future of lithium ion technology

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by buckuxc, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. buckuxc macrumors regular

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    #1
    Out of curiousity, regarding all the talk of iPod battery life, and in my own interest, the juice I can get out of my PB batter off of one charge....

    Does anyone know anything about the state/progression of lithium ion battery technology? I'm just curious what kind of improvements are being predicted in the next few years, if at all. Have LI batteries improved as fast as other tech sectors?

    Is there significant research and new ideas in alternatives that are both powerful and environmentally friendly?

    This is going to be an incredibly serious issue in the next few years, IMO...maybe a good time to start buying up some shares of LI battery manufacturers. Anyone know what companies are good to buy into or where to find out this sort of information? Thanks.

    sps
     
  2. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I think that with the power consumption rate of devices, electrical batteries would need to seriously improve or be relegated to backup duty.

    I would like to see an ethanol-powered fuel cell. Imagine, 10 hours of full-tilt computing power using 1 ounce of Jack Daniels. :D
     
  3. buckuxc thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    so what you're saying is...

    I should start hoarding Jack instead of drinking it!:rolleyes:...hmm...life's decisions...I guess it could come in handy in several ways if we ever had a apocalyptic scenario unfold...:eek:
     
  4. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

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    #4
    i don't know any specifics but battery technology has been progressing at a very slow rate, esp. compared to the advancement in computing technologies... (which is hard to keep up regardless, but you see my point...)

    unlike other technologies, we are yet to find any fundamentally different way of generating/storing electricity other than chemical means - and chemical based batteries have been around forever. therefore, it's highly unlikely that another new chemical based process would suddenly (and significantly) improve the longevity or the capability of batteries... :(
     
  5. bannedagain macrumors member

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    #5
    Li-ion was superseeded by Li-Polymer, in the sence that Li-polymer batteries have a lifetime of arround 5 years, and are chemically more stable. However they are more expencive to produce

    I'm interested the Vanadium Redox Cell, which uses a replacable electolyte. Hence you can drain the old electrolyte and replace it with a fresh one and the cell is fully charged. the spent electolyte can then be recharged. This type of cell can see a future in the automotive industy because of instant recharge times. Unfortunatly the current cells are rather crude.
     
  6. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    So, the electrodes are in the electrolyte?
    :confused:
     
  7. oldschool macrumors 65816

    oldschool

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    #7
    Lets get a fuel cell powered laptop computer. I know it would be big, but you could just go to a hydrogen refuelling station and you're ready to go.

    Just don't drop the laptop...its liable to explode.
     
  8. pinto32 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Actually, fuel cell laptops are just around the corner. Toshiba has commited itself to having a working model at the the end of 2004/early 2005. They are estimating that their first model will have 15-20 hours of life on one fill.

    Gilette (makers of Duracell batteries) is investing millions in throw-away refills for electronic devices.

    The future looks bright!
    (no Hindenberg pun was intended, but is funny nonetheless :D)
     
  9. pinto32 macrumors 6502

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    #9
    hmmm....maybe if Apple threw a fuel cell into a Powerbook G5, they could get a solid 30 minutes of power!!!!!! :rolleyes:
     
  10. SiliconAddict macrumors 603

    SiliconAddict

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    #10

    Ya and maybe if smart guys would get a clue of what they are talking about this world would be a better place. :rolleyes: Go find the specs of a 90nm G5 and compare it to a G4 and then return informed. Thanks. Have a nice day.
    Back to topic.
    .
    .
    .
    What kind of time frame are we talking before a FC becomes commonplaced in mobile electronics. God know FC tech is the buzz word of the last 6 months.
     
  11. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Um...
    G5 would use more power than G4.
    A 90nm G5 would still use more power than a G4.

    Forget the hydrogen fuel cell. Better to have ethanol, since that would be in liquid form instead of gas. And the delivery system would be easier as it doesn't have to be pressurized as hydrogren would have to be for a liquid.

