Nothing to charge (3 Oct, 2018)

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Nothing to charge (3 Oct, 2018)

Postby aardvark_admin » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:58 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2018/1003.shtml

With the astronomical growth in demand, thanks to EVs and a general trend towards more portable electronic devices, could we soon find ourselves facing a dramatic shortage of lithium-ion batteries?

Even worse, what is going to happen in the near future when many of the cells currently in use start to fail and must be disposed of?

The economics of recycling these batteries is dubious at best and with companies like Tesla/Panasonic reducing the amount of cobalt used, it will become even less economic to recycle these old cells. Could we end up with a giant waste mountain that signicicantly compromises the potential of EVs to improve our environment?
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Re: Nothing to charge (3 Oct, 2018)

Postby RoddyAxn » Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:43 am

Hence the USA presence in Afghanistan
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Re: Nothing to charge (3 Oct, 2018)

Postby ffirman » Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:29 am

Cobalt is a by product of nickel and copper mining and the risk at the moment is that the price of those 2 drop off, so then the amount of cobalt available also drops, and puts the price up.

To combat that Panasonic, LG Chem, STK etc have been reducing the volume of cobalt in the batteries from the original 1/3 to now down to 10% (811 NCA) cells.

For the recycling, I think the reason that hasn't happened much yet, is the current car batteries are just lasting long than most people expected. The worse ones being the Nissan Leaf batteries which lose about 4% of their health each year. But even then now 8 years later, most of the Leaf batteries are still in the cars, even thou they are at about 70% SOH, as the batteries don't fail, just provide less distance.

Once they do get swapped out for a new battery, which Blue Cars in Auckland is looking at building their own larger capacity one for the Leafs, the batteries are put on to houses for solar storage. A 70% SOH battery still holds 14KWH, which if bought new for a solar system would cost about $10k, but from an old leaf battery can be had for about $2k.

Then once they have done about another 10 years or so, and dropped down to 40% of original or 8KWH, then they can be sent for recycling.

So given that timeline, in about 10-12 years there might be a increase in available batteries for recycling, though the Leaf ones have no Cobalt in them. They are Nickel Manganese Oxide batteries, but they don't seem to have the shelve life compared to the Tesla batteries with NCA. The Tesla batteries are looking at lasting a lot longer, partly because they are larger, so don't get cycled as often, but with their active thermal management seem to have a better shelf life.

When including the second life usage of the Tesla Model 3 batteries coming out now - with 75KWH when new, they might not even be available for recycling for 40 years. 20 Years in the car, before they drop to 70%, and then another 20 years for a house, and then they are down to 30% of original or 21.5 KWH. These times are all guesses, as we just don't know yet how they will last.

The battery in the Hyundai Ioniq Electric (28KWH new), are yet to show any drop in capacity over 3 years. No one knows if that is the BMS cheating (using up extra top and bottom spare capacity to keep the capacity the same), or if the chemistry of their batteries, along with their active air cooling is having an affect.

Fran.
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Re: Nothing to charge (3 Oct, 2018)

Postby par_annoyed » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:51 am

There's a whole slew of questions in here -

OK, so it's decided that the world needs to get rid of the IC engine because of global warming. (putting aside my personal views on this crap...Oops I let that slip.....)

So, I have questions as today's piece - where do the minerals/rare earth metals etc come from (perhaps the very fact they are called "rare earth" is already a clue ?), because we are going to need
s**tloads more as we start to ramp up battery production.

But also - where does the power come from to recharge all these "environment friendly" vehicles ? How do we deliver it ? You think the existing grid is up to all that extra 'leccy ?
Just think that all that diesel and gasoline we make/import, in terms of its energy capacity, having to be replaced by the grid and generation. How much 'leccy is [equiv to] a large tankerload of dino juice ??

What about PROPER lifetime costs, including decomissioning and recycling of those dead batteries ? Isn't some of that process also polluting and poisonous at present ?

Is the overall total efficiency of EV (including delivery of power etc) actually that much better than today's modern ICE fleet (Newer stuff that is, NZ still runs some VERY old dungers...).

Anyway that's my rant for today ......

Frankly, for quite a lot of so called "new solutions" like these, I find myself unconvinced. But I'm a terrible cynic.
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Re: Nothing to charge (3 Oct, 2018)

Postby ffirman » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:15 am

I'll try to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge.

