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I want to do energy storage What's the battery industry like? Other alternatives?

  1. Jul 25, 2012 #1
    I view energy storage as the biggest road block to implementing sustainable alternative energies.

    I want to see this happen, so I'm thinking energy storage is what I should go into.

    I view it as very versatile, and also as a growing industry. I also think there are inevitable improvements being made, and that will be made. All of this stuff is good.

    The bad part comes from talking to technicians. I've talked to a few who worked in battery production and they all strongly disliked it due to dealing with nasty chemicals/pollutants. This, though, is common amongst most chemical engineering work I think. I'd also hope to get into battery research rather than purely production.

    So, input on a good energy storage field to enter?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2012 #2
    Re: I want to do energy storage...What's the battery industry like? Other alternative

    Hello Sir,
    I am a Chemical Engineering student and I have worked in a Li-ion battery research lab for one of my work terms.

    In my mind it seems like theres a lot of competition in it. Lots of scientists worldwide racing to find the next thing. Probably like other science fields but more extreme. Its no Higgs Boson race but there still a lot of people in it. I don't know what else to say, ask me questions and ill try to answer=)
     
  4. Aug 8, 2012 #3
    Re: I want to do energy storage...What's the battery industry like? Other alternative

    I'm interested in an evolving field. I don't want to be doing the same thing twenty years from now. And most of all I want to work for a strong company with good organization. I view battery technology as very versatile, and as a starting point for any number of different careers.

    -What sort of improvements do you see within the Li-ion industry? I hear about companies like Apple constantly improving battery life, but they're still using "lithium polymer" technology.

    -How much "design" innovation occurs, compared to figuring out how to manufacture or process the battery?

    -How much longer is Li-ion expected to last?
     
  5. Aug 8, 2012 #4
    Re: I want to do energy storage...What's the battery industry like? Other alternative

    Apple is "improving" battery life in the sense that they're pressuring their suppliers to improve battery life, then they buy the better battery. Apple is not a manufacturing company, they're an advertising company.

    If you want to improve energy storage this way, then an MBA is the best way to do so.
     
  6. Aug 8, 2012 #5
    Re: I want to do energy storage...What's the battery industry like? Other alternative

    My office mate just left Rayovac to join the medical device industry. I can tell you she has a PhD in polymer science [really just materials science with an emphasis in plastics], and spent a lot of time worrying about lithium fires.

    If you really want to work on something revolutionary in energy storage, go research all the wild and crazy ideas that haven't quite seen the light of day and make one of them work. "Field" isn't really critical in this case, just technical know-how and an entrepreneurial spirit. If you go work for a battery company, you will probably spend your time shaving pennies off the cost of manufacturing batteries, because batteries are a mass-produced consumer good, and selling batteries pays the bills.

    Here is something to get you started.
    https://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&=&q=site%3Ajerrpournelle%20energy%20storage#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=site:jerrypournelle.com+energy+storage&oq=site:jerrypournelle.com+energy+storage&gs_l=serp.3...5657.5657.1.5912.1.1.0.0.0.0.138.138.0j1.1.0...0.0...1c.P1Qb-pov0YI&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=51cf4930ab8d7b54&biw=1272&bih=826
     
  7. Aug 9, 2012 #6
    Re: I want to do energy storage...What's the battery industry like? Other alternative

    Hello,
    I see battery life improving by at least 4 times in the near future. Si anode with i think the highest if not one of the highest energy density. like one SI can bond to lots of Li. Si can bond to tens times more silicon than C so potentially ten times lighter if a correct cathode with an improvment on a similar scale can be found.

    The thing is there are lots of fine tuning ppl gotta do. Electrolyte makeup, membrane, and obviously the cathode and anode.

    Lots of innovation. The problem of Si as an anode is that it expands 400% in volume when bonded to Li so it basically breaks itself apart on first charge. So just to give you a taste, ppl came up with some very interesting ideas. For example, coating ni with si to minimize stress, si nanowires, conducting material enclosed si, thin films of si and other stuff.

    Do you mean how much longer before the reseach hits plateau?
     
  8. Aug 9, 2012 #7
    Re: I want to do energy storage...What's the battery industry like? Other alternative

    One thing worth keeping in mind is that it is difficult to store energy without the danger of a high energy discharge of some kind.

    Yes, this stuff is dangerous. Right now, petrochemical fuels are regarded as the least dangerous and most well understood energy delivery systems.

    One notion is to examine the possibility of building fuel cells with natural gas. Most engines are not particularly efficient at converting heat to mechanical energy and then to electrical energy. A fuel cell has the potential of making very efficient energy conversion from a readily available fuel.

    It's worth a look...
     
  9. Aug 9, 2012 #8
    Re: I want to do energy storage...What's the battery industry like? Other alternative

    Well that would be the voltage that determines the safety. A higher voltage will be able to provide a stronger current with the same resistance so u might be able to feel something/die if u touch both ends of a very high voltage battery? But that is usually kept within the range of what ppl need and safe. Forgot the actual voltage number(12v)? but is the same as all the normal Duracell batteries. But right now I am talking about time it can maintain the current. Not rlly how much force the electrons pushes through the load but how much electron minions you got lining up to take turn to push at a same force. If the battery were to burn i think it would burn longer but not brighter and like i said, i think o.0

    I think natural gas in fuel cell will be dangerous to be kept in the fuel tank as it can probably explode pretty easily if shyt went down haha.
     
  10. Aug 9, 2012 #9
    Re: I want to do energy storage...What's the battery industry like? Other alternative

    Mattkung, I helped put a telecommunications shelter back together after a hydrogen gas explosion caused by improperly set battery chargers and a poorly ventilated building. I have seen people with arc flash injuries caused by shorting out battery terminals. You are writing to someone who has seen how this stuff fails.

    Any time you store energy in a dense form, there will be risks. Those risks are better understood when using conventional technologies. That is why I suggest investigating methods for building a natural gas fuel cell.

    I would rather not see you learn the way I did some 25 years ago; but some people don't seem to learn any other way.

    Good Luck (You may need it more than you realize)...
     
  11. Aug 10, 2012 #10
    Re: I want to do energy storage...What's the battery industry like? Other alternative

    Well if you stack a couple thousand of those together things will happen lol. Which is not phone are gunna be using or cars. But in what is suppose to be very safe rooms. And the hydrogen gas exploded which is what ppl are using as a fuel cell fuel so yeaaaa..
     
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