Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Are there any alternatives for batteries?

  1. Jan 2, 2016 #1
    Does anyone know if there are any substances that can be used/made into a substitute for a battery?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2016 #2

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    There are lots of ways to store energy. Loosely speaking, they can all be considered batteries, inasmuch as they store energy. An internal combustion engine stores potential energy in the form of chemistry, which can be liberated to produce useful mechanical or electrical energy.

    I think what you're asking is are there any alternatives to (dry cell batteries, wet cells or ... metal) for storing electricity.

    The problem you're going to run into is energy density. Our current batteries are so popular because they are at the pinnacle of energy density, especially considering their size. You may produce an alternate way of storing electricity, but if you find one that can store as much electricity as our current cells, you'll be a rich man.
     
  4. Jan 3, 2016 #3
    Large value capacitors are sometimes substituted for voltaic cells, e.g. where weight is critical.
     
  5. Jan 4, 2016 #4
    recent developments into supercapacitors have proven as much as 26kw per kg which is getting closer to where many would like them to be. I believe this example was nitrogen doped graphene. The benefits of capacitors are there rapid discharge and recharge rate, however their down fall is voltage regulation and discharge efficiency. In other words yes there are many substances that can replace a battery but none are as good. technically a lemon, onion, or potato could be used to replace a battery and aluminum foil and paper could be used to replace a capacitor, but now we are just getting into semantics.
     
  6. Jan 4, 2016 #5

    CWatters

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Shadow-Shocker....What's the problem with using a battery?
     
  7. Jan 4, 2016 #6

    sophiecentaur

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    That's my gut reaction, too but the thing that makes me react against Capacitor storage is the drooping voltage and that could be a worry of the past with switch mode becoming cheap and powerful.
     
  8. Jan 4, 2016 #7

    CWatters

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Ultra capacitors used to power buses (2009)...
     
  9. Jan 4, 2016 #8
    The problem with batteries is that they eventually die out due to conventional current. I want to find an alternative form of energy that lasts longer, since the project I am doing will always be turned on, and I am looking for a much higher dense form of energy that will last for years. The battery that will fit within my project, structure wise, is a 9V battery. I was looking at graphene/carbon nanotube substances, since they are capable of being put on a piece of paper and have a crap ton of conductivity. However, those substances cannot be used as a power supply only as a capacitor. The question is, are there any forms of highly condense energy that are tangible/mobile?
     
  10. Jan 4, 2016 #9

    sophiecentaur

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    Old fashioned fuels do a pretty good job and the engines are cheap. Still a good solution for some applications; you need to do the precise sums for a proper evaluation. If you want a result, it's not always best to get too fond of a particular solution.
     
  11. Jan 4, 2016 #10
    What about clean alternative solutions?
     
  12. Jan 4, 2016 #11

    sophiecentaur

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    That's a valid question but you could consider how much real impact a simple 'dirty' solution could be, compared with an expensive, hi tech solution that may have had all sorts of impact on the environment before you bought it. There's a lot of snake oil associated with some of the 'clean' uses of energy and it's important to do a lot of sums before concluding the absolute level of cleanliness of a solution.
     
  13. Jan 4, 2016 #12

    CWatters

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Reduce the consumption of the device? Some smoke alarm batteries last 10 years due to their low power consumption.
     
  14. Jan 4, 2016 #13
    What about alternating current solutions, they reduce significant amounts of energy compared to direct current? How can we apply that for a battery?
     
  15. Jan 4, 2016 #14

    CWatters

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    As I recall the standard 9V consumer battery has a low energy density compared to other cells because it contains six 1.5V cells each with its own case. Better to design for a single Lithium cell?
     
  16. Jan 4, 2016 #15

    CWatters

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Perhaps worth pointing out that it takes quite a lot of time and effort to get a factor of two improvement in battery energy density. If you want better than current Lithium cells you may have to wait 5-10 years for them to become commercially available.
     
  17. Jan 4, 2016 #16
    Or hell, we can start making better ones instead of waiting.
     
  18. Jan 4, 2016 #17

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    This doesn't make sense.
    You can bet that a better battery has the attention of a LOT of tech companies. Do you think they're just sitting on their laurels and reaping dividends?
    5-10 years is how long it will take the best in the world to make them.
     
  19. Jan 4, 2016 #18
    Just making an funny/encouraging statement.
     
  20. Jan 4, 2016 #19

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  21. Jan 4, 2016 #20

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Exactly how much energy does it need?
    No, they don't.
     
  22. Jan 4, 2016 #21
    Enough to keep a 6V motor moving forever, or for a really long time.
     
  23. Jan 4, 2016 #22
    Just thinking of ideas
     
  24. Jan 4, 2016 #23

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Well, "forever" would be an infinite amount of energy and since a volt is not a unit of energy and "a really long time" is undefined, I'll say you need 47 and suggest powering it with purple.
    Well, no offense, but this is a serious forum and if you intend for this to be a serious idea and want real help, you need to take it more seriously.
     
  25. Jan 4, 2016 #24
    Im sorry, but on this forum I have come in contact with a bit of a problem. This field of electrical engineering is relatively new to me, and I have taken a bit offense to your assumption, although it wasn't your intention to as stated. Now, correct me if I may be wrong, but we can both agree that we want a serious forum that encourages people with different viewpoints to think freely and to share their ideas on this forum to build upon discussion not discouragement. As Staff member on this forum, from your experience, you can understand that we as people continue to grow and learn from one another and to help each other grow we must not discourage people from knowing the truth. I am taking this forum seriously, one can see I am continuing to ask questions to encourage discussion, but in the future, would it be alright if you can make sure no discouraging comments come on this forum so people can elaborate more in discussions?
     
  26. Jan 4, 2016 #25
    There's no point to tell you that you had a 'great idea' if that idea doesn't get you anywhere. We're here to help you with challenges, not to make you feel like you can already do them if you truly can't.

    Don't take offense to this please, and get back to the main subject. I'm very interested into how this discussion will further progress, though I currently do not have the adequate knowledge required to even assist you with this challenge.

    By all means though if you believe that great idea pertains to your challenge but others don't see it that way, try looking into that idea yourself before asking others what they think about said idea. :)
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Loading...