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Liquid Batteries

is the future of electric cars.
  (+2, -1)
(+2, -1)
  [vote for,

Hi Everyone. I have this idea about electric cars that. It could help to make them practical much sooner then we all expect. There are some big problems about electric cars, which I think my idea solves. Lets address them and try to solve... 1. Electric cars cost too much to produce and almost 80% present is cost of the batteries. 2. They take too much time to recharge. Somewhere from 2 to 12 hours. 3. Absence of infrastructure to refuel, and service those cars. 4. Most importantly absence of business interest from oil giants and automobile industry in general. Oil industry considers electric cars mortal enemy that threatens their own existence. 5. Automobile industry has solid business strategy to make money and consider electric cars just a headache they have to live with. They spent years to discover inexpensive battery with great characteristics d that will make chip electric cars practical and is not going to happen in near future!

Above problems makes electric cars non practical, somewhat unsafe and mass production outright risky business. My idea is called Liquid Batteries. Imagine tiny batteries that float in liquid. I am talking macro like size of wristwatch batteries. They are encapsulated in balls of some lightweight material with electrodes on both sides. So now you know what I mean by liquid battery. Now picture this. You are driving latest electric car, which uses best Liquid batteries available (very expensive by them self). You are pulling to a gas station (lets call it gas station at this time). What are you doing? Use the hose for liquid Batteries not one for gas. How does it work? Well it sucks out your discharged batteries and fills your tank with freshly charged ones and all that under 10 minutes. I believe your story. It was good one and fully realistic. Can we do it today? It is so simple as using words Liquid and Batteries together. How does this solve problems above. 1.You do not own batteries and do not buy them with the car. Utility company (gas station in our story) owns them. When you refuel you pay for the energy and your discharged batteries are charged at their slow pace in gas station for next consumers. 2. Refueling your car takes about 10 minuets. That is three-step process 2.1. Empty tank. 2.2. Fill tank. 2.3. Compress it to make interconnects between batteries using magnets or batteries with shifted gravity center. 3. Infrastructure for electric cars can appear in less then a year. All you need to do is outfit existing gas stations with pumps and charging stations for liquid batteries. 4. Oil giants will shift their business from OIL production into mach more profitable liquid battery production and distribution through existing network of gas stations. They will own all of liquid battery stock and save tons of money by producing long lasting liquid batteries. 5. Automobile industry will be happy to jump into new business of making electric cars. After all regular cars would be much expensive to produce then electric cars if batteries ware free (consumer will buy them from oil company who owns them).

I posted this idea on nanotech news group years ago with not mach of response. Hope will have more audience/discussions on this web site.

tony_912, Apr 15 2003

Electric Car https://web.archive...ey/photos/progress/
A car that can reach 300km per hour and can recharge in under an hour. Thunder Birds are go. Look down the page for more info. [sufc, Oct 04 2004]

Deep Cycle Battery Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Section 11 http://jgdarden.com...eryfaq/carfaq11.htm
Batteries work best under minimal discharge/recharge [:-), Oct 04 2004]

Battery replacement/electricity cost per mile http://www.commutercars.com/specs.html
Scroll down to "Cost per Mile" (Then check out the rest of the site if you haven't heard of this car before.) [scad mientist, Oct 04 2004]


       Hello Tony. Welcome to Half Bakery. How big would the containers have to be to hold your liquid batteries?
sufc, Apr 15 2003

       Containers to hold the batteries should be as big as best (most expensive) battery technology available today. Remember that containers are flooded only during refilling process and completely drained before the car leaves “gas” station.
tony_912, Apr 15 2003

       Hi UnaBubba,   

       Battery containers does not contain any liquid. Visualize thousands of small marbles packed in wooden box, each marbel being a battery and the wooden box being the container. And do not worry about the string of batteries. It is ok to have string of batteries as long as internal resistance is equal and contacts can carry more current then nominal. BTW my word count is 627 and you almost got me worried.
tony_912, Apr 15 2003

