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Alcoa and aluminum battery

Discussion in 'TSLA Investor Discussions' started by Chickenlittle, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. Chickenlittle

    Chickenlittle Active Member

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    Three OEMs will test aluminum battery next year as range extender. The production of battery actually has a NEGATIVE carbon footprint with recycling of the aluminum sheets. I know tesla has patents and a close relationship with alcoa. I hope they are one of the OEMs.
     
  2. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Article/link?

    Tesla has a patent or two for integrating a metal-air primary battery into an electric car as a range extender that I read about here a year or two ago; the new D cars mean there's large high voltage wiring up right by the Frunk on some Model Ss and all Model Xs that would be simple to tie in to.

    A couple hundred pounds of aluminum-air battery could double your range - once, for a price. It'll be interesting to see if Tesla brings it to market.

    Walter
     
  3. Chickenlittle

    Chickenlittle Active Member

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    CEO speech at alcoa investor day today
     
  4. ReddyLeaf

    ReddyLeaf Member

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    Aluminum metal requires a huge amount of energy to produce from ore, and "only" about 5% of that energy is required to recycle the metal (melt and reforge or whatever it's called). Here in WA state many of the hydroelectric dams had aluminum smelters right next door. During the Enron scam, many sold their contracts, generated huge temporary revenue gains, then closed the smelters. Production has probably moved to China with their "not so clean" grid (probably coal). Now all we're left with here is an empty lot and a whole bunch of electrical wires:
    https://maps.google.com/maps?q=45.724248,-120.700564&ll=45.724158,-120.693612&spn=0.034394,0.027595&num=1&t=h&z=15&iwloc=A
     
  5. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    Infinite number of times. After you replaces the cores at your local Tesla service center.

    It would give those guys something to do other than visual inspections,filling wiper fluid, and tire rotations.

    With revenue from replacing the cores maybe they could lower the price on annual service.
     
  6. Chickenlittle

    Chickenlittle Active Member

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    your right large energy requirement to produce very low to recycle. 70% of all aluminum produced last hundred years still in use via recycling. Actually cheapest aluminum production is Saudi arabia. Huge joint venture gov and Alcoa. The aluminum in your model s made in USA by Alcoa. The use of aluminum alloys allow more recent generation of jet engines that are 20% more fuel efficient since they burn hotter and more complete. The story is always deeper. It takes more energy to produce aluminum bodied car BUT fuel saving if driven over 35k miles results in lower carbon foot print. Now they are doing the same with ICE engines that will allow still higher fuel efficiency

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yeah saw a video of aluminum plate removed and replaced. Wonder if you could pack 3 and go coast to coast
     
  7. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    Well, it certainly would make driving to/from Alaska hugely less intractable. Sign me up, TMC..........
     
  8. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Well...

    Coast to coast can mean a few different things. I think I saw 3,400 miles in one of the threads a while back, so I'll use that. If you assume 300 Wh/mile, that means 1020 kWh (including the initial ~75 kWh charge, so 945 from the extender.)

    Current demonstrated Aluminum-Air batteries run about 1300 Wh per kg. Some folks expect to see 2000 Wh/kg soon, and theoretically it might someday be possible to build one at 8000 Wh/kg:

    Aluminium–air battery - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    At 1300 Wh/kg, 945 kWh is 727 kg - about 1600 pounds of aluminum air battery. Probably not practical (though I have no idea what fraction of that is the plates - so by using a smaller battery and replacing the plates a couple times you might save some of the weight.)

    At 2kWh/kg, 945 kWh is about a thousand pounds (423 kg) - still a big stretch, but technically doable if you don't have much else in the car.

    At the theoretical limit of 8 kWh/kg, 945 kWh is 264 pounds (118 kg) - easily doable.

    So depending on exactly what Tesla/Alcoa bring to the table, the answer is maybe - but it likely won't be easy for a while yet. Of course, this assumes you're driving it completely nonstop, using keep awake pills and diapers for the couple days. If you stop even a couple times to eat and charge, the requirements go down a good bit.

