• credo@lemmy.world
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    3 months ago

    50,000 cycles

    Wow, a lifetime of 137 years at one cycle per day. This could make off-grid systems mainstream.

    • SOB_Van_Owen@lemm.ee
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      3 months ago

      Long-time offgridder here. Would love to have a reasonable alternative to lead-acid or lithium. Opted for lead-acid again on the last battery swap around 5 years ago. Squeezed about 12 years out of the last set -though they were pretty degraded by that time. This bank is depreciating faster, probably because of increased use.

      • nilloc
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        2 months ago

        Lead acid batteries seem to be less and less reliable lately. The warranties are shorter and shorter as well, which is the best supporting evidence I have beyond needing batteries more often for the 4-5 vehicles I maintain.

    • ColeSloth
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      3 months ago

      For real. It will take up a lot more space than lithium, but if it lasts way longer and should end up being cheaper, it would definitely be the winning choice. Solar array on the roof and a huge outdoor battery in a shed against the house and no more electric bill, ever.

    • cmnybo
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      3 months ago

      Batteries degrade with age too. It would probably have to be cycled 10 times a day to get that many cycles.

      • Cort@lemmy.world
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        3 months ago

        I could see that happening if these are used in gas hybrid cars, or ev taxis, or maybe grid scale energy buffering

        • Ilovethebomb@lemm.ee
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          3 months ago

          They may work for non plug in hybrids, which have quite small batteries that cycle a lot, but the energy density is far too low for full EV vehicles.

    • chiliedogg@lemmy.world
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      2 months ago

      The shitty thing right now is grid connection is required by pretty much any building code, and the utilities are getting wise to solar. They’re moving a lot of the fees from power use to connection and line maintenance. My family was looking at solar, but since 2/3 of their power bill is just to be connected to the grid it wouldn’t save enough to make economic sense.

    • sugar_in_your_tea@sh.itjust.works
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      3 months ago

      And commuter cars probably. I’d love something I can drive to work and back, and then later upcycle into home energy storage.

      CATL showed a 160 Wh/kg sodium-ion battery in 2021 and has plans to increase that density over 200 Wh/kg to better meet the needs of electric vehicles.

      Hopefully that happens in a reasonable timeframe. I don’t need high range, I just need cheap to repair or long life for a commuter. Maybe we’ll get something similar for buses and light rail first before getting it for regular cars.

      • Usernameblankface@lemmy.world
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        3 months ago

        Yes, absolutely. For a regular daily commute to a job that allows you to afford 2 vehicles, having one of the two with a shorter range with more charge cycles makes a lot of sense.

        • sugar_in_your_tea@sh.itjust.works
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          3 months ago

          Yup. I’m married with kids, so we need two cars regardless. The commuter just needs to reliably go ~50 miles between charges even during the winter, while the family car needs to fit my wife and kids and go at least 400 miles between charges (we like road trips).

          Unfortunately, I haven’t found the right fit since EVs are either too expensive, don’t have enough winter range (e.g. old Leafs), or have too many safety advisories (e.g. batteries catching fire don’t mesh with garage storage). Likewise for family cars. Most current EVs are in the awkward middle: too much range for a commute, and not enough for a road trip.

          But if there was an economy car with ~150 miles range and inexpensive batteries, I’d probably buy it.

          • Usernameblankface@lemmy.world
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            3 months ago

            Yeah, a car that started out with 150 miles of range, has degraded to about 80 miles of range, and is known to be safe would be ideal.

            • sugar_in_your_tea@sh.itjust.works
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              3 months ago

              Yup, especially since my workplace has been talking about installing chargers. I don’t know when that’ll happen, but I’m willing to gamble if I won’t need them for a couple years (I might move to another company by then anyway).

          • Serinus@lemmy.world
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            3 months ago

            batteries catching fire don’t mesh with garage storage

            Your gas powered car is more likely to burst into flames than your electric car.

