A battery for a changing climate. OK. So I was getting all excited about outback 'Adventure' transport and Mars space research (see 'Blogs') when it occurred to me that the ol' golf buggy could be due for a retrofit with biochar. Maybe it's time to upgrade the ol' golf clubs and retrofit a golf buggy with a prototype solar generator/powerbank and solar roof that I've been thinking about for a while.
Here are some potential tech specs:
Solar panel roof made from 'flash graphene'/twisting chromophore PV cells/'hot carrier' Perovskites embedded in a biochar-based biocomposite
A biochar bybrid solar generator/powerbank with the following considerations:
high Coulombic/Faradaic efficiency
durabiity eg. vibration, operating temperature range: subzero to 60 degrees (climate change is a bitch but no reason to stop playing golf, maybe in a space suit)
high 'depth of discharge 'DoD'
many lifecycles at high performance eg. 10,000+
high energy density
modularity eg. easily drop in battery replacement
maintenance - minimal or none
biosubstitution and biomimicry
energy management system (EMS) with colour LED touch panel:
Short circuit protection,
Over temperature protection.
Over discharge protection,
Over current protection
Australian 'green' electronics eg.Carbon-based, for future iterations
Universal battery housing and electronics that can integrate with different feedstocks for electrodes and different Carbon/Hydrogel solid-state electrolytes
Other tech specs:
-bamboo biochar with steam activation then doped with bamboo leaf Si nanowires (loads of Si rich Phytoliths/PhytOCs/Plant stones in the bamboo and Si from the bamboo leaf hypothesised to increase Coulombic efficiency) eg. Electrical Conductivity of Carbon is 1*10^5 S/m and Silicon is 1*10^7 S/m
LI: What if you could combine raw biochar with raw Silicon and make artificial Silcon Carbide (SiC) nanowires then create a matrix with turbostratic 'Flash Graphene' made from raw biochar?
1-graphene-like substance solid state electrolyte (with steam activation)
2- 'flash graphene' from biochar (or trash/rubbish) combined with a) ceramics, b) mesoporous Si
3-reclaimed biochar used as a sorbent for heavy metals eg.Ni, Cu (wastewater from mining)
-3D printed biochar-based biocomposite polymer shell
NOTE: At the end of the lifecycle, the electrodes, electrolyte (with the exception of 3 which could be added to concrete) and shell can be added to compost/Permafert/soil for growing plants, locking up the Carbon and Silicon in PhytOCs, or Carbon and Silicon in a biochar or Graphene matrix, for millennia to millions of years reducing the impact of climate change acceleration
NOTE2: Nanowires could be potentially harvested from exoelectrogenic bacteria and replace the Si nanowires bonded to the bamboo biochar. This could be a cheaper source of nanowires though probably less conductive than the Si nanowires
NOTE3: Silicon Carbide (SiC) nanowires could either be coated on biochar or graphene for the electrodes. They have some very interesting properties! Or, SiC could be formed on the biochar matrix using molten Si
NOTE4: Phytoliths are crystalline structures. Crystalline structures increase conductivity. Conductivity is a desirable property for electrodes=BINGO!! So, one race could be to find a bamboo variety that has the highest density of phytoliths...
LI: what if increasing the surface area of phytolith-rich biomass eg.bamboo/grasses increases access of electrons via ?electron hopping, to the phytolith crystal (which increases conductivity)?
LI: what is the 'sweet spot' for temperature of pyrolysis and steam activation where the C is reasonably ordered and the phytoliths don't lose their structural integrity?
What about an overview of the hybrid solar generator/powerbank possibilities?
Why not an all-kelp solid-state supercapacitor?
Sustainable kelp farming, anyone?
No doubt there would have to be some fancy firmware integrated with some fancy electronics to get this system to work effectively. For eg., the battery probably can't charge and discharge at the same time, unless there were 2 SSBs with 2 battery circuits. For eg., when the first battery charges to 80%, the micro-electrolysis kicks in to produce Hydrogen. When the tanks are full or when the battery hits 20% the micro-electrolysis stops and the battery charges again from solar PVs embedded in the exterior of the chassis. An external EV charger can also be used, possibly running from solar too, either at a remote charging point eg.car park, petrol station, caravan park or even at the owner's home for shorter trips. No Hydrogen infrastructure is needed in this system - any clean/filtered freshwater could be used, so I'm imagining a water pump next to an EV charger - or just a water pump, or even a water tap and hose, river, creek, pothole etc. Having 2 energy sources/Hydrogen or SSB is a good insurance policy in the Outback or long trips. If the H2 system fails, the electric engine can be powered by one or both of the SSBs. If one SSB fails, the firmware could switch to the second SSB, just like there a two fuel tanks in some 4WDs. If the Hydrogen runs out, one of the SSBs have failed and the sun aint shining and you're away from any charging infrastructure, you might have to setup camp until the remaining battery charges. If the Hydrogen system and both batteries fail, then you might have to hitch a lift or get an EVAC.
From what I have read, 3D printing tech for SSBs is already here eg.Sakuu, using Lithium and ceramics, which could be used for cell to chassis. Lithium and Sodium could be interchangeable with mods. The advantage of Sodium is that it can be found in seawater or salt pans, which we have many in Australia. We also supply half the world's Lithium so we have options. In WA, there are plans for a whole ecosystem of Lithium mining->refining->manufacturing batteries - they might want to check out Sakuu before building a gigafactory.
For a 4WD, rather than have cell to chassis with two circuits, why not have an accessible modular battery bank in the back of the vehicle? In this scenario, if one module died it could be easily disconnected and replaced at a later date. I'm thinking the whole vehicle could be modular and accessible, including electrics. There would need to be a network around the country of skilled up mechanics to work on the vehicle. For additional PV charging, a solar blanket could be used when the vehicle is stationary (remember 'The Martian' movie?). Or even a solar trailer for additional solar charging capacity on the move.
The only reason why there is even Hydrogen in this design is due to it's superior energy density compared to current SSBs but that might change. There's variable numbers for this on the internet. In the 'Atomically_bonding..' research paper below, the researchers were able to achieve an energy density of 291 Wh kg−1, if you don't mind ultrasonic welding of gold. But, mass fabrication could be an issue for fancier solid state battery chemistries and manufacturing processes.
An onboard micro-electrolyser is theoretically possible but I can't find an appropriate one on the internet. This is a work in progress. Maybe someone has designed one or is looking at doing so? The micro-electrolyser would need to be flexible and possibly operate at different current levels for the same voltage or vice versa.
A new coating for perovskites has been discovered for weather resistance and self-cleaning. However, in this design the PV cells would have to be flexible. Also, could the Carbon base layer be bonded to the Carbon fibre chassis?
There's always methanol too with Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC) but would lose the advantage of an environmentally abundant fuel source - water, even in the desert eg. bores or beneath sandy river beds, assuming you can find one!
It may turn out 'electromodding' a Toyota 'Troopy' pulling a solar (flower) trailer is the best and cheapest transport option in the Australian Outback, if electrification for zero emissions is what you want?