       So let me get this clear in my head. A car pulls up to a filling station. A liquid containing lots of small batteries is poured into a container. The liquid is then drained off leaving lots of small batteries to power the car. How many batteries would it take to move a Lexus 100km without stopping. Why the need for liquid? Just put the batteries in a hopper and let them pour down a tube.
sufc, Apr 15 2003

       Hi sufc,   

       The technology exist today that can make a Lexus sized car to travel 200 miles on single charge and it is reinvented every so often by car companies. So it is old news. The liquid plays huge role. It allows using existing infrastructure of gas stations, transportation and maybe storage with minimal modifications to rapidly deploy electric cars. Liked your article.
tony_912, Apr 15 2003

       When you buy a car you don't pay for the gas. You pay for the gas only when you use it. With big battery you are paying for it as soon as you buy the car. You own the battery. And car companies don't want to sell you electric cars because they are mach expensive (small profit margin) to produce. As soon as you remove the burden of inventing/selling you a battery with every car from car company they will jump opportunity to produce affordable electric cars.
tony_912, Apr 15 2003

       Ok, tony, I think I grasp the idea, but would this "refuelling" step be mandatory or voluntary? I mean, there are probably thousands of potential electric car owners out there who would say "Give me the means to recharge these batteries at my home because I only travel short distances when I drive." These will be the most difficult people to convince because they have been told for decades that they will be able to simply plug in their electric cars while they are at home. In other words, can they buy one set of liquid batteries and self-charge them?   

       With regards to the actual batteries (cells), I like the marbles analogy and the use of the liquid for transportation and delivery only, but I think you need a better explanation of how the cells actually work, so here's how I see it: The cells, or marbles in your example, are actually little squishy sacs with a power cell inside, and are normally round, meaning there is no electrical contact being made. This is what allows for their suspension in liquid. Each cell's negative terminal is slightly heavier than the positive, so when in suspension they all have the same potential polarity. Then, when in the vehicle's "energy bay" (gas tank) or in the "energy station" (gas station) the cells (marbles) are squished, or placed under compression, which serves a twofold purpose. First, it gets all the liquid out and second, all the negative terminals make contact at the bottom and all the positive terminals make contact at the top to allow for discharge to power the car or recharge to re-energize the cells. Does that capture the idea correctly?
Canuck, Apr 15 2003

       Well it makes much more sense to me.
sufc, Apr 15 2003

       Yup - and what happens to batteries after they're removed from car? Would they have a more difficult time being removed after they've been sitting unused for X period of time? There's also the problem of (de)regulation of greedy power suppliers via sweetheart deals with governers 'n stuff. But I like the idea, so... neutral charge for now.
thumbwax, Apr 15 2003

       Welcome to the Halfbakery. Keep 'em coming.
FloridaManatee, Apr 15 2003

       I hear that you can get giant peaches that run on sea-gulls, would one of those suit you UnaBubba?
Loris, Apr 15 2003

       "When you buy a car you don't pay for the gas."
Sure you do.

       "You pay for the gas only when you use it. With big battery you are paying for it as soon as you buy the car. You own the battery."
Just like you own the gas tank in your car. The battery is not what makes the car go. Electricity is what makes the car go. In going, the car consumes electricity (or gas).

       Making the replacement of the fuel more complex makes replacing the fuel more expensive, not less expensive. Cars might be cheaper if they didn't come with a gas tank, but having to replace the tank every time you refueled would be more expensive in the long run.
phoenix, Apr 15 2003

       The problem I see with this is that because batteries are expensive, you want to take good care of them.   

       Batteries last longer if they are only shallowly discharged. [link]   

       However, a consumer would want to get the maximum amount of power out of the batteries (as they paid for them, and they will be getting new ones next time they "fuel up".   

