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The Era of Lithium Ion

Your cell phone, your tablet, your Tesla Model S, your Segway Ninebot, your iPhone, your Android, your laptop, your portable router, your high output LED rechargeable 18650 flashlight, your portable battery packs, the mobile power we consume today is Lithium Ion! Tesla Giga-Factory FTW
Back in 1993 Sony invented the Lithium Cobalt Carbon : Lithium Ion battery, which was quickly integrated into Sony's product offerings in 1994 and up until the PS4 dual shock remote controller of today, with its sealed lithium ion internal rechargeable battery.

Lithium Ion 18650 batteries are the brawn deluxe by the billions Panasonic Tesla cells 4.0AH 3.8v : state of the art! Sadly Gasoline is 12,000wh/kg. While the light lithium battery can be recharged 1000 times, even though gasoline is a single use disposable fluid, the single charge range of even a huge Tesla Model S 100kwH pack is only about 320miles, then it takes 10x loner to recharge then it does to fill the gas tank of a normal car that competes with the Model S. This gives gasoline a power to weight advantage common to all liquid hydrocarbon fuels used in aviation for the fuels good power to weight ratio. Gasoline power is powerful, especially today using modern engine technology! Diesel and Jet Fuel are similarly powerful in engines designed for those fuels. Battery just do not have the brawn to move big machines long distances at high speed reliably yet.

Lithium ion is fraught with safety problems, hoverboards catching fire when charging, laptop fires, cell phone fires, all from the Lithium Cobalt Carbon Polymer Plastic pouch batteries and low quality unsafe chinese 18650 batteries.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was even having fire problems with its lithium ion batteries. The problems is the flammable petrochemical films, fluids, and cases, that burn up when the battery is shorted, taking the lithium, cobalt and carbon into the reaction if a thermal runaway occurs, venting with flame follows, its bad news.

Even some Tesla Model S's caught fire when the underside of the model S was subjected to extreme mechanical damage in accidents capable of puncturing the safety enclosure of the model S's batteries, Tesla Responded with a titanium shield bolted on to improve the strength of the battery to mechanical impacts. Titanium is an amazing material if its of good quality, ask Skunk Works, they had to work like hell to sort junky Russian Titanium in the 1960's to make the SR71 Blackbird possible, its a titanium jet engine beast machine of outrageous performance, and a similar price tag! I have no ideas what kind of batteries they use in that kind of top secrete aerospace, I suspect a lot of Lithium Sulfur batteries in Drones today, given the LiS double energy density vs Lithium Cobalt Carbon, that gives the drones twice the range performance, flight endurance as it is known in that sector. I had a friend from an aerospace firm tell me that the US Govenment had Lithium Ion batteries in Missile Silos back in the 1960's! I am not sure what cell chemistry he was referencing and neither was he.

I am a rare battery geek, and I actually love battery energy storage technology, primarily because it enables smart phones to exist, the Model S to exist, my segway to exist, and some cool lithium dewalt power tools that I like too! In TV remotes I like long life Alkaline made in the USA, same for wall clocks or other devices with long single use battery life measure in months or years. I used a single AA to power a bike computer for almost 10 years, noting the button cell was 1.5v a 357, and that I could give it more run time in years with an AA. That was me at 21 thinking about simple battery technology improvements to existing consumer products. Ever since then I have worked professionally on smartphone repairs, building battery systems, designing battery packs in many different chemistries, with charge controllers and chargers, modifying consumer products to accept different batteries, and reworking energy storage setup on other devices around my home that I have used over the years. I like long battery life devices with good run time between charges! 

1 comment:

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