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Huh. Apparently electrolytes are what electric cars craved all along.
This looks promising. If the technology is real, I hope we can achieve accelerated transition towards it. Aluminium is quite cheap, quite easily recycled, and if these batteries can be produced with recycled aluminium as the article claims they are an excellent example of a very abnormally tight recycling loop. The primary long-term resource input to utilizing these would be the electricity used in recycling the aluminium. That’s beautiful.
How big can these batteries get? The article mentions Tesla batteries. I think the inventor should look at residential, commercial, and perhaps even municipal applications. It should at least be worth running the numbers. Would these be competitive in the home battery market?
Interesting, but since it’s a fuel cell, not a battery, it still needs a fuel – that is to say, it consumes the aluminium.
While aluminium is abundant, it isn’t unlimited, and it also doesn’t use the most clean of extraction processes. Additionally, the article has no details about the byproducts of the reaction in the fuel cell. Interesting, but remains to be seen.
So what about using them as an alternative to the electric company?
at best this will be a niche. its only about 40% cheaper than gas. EVs will be 90% cheaper, and the battery will last a million miles and only cost around 3000.
What could be great though would be to be able to buy one of these for a road trip, in addition to the car’s battery pack. even if it gives you 75-200 miles. that would make a huge difference for range anxiety. then you could have a battery pack that only gives up about 100ish miles.
With being able to add this extender you could easily increase cargo room to add one of these.
also. this would be pretty awesome for scooters and ebikes , but once again just as a niche.
The problem with these “breakthroughs” is that they always compare what they could be compared to lithium ion is now. every year, lithium ion is denser, cheaper, safer, and much longer lasting.
By the time they have these things working at scale, lithium will last twice as long and cost half as much. which ends up making it cost 1/4 the price on a per mile basis.
Everything is moving towards self-driving taxis, shuttles, buses, and semi. also buses can become half the size of light rail trains. I have seen 4 buses connected to make one.
One of the more promising fuel cycles uses aluminium as the energy carrier. You ship aluminium oxide to a remote site where the sun is reliable and reduce it tot he metal. That is shipped back, and burned in metal-air fuel cells. That creates the oxide, which gets shipped off again. Nothing is toxic or explosive, and there is a great deal of bauxite around to make up the oxide in the event of losses. (You can also use magnesium.)
Norsk Hydro has had these commercially available since the 1980s. They are not ideal for mobile use, but could well generate power at gas stations, avoiding heavy grid loads.