What comes to your psyche when we talk about the battery in your car? Undoubtedly the preservation and the dilemma created in the past, a number of new brands and filthy bunch of wires with an all greased-up heavy box under the hood. Maybe you've gone through the same which I've been.
The scenario is different as the newly developed Lithium-ion batteries are ready to shake the aged folklore of the secondary batteries. With the instigation of plug-in hybrids like Tesla Roadster and the Lightning GT, the Li-ion batteries are growing in popularity.
The new generation batteries are safer, cleaner and far more powerful in order to meet the challenging necessities of electric cars. Firefly Energy, an Illinois based Startup Company which is an offshoot of Caterpillar Inc., is personifying the customary lead-acid batteries which hasn't changed much since 1890 to power the electric cars.
Firefly Energy has been given a US patent for a new carbon-foam lead-acid battery technology. It contends it can deliver its lead-acid battery performance at about one-fifth cost, with significantly reduced weight in contrast to traditional lead-acid batteries.
The Firefly battery replaces the typical lead plates in a lead-acid battery with a lightweight carbon or graphite foam to which the chemically active material, in the form of a paste or slurry, has been applied. The use of the foam structure increases the interface between the electrodes and the active chemistry; the carbon material resists corrosion and sulfation build-up, reducing weight and delivering an awesome jump in specific power, energy and cycle life.
Firefly is working upon eliminating the crystals that can build up inside lead-acid batteries. Eventually, these crystals reduce the amount electricity a battery can hold. It's been a major cause electric and hybrid automakers have favored Li-ion batteries, even though lead acid is less expensive.
Into the bargain, Firefly is looking at snowmobiles and lawn mowers, basically anything that sits for long periods without being used. Lack of use is really hard on lead-acid batteries and shortens their life radically because of the formation of those crystals. It is also eying on other markets such as data centers, which use lead-acid batteries in backup power systems. The focus is on the truck manufacturers too. They pack large banks of batteries into the cabs of semis to provide power for drivers when they're not on the road.
A major limitation to lead-acid battery effectiveness is the lack of interface area between the active chemistry and the electrodes. Although the chemistry is theoretically proficient of delivering approximately 170 Watt Hours per Kilogram (Whr/kg), lead-acid batteries only average around 30 Whr/kg.
Until now, attaining a higher surface area within a given lead-acid battery required the addition of extra thinner lead electrodes. Nonetheless, lead electrodes corrode, so increasing surface area by putting thinner lead electrodes in the battery increases corrosion and decreases battery life. Removing the corrosive heavy lead grids and replacing them with graphite foam tackles both the issues. The design of the Firefly battery removes one-half to two-thirds of the lead out of the battery.
Stating it as a 'potentially game-changing technology' Don Hillebrand, director of the Center for Transportation Research at Argonne National Laboratory, said that the ultimate medium for electric vehicles' batteries may well be lithium ion, the same material used today in batteries for laptop computers.
Lithium-ion batteries can easily burst, ignite, or explode when uncovered to high temperatures. They should not be stored in a car during hot weather. Never open a Li-ion battery's casing as Li-ion batteries contain safety devices that protect the cells inside from abuse. If damaged, these can cause the battery to catch fire or explode.
"In their charged state, lithium-ion batteries are intrinsically unstable," says Bart Riley, the CTO of A123 Systems, a company that is using nanotech research to create a new and safer version of lithium-ion batteries.
"If they get damaged, or there's a manufacturing defect, as was the case with the Sony batteries last year, there can be a spontaneous internal short, and you've got an explosion or fire," Riley says.
It all boils down to a scenario where Firefly would have to take care of all the above mentioned undoings' of a Li-ion battery. As of know we can appreciate the efforts of this manufacturer to give the world a better technology for the world will surely benefit from it and as they say science is ever evolving , we might soon talk about a better invention, what say !