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Aluminum-Air Battery With 1000-Mile EV Range, Too Good To Be True?

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by Sergiospl, Mar 25, 2013.

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  1. Sergiospl

    Sergiospl Senior Member

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    Phinergy drives car by metal, air, and water - YouTube


  2. nai1ed

    nai1ed 2006 Prius

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    You know this technology will never be sold to regular folks. It would put Oil/Gas companies out of business.
  3. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    I'll believe it when it has gone 100k miles and 5 years and I can buy one for a reasonable price and it drives like a normal car.
  4. drysider

    drysider Member

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    They claim they went 330km using the test platform. There is a lot they didn't say, and it is currently mostly blue-sky. There are several battery types under development and this is just one of them.
  5. ralleia

    ralleia Active Member

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    I don't know the full energy balance behind this device, but I am very skeptical.

    Aluminum is one of the most energy-intensive and environmentally destructive of our common commodities to produce.

    Producing one metric ton of aluminum consumes 21,000 kWh of electricity, 1.7 metric tons of fuel, 29,000 gallons of water, produces 4.5 metric tons of CO2 equivalents, 0.11 metric tons of hazardous waste, as well as smaller amounts of sulfur oxides and other toxic air emissions. (Lave, et al, Municipal Solid Waste Recycling Issues, Journal of Environmental Engineering, October 1999)

    That's why aluminum recycling is one of the few materials recycling avenues that is solidly profitable--it is so expensive in energy to produce.
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  6. spwolf

    spwolf Senior Member

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    it uses aluminium not air... 25kg apperantly for 1000 mile range in small C1/Aygo car which is very light at 890 kg.
  7. Sergiospl

    Sergiospl Senior Member

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    They totally lost me when his tablet showed how fast mile-range goes up simultaneously as water is pumped in, download fast! really?
  8. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I haven't watched the video yet, but know from other sources regarding metal-air cells that the energy is definitely there.

    Note that this proposed cell is not rechargeable. The aluminum element (solid here, paste in some military applications) must be replaced. Note also that refining various aluminum oxides into metallic aluminum takes huge amounts of electric energy.

    There is reason that some folks refer to aluminum metal as electricity in its solid phase.
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  9. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    fuzzy1 makes a very important point: you're essentially throwing out the entire battery every 1000 miles and replacing it with a new one. The aluminum elements can be recycled, but they can not be recharged.
  10. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    One of my Material Sci professors was advocating this approach many years ago. Basically a battery with a replaceable anode (aluminum).
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  11. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    The technology is absolutely real for single use batteries. These are used in military applications.

    For a light duty vehicle application, I would assume you would have this as your reserve for a EV. If say you wanted to go farther than the X mile range, you use your aluminum air battery. It would require an infrastructure for dropping off, and recycling the batteries. Say if you had a 70 mile BEV and could add 1000 mile extended range battery for 100 lbs, it may make a lot more sense than a fuel cell range extender. Infrastructure would be much cheaper than hydrogen. I have no idea what the energy cost is to recycle one of these batteries, but remember you are going to be using the lithium main for the bulk of your travel.


    Its at least 5 years out, and I suspect costs will be higher than range extending ice for a phev. That will be the killer question, but if liquid fuel prices get high enough this may be a good technology for the future.
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  12. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    No recharge...only recycle seems key.

    Doesn't that make the aluminum air battery simply a one shot range extender?
  13. walter Lee

    walter Lee Hypermiling Padawan

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    This not a rechargeable battery. Regardless of the energy density - the question is whether Phinergy can keep the cost down low enough so that is economically competitive and sustainable to secure a market segment.
  14. Odinn

    Odinn Junior Member

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    Great info! Thank you for sharing.



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  15. Drake

    Drake Junior Member

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    This non-rechargeable battery swap is going to be very expensive...
  16. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    It depends on the volume of cars. You are only swapping part of the battery. They don't need to be the same, like in the better place business model.

