Electric cars: What will happen to all the dead batteries?

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by GHT, Apr 28, 2021.

  1. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Call Me a Cab

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  2. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    How about a train ride that's steam hauled with a very interesting mode of internal combustion for company?

    MG's & Steam Trains..jpg
     
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  3. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    Until the much dreamed about flux capacitor is invented, it's just simple physics that petroleum sources give us the most energy bang for the amount used. Until something else comes along, it's still our best bet, and we are much farther ahead in the pollution prevention game than we are given credit for. Over the last several decades, we have made great engineering strides in fuel efficiency, cleaner burning engines, and cleaner burning fuels. It's unfortunate we don't give ourselves credit for that, instead focusing on the utopianism of the perfectly clean, zero pollution energy source.

    Another factor is just the simple availability of materials to supply the energy needs of the world. The materials needed to produce the batteries to power electric vehicles are just not there. The amount of materials that make up the modern battery, such as lithium, cobalt, and other, less available rare earth elements plainly aren't available for the purpose proposed. And the idea of charging the batteries with intermittently available and unreliable power sources such as wind and solar is an exercise in futility.

    At some point, you have to come face to face with physics, and physics will stop us short.
     
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  4. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    There's an astute and sensible argument. It's obvious to all that one day the fossil fuels will all be used, but there is still plenty to give us time to replace them. Some years ago I watched a fascinating program on TV about the subterranean heat below the earth's crust. One of the scientists interviewed said that if they had the know how to tap into something like Mount Etna's volatility, they could produce enough electricity to power all of Italy and more besides.

    Another valid point raised is that we don't give ourselves enough credit for the engineering strides achieved so far. That is so true, most heavy vehicles as well as some cars, burn diesel. Diesel now has a bad press, or at least in our political circles. Maybe denouncing diesel is a vote winner, but have you heard of AdBlue?

    AdBlue is the trade name for a type of diesel exhaust fluid. It's a mixture of urea and de-ionised water that's stored in a separate tank from the vehicle's fuel. When the engine is running, tiny amounts of AdBlue are squirted onto the exhaust gas produced, turning the NOx into nitrogen and water. The public don't get to hear of such advances in pollution control, or if they do they choose to ignore it, or in today's: "Make it up as you go along," society, denounce it as yet another conspiracy theory.
     
  5. vitanola

    vitanola I'll Lock Up

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    C03596A6-6F69-47EA-9BD8-0602567E4C03.jpeg
    “Homes with 120 volt have to be retrofitted”

    Yes, there are a very few homes left in the country with 120 volt electric service, but their numbers are negligible. At the turn of the last century the standard residential electric service in the United States was a 30 Amp 120 volt service drop with two or three circuits for lighting and the odd convenience outlet. As the ‘Twenties approached, and electric appliances became more common, some homes were wired with 240volt 60 Amp services. The 1924 edition of the National Electrical Code specified that the smallest residential electrical service allowed in new work would be 60amp 240 volt. This allowed for the use of new appliances such as electric ranges and water heaters, and the then-new high wattage indirect lighting. In the 1958 version of the code the minimum service requirements were raised to 100 amps at 240 volts. In the 1970s 150 amp services became standard, and by the 1980s 200 amp services were usual. Are you honestly concerned about the vanishingly small number of homes in the country which have inadequate century old electric services, or were you just repeating a talking point which you had heard?

    it is true that a 240 volt 30 amp outlet is necessary, but he installation of one of these is a trivial matter.


    Now, a residence with a 1925 electric service will not have sufficient capacity to quick charge an electric vehicle, but it will be able to slow charge one, to top off the tank, as it were. More modern homes will have adequate electric capacity for overnight quick charging. The advantage of electric cars from a grid management standpoint is that they even out the load on the grid, generally drawing their power overnight when demand is at its lowest. Electric cars are not the disaster that their detractors claim, neither are they the panacea which their supporters suggest. They are an interesting technology which has rapidly advanced in recent years which is suited to solve certain thorny problems, and which will create or exacerbate others, as do all new technologies. This does not mean that we should avoid adopting them.

    A close friend of mine owns a Tesla. It is truly a delightful car to drive. I myself would someday like an to own an electric; a Waverly, Baker, Rausch & Lang or a Milburn. Until then I’ll happily drive the good old Chrysler.
     