"Where do the minerals/rare earth metals come from"

The rare earth metals aren't actually that rare. What they are is spread very thinly in the crust, so the percentage of the mineral in 1 tonne of dirt is very low - hence rare. This means it's a pain and a large cost to get them, but not that we are likely to run out. The one that is used the most is to create he very high powered magnets in the AC motor. Neodymium. It is about 38mg/kg with high concentrations in China and the USA. Which is why it is mined there and not out the back. Estimate there is about 8 Million tonnes available and production is about 7000 tonnes / year - so 1000 years at current rate. Also the mineral doesn't get used up, so as the electric motor / magnet comes end of life, if it is worth it, just grab it from an old motor.

For the batteries the most common elements are, Aluminium, Nickel, Cobalt, Lithium and graphite. This is excluding the casing around it which is Aluminium, I believe. Again all of this doesn't get used up in the battery, so can in the future be pulled out if required. I don't know the process of doing that or how clean that is though.
These numbers are from Wikipedia.

Aluminium 30 million million tonnes.
Nickel 78 Million tonnes
Cobalt 7 Million tonnes
Lithium 230 billion tonnes just in sea water - though very very low concentrations. Easier amount to get at - Chile has alone 7.5 million tonnes.

"Where to get the power from to run the cars / trucks etc, and total efficiency of the EV" Answer these together as they are about the same thing.

Starting with the efficiency. From Flipthefleet.org, The battery to wheel efficiencies are;
Nissan Leaf = 6.6km/kwh
Nissan env200 = 5.5km/kwh
BMW i3 = 7.2km/kwh
Hyundai Ioniq Electric = 8km/kwh
Tesla S/X = 4.6km/kwh

1 liter of fuel contains about 11kwh of energy, so making it 10, for easy conversion, it means these cars range from 46km/l to 80km/l equivalent. My 300cc motorbike averages 26km/l and out 1.8l Toyota 7 seater averages 11km/l, as comparison.

So if the average distance traveled = 15000km/year and the average efficiency is 6km/kwh, then per car would need 2,500KWH per year per car.

There are 4 million cars in NZ at the moment so, that comes to 10 billion KWH, or 10,000 GWH.

I haven't included trucks or trains as I don't know how efficient they are going to be, as none are currently available, that I am aware of anyway.

In 2014 the yearly generation was 42,219GWH. So 4 Million cars would mean we would require 25% more generation.
If everyone plugged in every night for the average amount required - ie 2500KWH/365 Days = 6.8KWH / day / car, or 27MWH. There is an easy 8 hours each night, so that means a average requirement of 3.4MW. ie 3.4MW for 8 hours would provide 27MWH, or the 6.8KWH each night for 4 million cars.

Our current installed cabacity (2014) is 9.8MW, so would require an increase of about 35% over now.

Now for the environment effects. Taken from https://www.eecabusiness.govt.nz/tools/ ... alculator/

For each 1 l of fuel these are the CO2 outputs.
petrol = 2.43kg
diesel = 2.72kg
For each 1 KWH of output these fuels produce
Coal = 0.8kg
Natural gas = 0.22kg

Have to convert the distance on average a liter of fuel will take vs the distance a KWH of electricity will take a car.

If I use our 1.8l Toyota, we would go 11km/liter of fuel or produce 220grams of CO2/km.
For a Nissan Leaf we would go 6km/KWH and produce if coal was used, 133grams of CO2/km

From https://www.electricitymap.org/?page=ma ... wind=false
for NZ NI, the average CO2/KWH is 160g/kwh and for the SI it is 24g. So for the Leaf above, it would be 22g/km, or 4g/km in the South Island.
For Queensland Australia they burn a lot of coal for their power so their power output average is 761g/KWH, so for the Leaf would be 126g/km.

The last question is about the recycling and disposal of the cars at the end of life. Most of the car has the same contents as a petrol or diesel car. The only major differences are, the electric motor and control components, and the battery. The motor could be pulled apart and reconditioned to be reused either in another car, or for some other use.. Certain someone can think of something to do with an old 80KW 3 phase AC motor.

The batteries when they are no longer good enough for the car - ie the driving range is too low, though what that value is, is different for everyone, the batteries would first be reused at grid/solar/wind storage. Here their lack of capacity isn't as much of an issue, as the size they take up is not as important as how cheap they are.

As an example. The 2011 Leaf battery was about 20KWH usable when brand new and could take the car approx 120km (using the 6km/kwh average). Again going back to flipthefleet.org, and looking at the SOH% they range from 69% to 84%. At 69% they would now only be able to do about 83km, and hold 13.8KWH. If that isn't enough distance for the car to be usable, then 13.8KWH is a decent amount for a house on solar. As an example the powerwall 2 which is worth about $13k, only holds about 13KWH. The powerwall does include the charger / inverter as well, but the raw batteries is likely to be worth about $8-9K. This means for stationary storage the old Leaf battery is likely worth $2K. Now for house storage it could last for another 8-10 years before it is too pathetic for even house storage.