       Hybrid car batteries last 3-5 years because they are only discharged to a maximum of 50% (or thereabouts) and are recharged whenever possible....   

       As for the concept of liquid batteries for a transport mechanism...
I have a feeling the pumps would have to be modified (as they are designed to move a fluid *without* lumps in it)
There would still have to be a way to recharge the batteries, so other modifications would have to be made to the fuel station...
It is true that batteries are quite heavy, but I think it would be more effective and cheaper to just install a block and tackle, and drop the battery into the trunk compartment....
:-), Apr 15 2003

       [Phoenix] The cost of the batteries is often factored in to the cost of "fuel" for electric cars. This is done, because unlike a gas tank, batteries will usually not last as long as the car, depending on the type of battery. Generally, battery replacement is a much larger cost per mile than the electricity, but the two combined can be less than the cost of gas if you don't use $cutting edge$ battery technologies like the major car manufacturers have done. Commuter Cars has a nice analysis of the battery cost per mile (see link).   

       In general, I'd say this is an inovative idea +, but I don't think it could be implemented in such a way that it would be better or cheaper than other alternatives.
scad mientist, Apr 15 2003

       "The cost of the batteries is often factored in to the cost of "fuel" for electric cars."
Pah! That's just an accounting game.

       The idea is to reduce the cost of electric vehicles by replacing ownership of the fuel storage medium. That won't work because it won't make the batteries last any longer, and whatever the cost of replacing them will be passed on to the consumer regardless. Throwing in an infrastructure to replace batteries everytime they need recharging only adds to the cost the consumer pays - contrary to the goal of the idea.   

       Your Jedi mind tricks won't work on me.
phoenix, Apr 15 2003

       I think that the batteries should have one terminal be magnetic. Once they flow into the car, the magnetic side adheres to the magnetic receptor within. Once all batteries have adhered, a small amount of electrolyte is added to the liquid, making it conductive. This serves to connect the negative terminals of the batteries, forming the circuit. This fluid will then help carry the spent batteries back out at the station.   

       I like it because it seeks to address practical considerations in a move away from internal combustion englines. Bread.
bungston, Apr 15 2003

       Grate explanation Canuck, The refueling step is more of a convenience then necessity. If people decide to charge their cars at home they can. They still don’t own those batteries and they must buy the charger from battery “Company” (Today’s oil giants). Of course the charger should be state of the art and only loaned to users. Those who prefer ownership of chargers/batteries will need to pay premium price for premium equipment. And all this money is spent on improving environment. Imagine if electric cars dominated the roads, how peachy the future will look like. Lots of time environmentally conscious people are hassled into buying low quality batteries, solar panels with low efficiency etc that hardly benefit anyone or improve environment. Worst of all once they buy it then they are stuck with it for years to come and after equipment gets old it becomes waste dump that owner needs to clean/recycle. When they purchase from “Company” they are assured of lifetime performance and improvements of their product while the government regulations and business interests of the “Company” will assure premium quality product. They can just refill old battery banks on demand when they see battery quality diminish. Environmentalist (everyone) can use liquid batteries to power all electronics and live off the grid by charging their batteries or refilling then when needed like during winter months.
tony_912, Apr 16 2003

       [Phoenix]Ownership of anything comes with responsibilities. Do you like to own a nuclear power plant and be held responsible for it’s recycling? While ownership of batteries is lot less toxic it still expensive to support. It is much more complicated then accounting scheme. By giving up the ownership of batteries we gain: 1. We pay only for energy when charging/refilling our cars at “energy station”. This means we pay about ten times less then gas cost. So if I am paying $2 per gallon I should expect to pay about 20c for liquid battery refill. 2. We do not worry about “upgrading” or replacing old battery bank. 3. Company that owns the batteries is regulated by lows and regulation and it is highly motivated in producing great product that lasts long and 100% recyclable. 4. Electric cars could become reality and make internal combustion engine a painful memory until environment is cleaned up.
tony_912, Apr 16 2003