    Say you have a BEV that goes 80% of the miles you want to go on its rechargeable battery, and you have an aluminum air cell good for 1000 miles of extended range. On a 15,000 year, you need 3000 miles or 3 anode/cathode exchanges. If these cost around $200 each then electricity + battery exchange would be cheaper than gas for most of the country. Think of it as the new 5000 mile oil change, if we could get jiffy lube to stock and send to recycling the parts.
  17. Rassah

    Rassah New Member

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    If mass-produced, I can see these battery cells being no more expensive to produce than a roll of aluminum foil, and may be as easy to replace as just popping out and plugging in a new printer cartridge. So, I'm sure it's definitely a possibility some time in the future. The initial price no doubt will be pretty high. And if the spent cells are just aluminum oxide, they can still be recycled, somewhat (though they would have to be used as almost raw material, having to go through the electrolysis process and all the messy stuff, too).
    As to the "Oil companies won't let it happen" comment, car companies are not oil companies. They are only interested in their own profit, at the expense of other car manufacturers they compete with, so oil companies will have little, if anything, to say about this.
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  18. Rassah

    Rassah New Member

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    <rant> As a somewhat of an engineer, I also find it extremely annoying that the video claims this car is "powered by air, water." Despite the oft-repeated claims of supposedly suppressed holy-grail technologies of engines that run on water, water itself is not an energy source. It's actually the lowest state of energy (from a chemical point of view), thus any claim of a car that runs on water immediately runs afoul of the law of conservation of energy, and thus should be immediately dismissed outright. Nothing can be powered by water. Like Hydrogen, at most water can be a store of energy (if you heat it or break it into it's component elements), not a source. I'm guessing the title claiming the car is powered by water is just there to catch the people's attention (or I hope it is, though it may be the news reporter's stupidity), but it would be much more correct to say that this car runs on purified aluminum, which itself is also just a store of energy, and must be "recharged" by being purified at the aluminum plant. </rant>

    From a global conservation perspective, the next question that would necessarily have to be asked is: How much energy/pollution goes into purifying aluminum, versus how much is going into using gasoline or recharging lithium-ion batteries?
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  19. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    I think this is framed like the susbury nickel mine question, as if nimh batteries were the only reason to have mines open. The prius already has aluminum block/head and hood along with other parts. No one really claims that we should go to an iron metal block and steel hood because aluminum/gas trade off favors using more gasoline. Oil is a scarcer commodity than aluminum that is recycled.

    Then we get to the energy balance question of whether energy to power an aluminium air extended range bev is better than E10 or B5 fuel a ice vehicle. Some would claim it is all about the source of electricity for the rechargable battery and electricity and heat source to recycle the batteries are the important thing. I would not. Oil is a scarce comodity, electricity can come from clean sources. Environmentally if this thing nearly as efficient we win. Efficiency comes down to the utilization factor Recycling likely takes about 5 times the energy as recharging (guestimte). If utiliazation is 80% and efficiency for electricity is 100 then 1/(0.8/100mpge+0.2/20mpge) =55 mpge.

    You choose whether you want to recycle renewably or with coal, natural gas, nuclear. Make your own value judgement on ghg/versus using the scarcest comodity. There have been many discussions on this already.

    That brings it down to cost and recycling infrastructure. In isreal, where this is being invented its a no brainer. In california, this seems like a great idea. In alaska, I see problems.
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  20. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    My googling between meetings found these interesting factoids.

    Huge Potential from Air-Aluminum Battery Research




    I couldn't find a toyota press release, but here is more inforation about green recycling of the aluminum hydroxide
    Alair aluminum-air battery :: Create the Future Design Contest




    I'm guessing in real life though for car batteries, the aluminum hydroxide would be trucked to a recycling center, where its likely natural gas and electricity would be used to produce new aluminum plates.
    There are lots of different possible recylable/rechargeable battery technologies in the future. Because of the military and consumer electronic applications aluminum air will get funding whether in cars or not, and will continue to improve. Its the recycling infrastructure that we are lacking. For at least the next decade we can expect phevs with ices like the prius phv, ford energis, and volt to dominate plug-ins. After that it would be exciting to see some of these newer technologies to extend range. For the short Japanese commute, I could see toyota making a car with a 30 mile rechargable range, and a recyclable power source.
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