with the doping of semiconductors. The “doped” form of polyacetylene had a conductivity of 10^5 Siemens per meter, which was higher than that of any previously known polymer. As a comparison, teflon has a conductivity of 10^–16 S m–1 and silver and copper 10^8 S m–1."
The battery, which is now patent-pending at the US and other patent offices, is expected to cost less than $100 per kWh (about one-fourth that of the best batteries today), to weigh less and therefore provide longer range to cars, to have a greater power density (power to weight ratio), have a faster charging time and much longer life. Another substantial positive is the material itself, made from common acetylene. There are no rare earths to mine and extract, no toxic residues. The halogen dopants are also common, cheap, and abundant.
This battery, which continues the use of lithium for the anode, is likely a primary contribution to the Tesla company's announcement this week of a new mid-price all-electric car.
The renewable energy field, especially those technologies that have variable output due to changes in the wind or sunshine, will benefit greatly from a low-cost high-density battery. A wind energy project would not be limited to selling power at low prices, currently 3 cents per kWh, but instead selling the power as would a gas-fired power plant, on demand and reliably at the market price.
UPDATE 1 - 4-11-2016: There seems to be much confusion amongst the clueless commentators on some of the blogs. (Perhaps they simply cannot read) The question is whether the battery has been constructed and demonstrated, or is still just calculations on a blackboard somewhere. The following is quoted from the company's 17 November, 2015 press release:
"“We are pleased to confirm that a battery constructed with our new prototype cathode not only demonstrated a reduced cost of energy storage, but also a significant storage capacity improvement over that of existing lithium-ion batteries,” said Dr. David Lee, CEO of BioSolar." (bold-face added)
One hopes that the CEO making a public announcement would put an end to such a silly controversy. -- end update 1.
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyrignt © 2016 by Roger Sowell, all rights reserved