Saturday , November 28 2020

Electric cars require oxygen




Conventional electric car, like this BMW i3. It has lithium ion ion batteries distributed in 8 modules, each with 23 cells

In 30 years, when it is very likely that it will not be possible to circulate in Spain with gasoline or diesel vehicles, the batteries of the

cars are electric

that of lithium-oxygen or sodium-ion. In this area, research is moving. Because everything that worries about battery vehicles is the result of current lithium-ion batteries, and there are still some significant drawbacks.

If the comparison was reduced to the machines, electricians would not have been installed on traditional combustion machines: they are much more efficient machines (they convert 90% of & The power they get to move, compared to 30% of gasoline), are clean, silent, easier to manufacture and carry out and can also transfer all of them Power almost immediately, which is much better to drive.

But the machines do not exist without the ion-lithium batteries,
with what incredible developments that have been made ten years ago so inadequate today. They really have developed to offer an acceptable energy density (energy storage and supply, which requires more independence) need to be smaller and that their resilience has increased (resistant large number of load cycles), even They maintain up to 90% of their capacity after five or six years (the situation gets worse later).

It is also true that they insist on paying some difficult customs to the digestive industry. The main one is the production of the chronicles, which means the use of complex raw materials, which excavation and transport is similar to an outstanding effort.
The reserves of lithium, nickel and cobalt (which are not unlimited, on the other hand) are distributed in deposits from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Australia, Cuba, Russia or # 39 Congo, and their reach and removal of minerals assume high energy and high water expenditure. A recent Environment Environment Institute's study has concluded that the production of one lithium-ion battery of 100 kWh (which uses the higher version of the Tesla Model) means emission between 150 and 200 tonnes of CO2. Having translated into the language of the road, which corresponds to driving gasoline car for eight years, according to the Swedish report.

This is complicated by problems such as slow refilling processes and improved energy density, but it is still insufficient: although the latest models offer theoretical autonomy of between 500 and 600 kilometers, the size The batteries punish other aspects such as inside living or space in the trunk road. When developing lithium ion batteries, the challenge for researchers and manufacturers is to find reliable options for this technology.

Greater independence, lower price

The current lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolytes (the material that allows the transfer of electrons between the negative electrodes and the positive) and have an energy density, that is, how much energy is per unit , from between 400 Wh / la 650 Wh / l, and still expect that they will evolve enough in the years to come to offer more independence at a lower price. Together, however, the research works on potential long-term potential options.


Free goods station provided by Axion in Libertador and Jerónimo Salguero, in Capital Federal
Free goods station provided by Axion in Libertador and Jerónimo Salguero, in Capital Federal Credit: Axion

Batteries and the future

  • Lithium-oxygen. They can be the future batteries because they offer an energy density that adds up to 15 times the current batteries, thanks to the use of oxygen. However, the problem is the trigger suffered by the negative electrode, which prevents continuous retrospect. It seems that a team of researchers from the University of Canada Waterloo have found the answer, but they are still in the experimental period.
  • Lithium and sulfur. These batteries weigh less, store more energy and more respectfully with the environment. Investigations focus on solving the two main problems: sulfur, chemical degradation and electrode instability, and poor productivity.

The lithium, accumulated, is at the bottom of the developing tanks of the Exar mining company's pilot plant, from Lithium America and SQM in Olaroz, Jujuy. It will produce 20,000 tonnes per year by 2020
The lithium, accumulated, is at the bottom of the developing tanks of the Exar mining company's pilot plant, from Lithium America and SQM in Olaroz, Jujuy. It will produce 20,000 tonnes per year by 2020 Credit: Javier Corbalán
  • Lithium Metal. With energy density that doubles some lithium ions, these batteries use a grain electrode. The repayment time is really reduced.
  • Electrolyt solid. In these, where companies such as Samsung and LG Chem work, a solid electricity conductor is being used: there is no risk of correction, the energy density is doubled and the refill up to six times faster. It is estimated that they will be ready before ten years.
  • Polymer Grapen. The Spanish company Grabat produces graphene polymer cells for different batteries. The company promises greater energy density, shorter loading time and more security. In short, they will be very light and rarely take possession, but it is necessary that someone decides to use this technology, collecting those cells and creating batteries.


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