Texas Startup Says It Has Batteries Beat

Climate Change / Science

New batteries coming?

“An Austin-based startup called EEStor promised ‘technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries,’ meaning a motorist could plug in a car for five minutes and drive 500 miles roundtrip between Dallas and Houston without gasoline.

By contrast, some plug-in hybrids on the horizon would require motorists to charge their cars in a wall outlet overnight and promise only 50 miles of gasoline-free commute. And the popular hybrids on the road today still depend heavily on fossil fuels.

‘It’s a paradigm shift,’ said Ian Clifford, chief executive of Toronto-based ZENN Motor Co., which has licensed EEStor’s invention. ‘The Achilles’ heel to the electric car industry has been energy storage. By all rights, this would make internal combustion engines unnecessary.’

Clifford’s company bought rights to EEStor’s technology in August 2005 and expects EEStor to start shipping the battery replacement later this year for use in ZENN Motor’s short-range, low-speed vehicles.

The technology also could help invigorate the renewable-energy sector by providing efficient, lightning-fast storage for solar power, or, on a small scale, a flash-charge for cell phones and laptops.

Skeptics, though, fear the claims stretch the bounds of existing technology to the point of alchemy. “

The article goes on to explain why there is scepticism and why, if the product delivers as promised, this is going to be a very big deal.

Read the rest: Texas Startup Says It Has Batteries Beat

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  1. Alice MacArthur says

    This would be great if true. It would also simplify household tasks if energy could be stored instead of having to put of with electric cords, assuming the battery would not be terribly bulky.
    Just hope it isn’t the “cold fusion” of electrical storage!

  2. Paul Martin says

    I saw one back of the envelope calculation today which made this look pretty dubious. They are apparently talking about voltages on the ultra capacitor which are 10x the highest voltages used today. (The DC bus of the Prius is roughly 300 V. How would you like to have 3kV under the hood?) The 5 minute charge time in particular would require levels of either current or voltage which are clearly impractical.
    I remember one college professor telling me why gasoline engines were likely to be around a long time; the energy content per pound of a gallon of gas is very high, and that is a difficult target for a battery to meet. Perhaps we are all wrong. Perhaps these guys are on to something. I hope so, but I wouldn’t bet on it. My money is on more incremental approaches (like hybrids) at least for the near future.

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