Our Christmas lecture asked “Can batteries transport us to a greener future”, the answer is “Yes”, however… At the moment the internal combustion engine provides a power-dense, and often over-specified, drive source for motor vehicles. It is a mature technology, and can be manufactured for a low cost-point (if you were at the meeting you would have heard how low). The 33-100KW electric motor required for the average family saloon is of the same order of magnitude, however the necessary battery pack can add an additional £10,000 to £20,000 depending on the range you would like.
Dave’s talk covered a breadth and depth of information, including green energy generation, how to make Lithium Cells (literally, we saw the insides of a selection of cell formats, they make them at University of Warwick) how easy is is to recycle a motor car, how difficult it is to recycle the lithium cells…
The best time to charge your vehicle is after midnight, i.e. on economy 7 as you will not add to peak load requirements on the grid, and its best to not overcharge your cells, in fact to preserve their life, do not charge over 80% or allow them to discharge below 20%. Even then, you only get a 7-year lifetime from them!
Fortunately, other technologies are in the pipe-line, including Sodium-Aluminium to replace the Lithium-Cobalt.
The talk closed with projections for a green flight proposal later in December (see below) and thanks to Dave for a lively and entertaining talk. The networking buffet afterwards was also excellent!