       // So if I am paying $2 per gallon I should expect to pay about 20c for liquid battery refill. //   

       I confess that I have a hard time 'getting' this idea. Seems totally unworkable and impractical to me. But I gotta ask you how you arrived at that 20 cents price.
waugsqueke, Apr 16 2003

       Some common answers to questions that seem to be asked more the once. 1. Why not one big battery instead of many small ones? 1.1. We all have seen odd variety of battery packs, sizes and shapes. What if we buy shell of battery and refill it/recharge when needed. Once battery outlived its usefulness we can return the contents and get the new one. Do we need the contents of battery when they are discharged? Of course not and if we give out ownership of battery content to some company everyone will benefit. The company in question will be responsible for recycling, disposal and charging of those batteries. We can be sure that they will do their best to produce best batteries in the world and recycle them efficiently and 100%. 1.2. Idea of using one big battery in electric car is older then internal combustion engine and such electric car was built earlier then regular cars. The idea never took off. Don’t take my word for it but just count number of electric cars when you in large parking lot. Engineers ware working on improving batteries for more then a century without any luck (experimental marbles don’t count). Lets assume that something might be wrong with Idea of one big battery and close this question. 1.3. See above. 2. How do we charge batteries? Not my problem. Ask the company that owns them and if they don’t do a good job force them to improve via government regulations or legal channels.
tony_912, Apr 16 2003

       [waugsqueke] I think you are asking if electric cars are more efficient or what the price of gasoline will be when we have millions of electric cars. In either case the answer is self explanatory. And I admit that I have too much trust in spell checkers and English is not my native language.
tony_912, Apr 16 2003

thumbwax, Apr 16 2003

       // [waungsquick] I think you are asking if electric cars are more efficient or what the price of gasoline will be when we have millions of electric cars. //   

       "waungsquick"? Holy cow. I wish I was still keeping a list of misspells.   

       Anyway, no, you are wrong about what I am asking. You said, 'I should expect to pay about 20c for liquid battery refill." I am asking you how you arrived at that number. What is your basis for saying 20c?
waugsqueke, Apr 16 2003

bristolz, Apr 16 2003

       [waugsqueke] I am trying to keep discussion on less technical grounds. So let me explain in non technical terms. The 20 cents analogy above is just a way that I use to express my belief that electric cars are ten times better then cars with internal combustion engines. If you are still not convinced try to factor in environmental hazards and cost of healthcare and child asthma into your perfect $2 a gallon gas.
tony_912, Apr 16 2003

       It's not a matter of convincing me. I was just curious. You said 20 cents, I thought, where'd he get that? I now see that you actually mean "significantly less expensive than current fuel costs", and not actually 20 cents. So you don't really know how much this would cost, then.   

       I agree with you that electric cars are better for the environment than current methods. But I don't think you can just chuck a number out there without some cause to back it up. "This is ten times better" isn't really valid. There's a lot of expense involved here, developing the technology and science and refitting filling stations, etc. (none of which I am confident will work as you say, but whatever). That's gonna cost large dollars. Nobody would be interested in doing this if they're only going to recoup 20c a fill. Forget it - they're making more money on gas. This is why I asked you about that number.   

       btw... are you not seeing my name correctly on your screen or something? The way you spell it is not even friggin' close. There is no 'n', 'i' or 'c' in it, for starters. Plus I gotta couple of 'e's.
waugsqueke, Apr 16 2003

       We spent 70 Billion on war for oil and you are worried about research costs to diminish oil dependency? Somebody once said that our knowledge compared to unknown is like a drop of water compared with ocean. I respect your opinion but don’t agree with you.
tony_912, Apr 16 2003

       Electricity isn't necessarily better for the environment. You can't just look at the end pollution. Sure, electricity doesn't give out CO2 or CO or NOx or any of those other toxic exhaust fumes, but you have to look at the energy involved in creating the fuel in the first place. Let's assume 10% energy efficiency per conversion.   