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    Last edited: May 6, 2021
  6. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    I often forget you were in the trucking industry - some very real-world experience there, in dealing with the management and logistics of a fleet of vehicles. My real-world experience with electric cars is managing a project to convert a battery-powered aircraft tow vehicle to fuel cell for the USAF as a test case.

    I think (hope) that other energy sources will eventually be tapped by those Super Geniuses with the will and wherewithal to solve these problems. Unfortunately, alot of research follows the money, and wind and solar are where the research grants and subsidies for production are right now. Maybe not in our lifetimes, but somebody will have that Eureka moment where a real breakthrough is achieved.

    I'm currently reading an historical account of Marconi's development of the wireless. It's been illuminating to read about his development of the technology, the economics of pushing it out to the masses among some cutthroat competition, and the involvement of several governments in getting permissions, cooperation, and support for it.

    Currently awaiting from Amazon (literally, it's out for delivery as I type this), "The Knowledge Machine: How Irrationality Created Modern Science." The philospphy of science has always interested me (I minored in philosophy; almost had enough credits for a double-major). This should be a good read.

    As someone who still has remnants of knob-and-tube in their house, I hear ya. I could still use an upgrade. Maintaining a frame house built in 1896 can be an exercise in chasing your tail, however. Or at least it can seem that way.

    I think electric cars, especialy with the advancements made by Musk and his contemporaries, is an exciting development. But I still maintain it can only be one tool in our toolbox. We simply don't have the energy capacity to provide for a complete turnover as some advocate, and I also maintain that chasing that dragon is a fool's errand.

    Currently, the "greenest" energy source we have is nuclear. But it's never really received a fair shake from a PR perspective, and there are quite a few misconceptions about it.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
  7. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec One Too Many

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    Sydney to Perth on the Indian Pacific was fascinating. I'd done a bit of train travel prior but that was the longest single ride. I bought a First Class ticket with my high value (at the time) US dollars but enjoyed the amenities in Second better. First was too snooty ... even in Australia!

    The requirements that internal combustion engines meet are extraordinary if you think of power, range, reliability, temperatures they can operate in, amount of vibration they can take, etc. Electric motors are even better but the batteries are not ... yet. Also the thing most people look right past is that all electricity has to be generated somewhere and somehow and a lot of it still comes from fossil fuels. I think we had an exec from Toyota and Elon Musk both comment recently on our power generation not being anywhere near enough to manage a shift to all electric vehicles.

    I've had several AdBlue vehicles and while they do run very clean they have, so far, completely circumvented the original benefits of diesel. Diesel, in my opinion, is best when it is primitive technology: slow, super reliable and very flexible in the quality of fuel used. All that tends to mean they are dirty ... except that they use very little fuel. Modern AdBlue engines (and this is not just because of the AdBlue aspect) are tweeky, high tech, computer dependent, exotic, power plants. They miss the original point with diesel ... as long as the engine seals tight it will run. These new engines are very powerful but stupidly complicated. Diesel probably hit it's engineering peak of trade offs with the 1st gen Cummins B, the VW PD, the 5 cylinder Mercedes turbo, and the Land Rover 300 ... basically in the 1990s. Since then it's been down hill. Petrol engines have gotten better, diesels have forgotten their mission. It makes me sad that we've lost the plot ... like assuming that all future consumers live in huge modern cities.
     
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  8. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec One Too Many

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    AWESOME! I have a lot more hope for fuel cells than I do with electrics. At the moment F?C cars take a beating from pure electrics because of the lack of super acceleration aspect, but hopefully not forever!

    So true. We can do this much better than we did 50 years ago.
     
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  9. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    The use of hydrogen presents it's own problems, as well (storage, volatility, etc.).

    I don't have access to my files and reports anymore, as that was two jobs ago, but I found a picture online yesterday of my "baby" towing an F-16, which was the goal of the test project.

    Tow Tug.png
     
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  10. vitanola

    vitanola I'll Lock Up

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    Absolutely. Nuclear energy can be an important source of energy, and would be were it not for the human propensity to cut corners for personal gain. Just as Communism would bring the millennium were it not for that pesky propensity for people to become free riders if they can.
     

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