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Wonderboy 12-03-2009 11:17 AM

M.S. Whittingham, inventor of Li-ion tech to speak locally. Questions?
M Stanley Whittingham is going to present "Finding new materials for advanced energy storage and production" on December 13th in Binghamton NY (He is a chemistry professor at SUNY Binghamton). I didn't even realize this guy was living or at least teaching locally, so I want to take this opportunity to help the curious here get questions to him and pick his brain. Please post any serious questions you have for him here, and I will come back with whatever I can get out of him. I could tell him I'm "from" EM or not, but I have the feeling with so many (I predict) specific questions, he'll wonder who wants to know.

Wonderboy 12-04-2009 06:44 AM

I guess I didn't choose the best forum to plop this in eh?

orange4boy 12-05-2009 10:45 PM

What is this forum. Hey, where am I?

Just kidding...

These are pretty general questions but here goes...

Ask him what he thinks of lithium as an EV battery. Whether it is good for that application considering the high discharge rates and deep cycling. How long till we are "there" with lithium for EVs or are we there just not in sufficient number for lowered costs?

What's the most important or exiting new development in EV batteries that are ready for production or close?

How are those carbon nano tubes coming along? Is anyone actually successfully producing experimental capacitors with them or are they still just expensive nano sculptures at this point?


You could ask Darin to move it to the EV section. You might get more bites there.

dcb 12-06-2009 12:14 AM

I was going to ask "how do I make my own", but was worried that the peanut gallery would react with so many safety concerns that there was bound to be some unnatural expression of milk involved.

Christ 12-06-2009 12:48 AM

Is it an open forum? I might have to find a baby sitter...

MadisonMPG 12-06-2009 01:05 AM


Originally Posted by Christ (Post 144966)
Is it an open forum? I might have to find a baby sitter...

Send em to me First Class (USPS that is).

Wonderboy 12-06-2009 11:59 AM

It is an open forum for anyone who wants to actually come, but I seriously doubted that, which is why I offered questions by proxy. I may videotape it as well and post it here.

12:30 to 1:30 p.m.


Currently Director of Binghamton University's Institute for Materials
Research, Professor Whittingham will address:


Christ 12-06-2009 12:12 PM

Yeah, I'd have to find someone to watch my kid, and it's like 1.5 hrs out there, 1.5 back, 1 there... I'd be all damn day.

Questions by proxy it is!

If the subject comes up, what are the projections for power/weight of future battery technologies?

Cost/Capacity ratio? (Consumer cost or construction cost, either way)

Efficiency improvements in Lithium variant technologies?

I know, they're pretty vague, but those are the questions.

RobertSmalls 12-06-2009 06:21 PM

I am also full of vague questions, including questions about when BEV's and PHEV's will become a market success, and what sort of progress has been made in super-rapid charging of Li-ion batteries?

They're obvious enough of questions that I'm sure someone else will ask them.

Christ 12-06-2009 08:05 PM

If you're allowed, I think you should just record the event. I'd like to go personally, but I can't.

Wonderboy 12-10-2009 06:05 PM

I'm finding out if I can record the event in some form. Please! Submit more questions! Everyone!

Wonderboy 12-13-2009 10:26 AM

found out i'm allowed to record the event! bumped for any last minute questions.

Christ 12-13-2009 10:49 AM


Originally Posted by Wonderboy (Post 147175)
found out i'm allowed to record the event! bumped for any last minute questions.

Is there a projected progression of energy density for lithium variant cells?

AmpEater 12-13-2009 08:52 PM

Whatda ya know, I bumped into wonderboy at the talk sporting an ecomodder t-shirt hogging all the face time with the professor :)

It was a fairly straightforward talk about the energy problem and the role of electric technology in the future of transport. There was some interesting slides regarding which areas of the periodic table yield different battery chemistries, and talks of potential shortages of lithium and where it is located geographically.

I was surprised he didn't even touch on LiFePO4 chemistry or advantages, talking mostly about LiCoO2 and variants. There was talk about Sulfur batteries, as well as Zinc air and Lithium Air possibilities.

Christ 12-13-2009 10:55 PM

I'd be interested in a dvd copy of the talk.

Wonderboy 12-15-2009 08:32 AM

As a bit of a nerd, or even someone who has heard an episode or two of Talk of the nation's science friday, the talk didn't feel as informative to me as it may have for most of the attendees. I can't say it was bad, but I can't say I learned that much. I can't really blame him for that though, as I don't think he was prepared to present to people like me or most EM members. Unfortunately, when I began filming with my mother's camera (I don't even own a video camera), it said the recording heads were dirty, and the light in the video looked like it was constantly fluctuating during the recording. I will get that uploaded within the next week.

While I was talking to Prof. Whittingham about the questions we had and mentioned ecomodder, someone next to me mentioned he was a member. As soon as I learned that Stan preferred answering the questions via email over being filmed, my interest in continuing any kind of intelligent conversation was eclipsed by my impulse to network with an ecomodder I'd never met.

It was great to meet yet another intelligent and productive ecomodder - I feel proud to be part of this community. Hopefully I'll be able to get some help with my EV conversion from AmpEater if I come by terra incognita ;)

edit: oh yeah, I received an email from Prof. Whittingham saying he'll respond to the questions next weekend.

MetroMPG 12-15-2009 10:11 AM

Interesting that two EM members bumped into one another. I met one "in the wild" once too - EV Expo in Ottawa.

Wonderboy 12-22-2009 02:54 PM

I finally got around to ULing the video. Unfortunately the refresh rate of the projector didn't get along too well with the dv camera and the video fluctuates throughout the video. I will ask him for the ppt file if people can't read it in the video.

Here are the EM submitted questions answered, draw your own conclusions:
1.What do you think of Li-ion as an EV battery considering the high
discharge rates and deep cycling?
It will be fine. Rates are not as high as HEV, and batteries will only be cycled around the middle 50%.
2.How long until we are "there" with Li-ion for EVs or are we already
"there", but just with insufficient numbers for a lower cost?
Li-ion is already being used in HEV for buses and trucks. Specialized cars like the Tesla is using lithium-ion; Nissan EV will use Lithium-ion, and the Volt PHEV will use there. So we are beginning to see market introduction.
3.What is the most important or exciting new development in EV
batteries that are ready for production or close to it?
The massive amounts of money
4.Do you know anything about those carbon nano tubes? Specifically, is
anyone actually successfully producing experimental capacitors with
them ore are they expensive nano-sculptures at this point?
Still in the future. Capacitors are all too expensive for energy storage, but may be used as a capacitor add-on to batteries.
5.What are the projections for power/weight of future battery technologies?
Don't know off-hand, but future issue is more energy/weight and energy/volume.
6.What is the cost to capacity ratio of current Li-ion batteries
(consumer cost and/or production cost)
This has been coming down steadily over the years and is now less than that of nickel metal hydride batteries.
7.What sort of progress has been made (if any) in the rapid charging
of Li-ion batteries?
Not desirable for any battery. The cost of the charger is too high for fast charging. Most likely will use standard 110V outlet, or possibly 220 3 phase (I.e. standard household outlet)
8.Is there a projected progression of energy density for lithium
variant cells, or has the ceiling been hit?
Presently 100 - 200 Wh/kg including all packaging. Should easily reach 300-400 with smart packaging.

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