BU-002: Introduction

Team up with Battery University to learn about batteries and conquer its shortcomings

The word “battery” comes from the Old French word baterie, meaning “action of  beating,” relating to a group of cannons in battle. In the endeavor to find an energy storage device, scientists in the 1700s adopted the term “battery” to represent multiple electrochemical cells connected together.

The battery consists of two electrodes that are isolated by a separator and soaked in electrolyte to promote the movement of ions. New active materials are being tried, each offering unique attributes but none delivering an ultimate solution.

Improvements have been slow. Whereas Moore’s Law* doubled the number of transistors in an integrated circuit every two years, capacity gain of lithium-ion (Li-ion) has been about 8 percent per year in the last two decades. Theoretical battery models reveal specific energy levels that are ten times higher than the commercial equivalent. They remain theoretical, and these lofty goals may never be achieved in real life.

The battery is a feeble vessel that is slow to fill, holds limited energy, runs for a time like a wind-up toy, fades and eventually becomes a nuisance. It exhibits human qualities in that it needs recuperation from the daily travails by applying a long and restful charge. It then delivers for a time and quits on its own terms. Some batteries need as much charging time as they deliver, and there is a resemblance to growing teenagers. (I raised five.)

The lithium-ion family receives the most attention and is gradually replacing the nickel-based predecessors that dominated the battery world until the 1990s. Lead acid with its many warts and blemishes holds a solid position for starter and standby batteries. No other system can meet its price and robustness for now.

Li-ion is expensive but when calculating the price-per-cycle, it wins over lead acid when repeat cycling is required. Basing calculations on cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) no longer holds; operational costs must be considered. A battery expert said that the switch from lead acid to Li-ion will be faster than the advancement of the Internet.

We want to learn as much about batteries as possible, but this book addresses only the most commonly used battery systems. My background is in electrical, and I tackle batteries from the electrical side rather than studying chemical reactions. I avoid formulas, and I back my material with practical and hands-on field data.
    
*  In 1965, Gordon Moore said that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit would double every two years. The prediction became true and is being carried into the 21st century. Applied to a battery, Moore’s Law would shrink a starter battery in a car to the size of a coin.

Last updated 2016-04-11
 

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Comments

On October 17, 2016 at 3:53am
Jack Matthews wrote:

What is the future for each of lithium /titanium/ graphite / cobalt batteries and the difference values of each of them?
How can these chemicals complement each other in batteries?
What is the basic difference between car (wet) batteries and these proposed new (Tesla)batteries?
Thank you for your help.
Jack

On January 6, 2017 at 7:39pm
Austin g miniter wrote:

I am looking for a replacement battery to fly my helicopter .i am almost sure that it is a9volt battery that I need,hoping that you might be able to help me .afristrated helicopter pilot

On February 1, 2017 at 2:35pm
Vivek Tare wrote:

I am in need of 103450 battery in 1800 mah.
I am told that the battery is banned . is true?

On February 17, 2017 at 12:48pm
Gavin wrote:

‘Theoretical battery models reveal specific energy levels that are ten times higher than the commercial equivalent. They remain theoretical, and these lofty goals may never be achieved in real life.’ Why is it so?

On July 17, 2017 at 2:07pm
Rahul Pandey wrote:

I am aware of some of the most recent developments in battery industry, but it appears things have hit a road block when it comes to commercialization and high volume manufacturing or overhauling the whole industry as it happend in case of Li-ion battery.
so, whats the next big things in the battery industry and what should be probable course of actions to drive it forward towards a more stable, reliable, efficient, and cost effective technology. 

On September 20, 2017 at 2:28am
Saravanan wrote:

Hi,
I have a one clarification regarding battery fixing position regarding.
I am used 7Ah Lead Acid Battery but due to some reason i am unable fix horizontally. So my doubt is battery life time depending up on way of fixing? Please give your comments.

On December 14, 2017 at 2:17am
Joshua wrote:

Hi, I want to know if I can have a hands-on experience on how to do those theoretical battery technology. I will appreciate recommending one for me. thanks