    Methanol would be even better. As making methanol from petroleum is a net energy gain, instead of hydrogen which is a net energy loss.

    Ethanol is also a net energy loss, but there are other uses for ethanol. ;)
     
  12. 7on macrumors 601

    7on

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    #12
    I'm still betting Apple will be the first to use this tech. Hopefully they'll release new hydrogen/ethenal batteries for their older laptops....

    MMmmmm dreamy...
     
  13. oldschool macrumors 65816

    oldschool

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    #13
    The problem there would be then you would need a converter on board.

    While i hope that fuel cell technology takes off (i own some ballard shares), there are a few things that i think are nagging problems.

    First, extracting hydrogen from water requires hydrolysis, or in other words electricity. The electricity therefore must be derived from some source, and if this source uses fossil fuels or other nonrenewable source, the end result is the same as driving a gas powered car.

    Also, if there are onboard hydrogen reformers using traditional hydrocarbon sources (propane) air pollution while reduced would still be a significant byproduct, and the whole "water emission" dogma of the fuel cell industry would be for naught.
     
  14. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Converter on board?

    Converter would be in the battery pack, or fuel cell pack itself.

    I'm not a big fan of a 'hydrogen economy' Far from it. I see extracting hydrogen from water as costly and inefficient. Only reason to do that would be if space/weight is an issue, and those types of applications are highly specialized. Such as do-or-not-do types of mission, like space missions. Pretty much all of it is space missions.

    I can't see the world doing hydrolysis just to power laptops, unless its with 'free energy' such as solar. Solar as in finding a genetically engineered plant that spews out hydrogen and oxygen at night, takes in carbon dioxide and water in the morning. It just takes too much energy to split water artificially (man-made).

    I could see methanol, since thats a net energy gain. I could see ethanol, since thats got dual uses. ;)
     
  15. oldschool macrumors 65816

    oldschool

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    #15
    How do you suppose you are going to get energy to power a laptop from methanol or ethanol? A generator? A fuel cell will also use these, by converting to hydrogen as needed.

    Also what do you mean by a net energy gain for methanol? When its combusted?
     
  16. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #16
    laptop batteries of old

    when i got both my laptops in late-99, one for me and one for wife, i noticed the laptops had different batteries

    the pc laptop, which was made six months earlier but was sold to me as backstock, had a nickel metal hydride battery which was being phased out by compaq on that model in 2000...this one pound battery gave me only a tad bit more than an hour and after one year, it could not hold a charge...i could have ordered an optional liion battery but i didn't think it was worth the extra cost...boy, was i wrong

    the other laptop i got was the old style ibook with a 1 1/2 pound or so liion battery and it gave me 4 hours or more right out of the box...these days, i get 2 1/3 hours on a charge...but this battery is over four years old and has been used daily almost every day since its purchase so i have no complaints regarding liion

    now lithium polymer batteries sounds like a great step up and i wonder when all laptops will turn to this technology...i think having a less hungry processor with less voltage and a smaller nanometer process is actually the key issue here when it comes to battery time, at least on full sized laptops

    i also look forward to seeing what transmeta offers in the way of next generation low power processors and it is sad that they don't make a processor for the mac but i guess anything can happen as shown by ibm making the premier level processor for professional macs...he he...a few years ago, who would have thought?:D
     
  17. pinto32 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Actually, that comment was half joke, half truth. Even with the new (90nm) process, the G5 still consums at least twice the power that the G4 (18nm) does (24w vs 12w, if I remember correctly). And the current (13nm, first revision) G5s consume over twice that amount (56w, I believe?). So, they will drain a laptops battery horribly fast. Sorry if I tried to use a little bit of scarcasm/humor to lighten up the mood a little........

    FYI: I got the info about the Toshiba laptops and Duracell batteries from an article that I read back in November. I got the info about the G5s and G4s here on macrumors. I didnt look any of it up either......which would seem to imply that I am already informed.....

    Maybe if people lightened up and didnt take every little comment so seriously, this world would be a better place. Thanks. Have a nice day.
     
