IBM has a long history of putting its brainpower behind projects of significant societal importance.
Apparently they have chosen to focus a new endeavor on the electric car.
The so-called “Battery 500” project is staffed by a consortium of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers, and the inaugural meeting kicked off last week in California.
IBM believes that the current target range of electric cars from 40 to 100 miles is too limiting and the focus of the group is to develop a 500 mile range practical electric car battery.
“Batteries technology has improved, but is still far inferior to gasoline in terms of how much energy they hold,” said Spike Narayan, an IBM scientist. “The energy density—which is the amount of energy a lithium-ion battery stores per unit weight—is really not enough to produce a family-sized sedan with a 300- to 500-mile range.”
The group has particularly focused on the lithium-air battery as the best option. The lithium-air battery isn’t sealed and uses atmospheric oxygen as the cathode, which flows into the cell as needed. By coupling this chemistry with IBM’s nanoscale manufacturing technologies it is projected that batteries with 10 times the energy density of today’s lithium-ion cells could be produced.
Lithium-air cells have already been demonstrated at the laboratory level, and IBM believes it will take about two years to determine if they can in fact mass produce a 500 mile battery of reasonable size and weight.
Cost may remain an issue as well as fast charging availability; it would take days to recharge a 500 mile battery at household current. Furthermore, if most people drive less than 40 miles per day, carrying around all that range may prove unnecessary.
All of this demonstrates the incredibly exciting flux of ideas and opportunities that the transformation of transportation technology is bringing with it.
Source (Smarter Technology)
This entry was posted on Sunday, October 4th, 2009 at 7:45 am and is filed under Battery, Research. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.