       To get gasoline, you dig it up, refine it, and combust it in your engine. The only energy conversion involved is combustion, so you end up with 10% efficiency.   

       To get batteries, you burn coal (energy conversion, plus CO2 emissions), then heat water to steam (conversion), which turns a spinner (conversion), which creates electricity (conversion), which gets put into batteries (conversion). Five energy conversions, 0.001% efficiency.   

       Mass battery use means mass coal burning. Any clean air benefits get canceled out by the 99.999% waste of energy in getting there.
chibimagic, Apr 16 2003

       BINGO! Oops, sorry Pastor.
thumbwax, Apr 16 2003

       [chibimagic] There are other ways of making eleccy rather than digging holes and burning stuff.   

       Though an ugly great wind turbine does make the landscape look like the teletubbies home (sudden questing thought... are our pre-school children being brainwashed.)
JellyHead, Apr 16 2003

       [chibimagic] \\To get gasoline, you dig it up, refine it, and combust it in your engine. The only energy conversion involved is combustion, so you end up with 10% efficiency.\\ There is energy spent in refining and converting chemical energy of gasoline to mechanical motion of car. So, to get gasoline, you (1)dig it up, refine it, transport it and then to get your car moving convert to (2 combust) mechanical energy , and then convert it to tire rotation(3 transmission). Assuming 10% efficiency we end up with 0.001% overall. With batteries (using coal), (1)you convert it to electricity, (2)charge batteries(3)convert electrical to mechanical energy. Assuming 10% efficiency we end up with 0.001% overall. So we get same efficiency in this simplified case. When you using oil production chain you are polluting during digging, transporting, refining, storing and combustion. Also consider amount of mineral oil used to make all this machinery work. Assuming 10 units of pollution per step you generate 50 units of pollutant. When you use electricity production chain you are polluting only when producing energy at coal power plant. Assuming 10 units of pollution per step you generate 10 units of pollutant. That’s 5 times less or oil is 500% more polluting. As for your choice of coal it is very realistic but my favorite method of power generation is SPS (solar power satellites). As I remember it will cost 40 billion to put one up and it will generate equivalent energy of ten nuclear power plants.
tony_912, Apr 16 2003

       Solar power sateliites?. I've not heard of these. It would have to have a long extension cord to reach.
I still like the idea of electric cars.The link I put up the other day is a car at the top end of research in this area and I think that in time as batterys improve, recharging times inprove and it is seen as a more viable and economical the more people will want to have an electric car.
This idea of pulling up to an old gas station and refilling from out of a pump new batteries seems to me to pander to peoples idea that to get more fuel you have to go to a place that sells it. Electric cars are not going to replace gas/petrol cars anytime soon. The price in the UK is over £4,$5.50 ish per gallon and yet we have more and more cars on the road. The only evidence we see on a daily basis of electric autos is milk carts and golf buggys. I know there's a lot of other stuff going on in the world of alternative energies for cars/bikes but I cannot see this one working. Still I like your idea and the way you have argued it.
sufc, Apr 16 2003

       [sufc]Idea of SPS is old but still valid today. It is simply a satellite with huge solar panel array and transmitting antenna at geosynchronous orbit. The power generated from solar panels is transmitted using microwave. On earth an array of rectennas(rectifying antennas) convert power into usable form. Idea is simple, elegant and does not require much technology. It is more then ever viable since we have 37% efficient cells and advances in electrical engineering. The idea originally considered valid when solar panels were about 5% efficient. Here are the links http://spacesolarpower.nasa.gov/ http://space.bsdi.com/p.solar.html http://www.ssi.org/energy.html
tony_912, Apr 17 2003