  18. benixau macrumors 65816

    benixau

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    #18
    from my understanding - Li-ion still holds more power per sq mm tahn Li-poly. the thing is that Li-Poly can be made into any shape you want and it will still give you then same power as it would in any other shape. Li-ion has to be in the usual rectangular form.

    Li based techs will do for now but everywhere you look in the portable world - people want bigger batteries and they bhetter hurry up. At least Toshi is doing something about it.

    I just worry it may be to late to get the masses onto the good stuff.
     
  19. oldschool macrumors 65816

    oldschool

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    #19

    This board needs a thumbs up smiley.

    ::Thumbs up::
     
  20. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Net energy gain, at least the way I'm using it is that you gain energy in the manufacture of methanol from its raw products, so, you can use that energy to manufacture more methanol. Its like making gasoline from crude oil. You get energy from crude oil to make gasoline.

    Hydrogen from water is net energy loss (inefficiency).

    Ethanol from potatoes, grapes, sugars is net energy loss. Though some people get more energetic when they are drunk. :p
     
  21. bannedagain macrumors member

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    #21
    Indeed there is my friend, Indeed there is:p.
     
  22. bannedagain macrumors member

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    #22
    Re: laptop batteries of old

    I'm looking towards more Li-Ploymer tech becoming avaliable.

    However the screen on a laptop is the real power consumer, especially if it's 17"s in size.

    Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED's) are the future in thin screen technology, I'm guessing here but I'm pretty sure they will require less power than current generation LCD screens.


    About the eairler comment on my Vanadium Redox Cell, I haven't done much research into it. However the spent electolyte can be recharged at 2V, while it can be discharged at just over 100V. It's a really amazing tech that is only in its infincay
     
  23. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    The backlight on a LCD screen is the powerhog... not the LCD itself.
     
  24. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #24
    It's sad, but in battery technology, there's only so much that can be done--improvements happen, but they're subtle and small. That's the cold, hard truth of physical reality when the technology hasn't fundamentally changed in decades.

    As for fuel cels, being a somewhat different technology (not just a different electrolyte, but a different way to go about using it), they have the potential for more of a "breakthrough" improvement in either longevity, or just charging methods--refuling rather than recharging.

    That said, I work in fuel cells, and it's going to be at least a few more years before they're practical on a mass-market scale--they're expensive, have short lifespans, and a few other issues. I'm sure Toshiba will be the first to ship a fuel cell laptop, but I bet almost nobody buys it, and micro fuel cells won't be common for a few years yet unless there's some companies either not going public with what they can do, or somebody's not lying when they brag (which has so far proved to be exceedingly rare at best).

    [short enviro-tech rant]

    This only holds true for as long as inexpensive fossil fuels hold out, which no matter how optimistic you are isn't going to be forever. Once we can't dig fuel out of the ground, we either go back to farming and riding horses, or we find an alternative. Sources are currently limited to nuclear fission (also fairly limited), fusion, geothermal, hydro, and solar. None of those can in the forseeable future be made portable for a vehicle or laptop, so you've got to store your electricity for portability somehow. Currently, efficent or not, your only realistic choices are batteries, fuel cells, and maybe flywheels.

    Batteries are mature but have physical limits, flywheels are probably a pipe dream, and fuel cells used with hydrogen produced from water using a non-finite source of electricity have a lot of room to grow. Civilization might collapse, or somethng else might pop up, but the shaky hydrogen economy is the only choice for the long-term future. Fuel cells might just make a good short term solution in lap tops, too.
     
  25. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Here's a link for Ethanol fuel cell

    Lets say that all fossil fuels are used up, even coal, so that makes making methanol a non-starter. Ethanol can still be made though, from fermenting plant starches and distillation. Both can be done via biomass (woodburning), solar, wind, nuclear, etc.

    Hydrogen, though its needed for the fuel cell reaction, is difficult to transport. Ethanol would be easier. Though, it might make it harder to make sure only people over 21 can run their laptops. :D
     

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