    It is a great solution for people living in places that don't have much charging infrastructure who need to take road trips on rare occasions (Alaska? Northern Canada? Central/South America?) - especially if the plates are easily replaceable and Tesla/Alcoa create a mail order system for exchanging plates.
    Walter
     
  9. Chickenlittle

    Chickenlittle Active Member

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    I did not see coast to coast published anywhere. I was only basing that by claims of upto 1000 extra miles
     
  10. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    I hadn't seen the thousand miles numbers either - I was just building a little back of napkin engineering to see whether your hope was practical.

    You'd also need to carry fresh water and have a plan for holding the aluminum hydroxide gel/powder (but by using all up density numbers, the water and hydroxide and some level of container are in the above numbers.)
    Walter
     
  11. Zzzz...

    Zzzz... Member

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    Don't forget, metal air batteries do grow much heavier as battery state of charge grow smaller. And many estimates/PR materials specify weight of only fully charged cells, and those are relatively lightweight.
     
  12. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Huh. That's something I never knew. I suppose it makes sense considering you've trapped all of that oxygen out of the air - but I had never read anything about it before.
    Walter
     
  13. evme

    evme Member

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    I saw this a while back, it is the sustainability report of how Alcoa produces their aluminum and how much better they plan to make it long term.

    http://www.alcoa.com/sustainability/en/info_page/resources_energy.asp
     
  14. SteveG3

    SteveG3 Active Member

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    Lots of good information here, but there's another way of looking at what such a metal air battery could do as a range extender.

    I think for most people (of course, not all), 10-12 hours of driving, or ~800 miles, is about the most they'd like to do in a day. With a Model S doing about 250 miles at highway speeds with some climate control, the metal air would allow you to do that ~800 miles in a given day with mixed use of the two batteries. Here's one example of how this combination could be used to travel 800 miles with under a little under an hour of required refuel stopping.

    1. 250 miles, 3+ hours, from lithium ion battery.

    2. Stop 10 minutes, put ~50 miles in your lithium ion battery as you add water for the metal air range extender.

    3. Travel another 250 miles 50 from li-ion, 200 from metal air

    4. Stop 45 minute (after 6 plus hours not such a bad thing), fill up li-ion battery to about 200 miles, add water to metal air

    5. Travel another 300 miles, 200 on li-ion battery, 100 on metal air

    6. Call it a night, recharge li-ion overnight.

    7. repeat cycle next day

    So, for someone looking to travel 3,200 miles, they could do this in 4 days, with each 800 mile day requiring only one 45 minute stop, and one 10 minute stop. Again, I think for most people 800 miles is about the most they'd want to drive in a day, and I think a total of ~55 minutes at charging/rest stops in such a day is quite a reasonable option (fwiw, with just a regular S85 SuperCharging, I'd estimate the same distance would need ~2:15 in stops for SuperCharging). The whole trip would require a metal air battery with 1,200 miles of capacity. When you reach your destination, you could go to a service center to replace the aluminum plates.

    I do like the idea of a range extender. Of course, if Tesla can get SuperCharging down to 5-10 minutes as JB Straubel expressed as an aspiration (though diffiicult and not to be seen any time soon), I'd be perfectly happy with Tesla not pursuing the metal air extender. I think either of these improvements to the Tesla experience would be huge in pushing large numbers of people to the EV side of the fence.
     
  15. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    I haven't any way to test the veracity of your proposal, Steve, but I can say that as a real long-distance driver, I would be extremely happy with that protocol. Sure, it would preferable to have gaspump-quick Superchargers, but I'm beginning to think that in certain parts of the world - mine - those pink unicorns are going to arrive before SpCs.
     
  16. SteveG3

    SteveG3 Active Member

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    Audobon, indeed, we have to wait and see if Tesla sees this technology as a realistic option to roll out.

    As a consumer, I see the point of your unicorn comment re SuperChargers where you live. Perhaps the nearest realistic scenario that will improve matters for you would be a 400 mile or better battery. I would be surprised if we don't see this by 2018.

    As an investor, I think the prospect of either the metal air range extender or 5-10 minute SuperCharging in the next 5 years or so are extremely huge potential drivers for Tesla's growth that are hardly discussed. Either one address the last little island of denial and spin for those who say EVs are not ready for prime time.
     

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