Electric test car with aluminum-air battery takes to the track
Last year, Phinergy and Alcoa announced the development of an aluminum-air battery that could give an electric car a potential range of 1,000 miles (1,609 km), though stops for a water top-up would be needed every couple of hundred miles. Now the companies have debuted the technology on the track at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.
With the exception of Tesla’s Model S and its 300 mile (500 km) range, most lithium-ion battery systems typically offer users a somewhat limited range before requiring a recharge. As we reported last April, there are several companies working on next generation air-battery technologies, most focusing on lithium-air solutions. However one of the inherent problems with these new metal-air batteries has been the issue of CO2-related premature failure.
Phinergy and Alcoa’s aluminum-air battery system uses energy released through the reaction of aluminum and water with oxygen in order to generate electricity, using a silver-based catalyst and unique structure to allow oxygen into the cell while refusing entry to the problematic CO2 molecules. The company claims that travel distances, purchase prices and life-cycle costs would be comparable to petrol-powered vehicles.
Because the battery plates are not rechargeable and need to be replaced, the system is being promoted as a supporting technology. During regular city driving, a lithium-ion system would manage most of the power needs, but during longer trips the aluminum-air battery would kick in as a range extender. The spent aluminum can also be recycled when depleted.
According to Phinergy, just one of the 50 aluminum plates in its aluminum-air battery can power a car for roughly 20 miles (32 km). When added to a lithium-ion configuration, the technology could extend an electric vehicle's range by approximately 1,000 miles. The development might also be used to further enhance range in future hybrid vehicles.
However, although the battery's aluminum plate anodes are claimed to have an energy density of 8 kWh/kg, there has been no mention of power or performance figures from the test vehicle.
The video below shows the Alcoa-Phinergy car with the aluminum-air battery out on the track.
Please keep comments to less than 150 words. No abusive material or spam will be published.
Adoption of a safe system of swapping out plates and water at the service station seems straightforward.
Pollution if any is negligible.
Density of energy release is a matter of configuration so it can't be a limitation.
So how is it that this got out of the bag into public domain and not shelved like all the other great ideas?
Nairda, I don't know how it got out into the public domain but I am glad it did.
Over all without rechargability I give this a great big yawn. Not green due to inefficiency and toxic by products, only marginally useful due to complexity of replacement. You'd be better off buying a small trailer and a deisel generator set to optimal output and using that as the range extender than this thing.
Is that comparison based on today's prices, or those soon to be upon us as the easy oil runs out completely and we are up against tar sands and shales as our sources, with their poor EROEI figures? If today, then this technology will be much in demand.
Of course, we must not forget that that any hybrid vehicle is going to need copper for its wiring, which is getting ever more expensive to extract with a ore now running at between 0.3% to 0.6% copper. It is difficult to see just how we are going to power our heavy goods vehicles and farm equipement that we so badly need grow and distribute in order to feed the ever expanding population.
One of the biggest challenges is to design battery technology that isn't adversely affected by freezing temps.
With modular batteries, eVehicle owners will be able to replace old batteries with much better, more powerful batteries as they are developed, which will make owning an eVehicle an even better investment since they will hold their value far longer!
Here is just a sample:
Tesla would be very smart to offer these upgrades because then all their eVehicles would be far more valuable since their owners would then have an upgrade path that would allow the use of better batteries, better tech and other "upgrades" that the owners of these eVehicles might want.
Tesla would again set the standard/bar much higher since no other Manufacturer does this and this alone would be yet another reason to only buy a Tesla…