       [toejam]good list of arguments and more reason to avoid ownership of batteries. Technology to implement liquid batteries is out there today and it will take a good business plan/strategy to make it reality. It is going to be expensive and will take lots of creative thinking but it is doable. The burden of carrying this idea or alternatives should lie on Oil industry, other polluters and their customers (everyone). I think everyone will agree that we are destroying our environment (future) at accelerated rate. So we need a solution to our ever-growing problems with environment, solution that relies on today’s technology and not just another pipe dream.
tony_912, Apr 17 2003

       Sorry dag: I am very sensitive when someone points to my spelling mistakes. I always joke about my spelling and had some major misspellings but hate when people take it serious. My favorite one is when I thanked my bosses wife for message by sending an email. Later she confronted me with, while laughing her hart out, and asked “When did you get a massage from me?”. Damn spell checkers!
tony_912, Apr 17 2003

       [dag] if your annotation was only pointing out the spelling error I would say that [tony_912] was well within his rights to delete it after making the correction.
bristolz, Apr 17 2003

       Now I'm laughing my hart out.
AO, Apr 17 2003

       Many things said regarding efficiency, cost, etc. Basically what I'll say is, yes, infrastructure would need to be changed somewhat, and it seems unlikely. But it sounds pretty good, so +.   

       One modification I'd suggest: make both terminals of the batteries magnetic (+ north, - south), and make the 'gas' tank a snaking tube just big enough for batteries to go in single-file.
galukalock, Apr 17 2003

       I think this is the last posting to this website or at least until my spelling improves, probably never. It seems that “critics” are obsessed with challenging my spelling instead of ideas. I had to delete “Last days of spam” idea to prevent waste of time it creates for users that might benefit from it, since only discussion it generated was centered on spelling. Sorry folks, but I am out of here.
tony_912, Apr 21 2003

       I'm sorry.
bristolz, Apr 21 2003

       Electricity is easier to move than liquids, and there are parts of the country with charging facilities, but 240V x 30A is pretty slow - 480V x 400A is available to many industries, and it would be possible to impliment this IF the government was pushing it. The closest to a liquid battery is Vanadium Redox, which was developed in Australia (or was it New Zealand) and relies on the multiple valance states of Vanadium, using a pump to maintain high current output, or no pump at lower levels.
cowtown, May 03 2003

       [toejam][bristolz][UnaBubba]Thanks for good words and I am sorry for acting up on few misspelling comments. English is my third language and I will try to be less sensitive until my spelling improves or better yet until I can afford a secretary.   

       [cowtown] It was invented in Australia as I remember. One problem with those batteries is low energy to weight ratio which makes them unfit for electric cars. It is very promising technology and mainly used in large power storage stations (1MW and up) to be supplied electricity at peak hours.
tony_912, May 12 2003

       the energy density of regular batteries is already lower than a tank of gas. i don't think it will help to make it even lower by adding a lot of liquid.
BPhilpotts, Dec 29 2006

       Or by making the batteries smaller. Volume is the cube of linear size, and surface area is proportional to the square. So by making lots and lots of small batteries instead of a few large ones, you are increasing the proportion of dead weight in the casings, and lowering the proportion of useable chemical. If you take it down to watch battery scale, you end up with a huge proportion of casing to paste, and many many kg of dead weight.   

       Why not use one large battery and pump out the discharged electrolyte, replacing it with charged? Same advantages of using existing pumping infrastructure (barring any corrosive effect of putting concentrated charged acids through metal/plastic tanks, pumps, and hoses), without the complexity, dead weight, and manufacturing costs of billions of little batteries.   

       Don't give up though. This is what we do here. It's not attack, we're looking for the good bits in your idea and working out ways to improve the not-so-good bits. This is the -half-bakery, not the fullbakery. Let your idea as posted, and other people's comments, be the starting point of your thinking, not the end point.   

       There's definitely a good halfbaked idea or two in here, and it's funny the reception different ideas get as regards practicality, cost, etc.   

       Have an encouraging bun, and keep at it.
BunsenHoneydew, Dec 30 2006


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