At that point the battery should be sent to be recycled to get the colbalt, nickel, etc out from it. How easy that is to do, I don't know, but it must be easier to do than trying to suck the co2 out from the atmosphere and reform it back in to a hydrocarbon chain.

I hope this long response helps to answer some of your questions.

Cheers
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Re: Nothing to charge (3 Oct, 2018)

Postby par_annoyed » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:06 am

Thanks for that - that's a big surprise to me, I thought that we (and the world) were much worse off than that across the equivalent stats.

NZ power is very clean, but I still wonder about countries where they use coal for power generation (China and USA mainly), but really useful to see your comparison
with IC vehicles.

I did know several 'rare earth' elements weren't actually all that rare, but were up with the fact they are hard to mine efficiently (as you said).

Yes if we can recycle effectively, much of the battery (and vehicle itself) is reusable.

Hmmm, I'll have to read up some more......

BUT
"At that point the battery should be sent to be recycled to get the colbalt, nickel, etc out from it. How easy that is to do, I don't know, but it must be easier to do than trying to suck the co2 out from the atmosphere and reform it back in to a hydrocarbon chain."

I think the forests have proven rather good at CO2 sequestration.....and it's [relatively] VERY easy - we just need to plant more !!
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Re: Nothing to charge (3 Oct, 2018)

Postby ffirman » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:36 am

I like the idea of planting more, as it also makes the climate more consistent vs the extremes in temperate that happens when a forest isn't around.

As for the wood - I doesn't fit down the pipe to the fuel take very well. lol

There is a company that is using some form of input power to suck CO2 from the atmosphere and hydrogen from water to then reform to create methane, and then then later longer carbon chains to get to petrol. This is also the same method that Space X has suggested to re-fuel on Mars, by creating the methane and oxygen from the water and co2 that is already there.

The Sabatier reaction is the one most of the time suggested, where it takes in hydrogen from some source, and CO2 and 400 degrees of heat in the presence of nickel. This then dumps out CH4 (Methane) and water. The energy created by mixing the hydrogen with oxygen produces then enough heat to keep the process going.

So the energy to do it efficiently will be from sourcing the hydrogen to mix with the CO2, I guess. Getting the hydrogen from water will be less than the energy that is gotten out from the hydrogen when it rejoins with the oxygen to re-create the water. Either way the energy input is likely to be quite a but higher than dumping it directly in to a battery, as an example hydrogen fuel cell cars from water -> hydrogen -> water is only about 22% vs, 80% for a battery. ie energy -> charger -> battery -> inverter. The hydrogen can is actually. Hydrogen -> water + energy -> charger -> battery -> inverter -> motor. They use a smaller Lithium battery to level out the power requirements as the fuel cell doesn't respond quickly. Good for base load, not peaks. Also doesn't help with regen, or downhill.



F.
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Re: Nothing to charge (3 Oct, 2018)

Postby phill » Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:26 pm


I think the forests have proven rather good at CO2 sequestration.....and it's [relatively] VERY easy - we just need to plant more !!


we have known this and the global warming problem for over 30 years

yet even today we are still unplanting .. probably at magnitudes more than we are planting ( tonnes of sequestered carbon per annum as the basis ... cause we burn big trees and plant small ones )
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )
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Re: Nothing to charge (3 Oct, 2018)

Postby aardvark_admin » Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:24 pm

phill wrote:yet even today we are still unplanting .. probably at magnitudes more than we are planting ( tonnes of sequestered carbon per annum as the basis ... cause we burn big trees and plant small ones )

It's even worse than that Phill... we're cutting down forests (a carbon sequester/sink) and replacing them with dairy farms -- a massive producer of potent greenhouse gasses such as methane.

But hey, if the NZ Tourist department calls us "100% pure" and "clean, green" it must be true... right??? :-/
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Re: Nothing to charge (3 Oct, 2018)

Postby phill » Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:40 pm

aardvark_admin wrote:

But hey, if the NZ Tourist department calls us "100% pure" and "clean, green" it must be true... right??? :-/


yehhhh NA!

not that the dairy is good
but the biggest problems are magnitudes higher than those
Indonesian palm oil and Amazonian beef
illegal rain forest ( predominantly ) logging is also right up there

we really are such a greedy breed of cockroaches
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )
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