            • sugar_in_your_tea@sh.itjust.works
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              3 months ago

              The problems with EV fires are:

              • they can easily reignite, and traditional firefighting methods don’t work
              • they can happen with a simple puncture, or during charging
              • there’s pretty much no warning sign

              Whereas with ICE vehicles:

              • generally caused by poor maintenance
              • overheating (major cause) has warning sensors and can generally be avoided
              • are fairly easy for fire departments to deal with

              I was considering getting a Chevy Bolt, but the company’s response to charging issues (i.e. don’t charge in your garage) killed my enthusiasm for it. Pretty much everything else either costs too much or doesn’t have enough range. I’d really rather not spend much more than $20k on a car, but the used market has been bonkers.

                • cybersin@lemm.ee
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                  3 months ago

                  I think we still need more time/data to get the whole picture. EVs are still in their early stages.

                  It would be interesting to look at fire rates for vehicles at rest. These types of fires have the potential to become quite serious, as they are often not immediately noticed, especially if the vehicle is parked in a garage or remote area. This additional time allows the fire to spread and intensify.

                  Since EV fires are typically more intense than ICE vehicles, we should expect EV fires to cause more damage to the surroundings and to spread faster. Though, this danger could be offset if EVs have a lower probability of self ignition.

                  We should also look at fires while refueling/charging. Lithium cells are most dangerous when charging and discharging. While an overfilled gas tank is easy to spot and may catch fire, a continually overcharged battery is invisible and will catch fire. Also, because of the long charge time of batteries, many EV owners leave the vehicle unattended while charging and would not immediately notice a fire if one were to occur. In addition, EVs are often charged at home, in close proximity to residences and other vehicles, and often within garages. These residential locations do not have the same fire safety requirements and suppression systems as gas stations, so a vehicle fire at home is already much more dangerous and has the potential to severely damage your home.

                  We have had a century to figure out ICE, but it’s still very early days for EVs, so only time will tell.

          • UnderpantsWeevil@lemmy.world
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            3 months ago

            The Volt was really good for this - 50 miles electric and 430 miles gas on a 7 gallon tank.

            Unfortunately, PHEVs fell out of fashion in 2018 and are only just coming back into style. I think the Prius is the only comparable car on the market that manages this. The Kia Niro is also looking reasonably good with a 34 mile EV range.

            But if there was an economy car with ~150 miles range and inexpensive batteries, I’d probably buy it.

            Both are in the $30-$40k range new. You can find a 2017 Chevy Volt for $16k (and I seriously can’t recommend it enough).

            • sugar_in_your_tea@sh.itjust.works
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              3 months ago

              I have a non-plugin Prius, and it works really well as a commuter. I got it for $10k like 10 years ago, and it has needed very little maintenance and still gets 45-ish MPG (highway speeds here are 70mph, and I usually go a few mph over).

              Ideally, I’d go pure electric for the next one so I’d never need to go to the gas station again. A PHEV means I still need to use some gas since I highly doubt I’d get 50 miles range on our high speed highways, especially if the car is older.

              But yeah, seeing the prices going down is good news. The EV discount for used EVs is doing a lot of work.

      • UnderpantsWeevil@lemmy.world
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        3 months ago

        Amazing how far we’re progressing in battery technology in such a short amount of time.

        And all it took was $100/BBL gas to get people off their asses. A shame we weren’t pioneering this kind of research 40 years ago.

        • laurelraven@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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          3 months ago

          Probably would have if we didn’t pull out all the stops to subsidize it all to hell and back. 40 years ago was a great time for increasing fuel efficiency and smaller, lighter cars specifically because of gas shortages, and when that got a temporary reprieve we just acted like it could never happen again

        • Ashe@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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          3 months ago

          I remember NiCad batteries still being used in power wheels toys as a kid. For all I know they may still be, but the battery advancements have been particularly amazing.

        • ColeSloth
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          3 months ago

          Short time? We’ve been kind of stuck for decades on the same tech and working to try and find something else.

        • Aux@lemmy.world
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          2 months ago

          Sodium batteries are in development for over 30 years. We were pioneering this kind of research almost 40 years ago and that’s how much time, effort and financial investment this stuff takes. It will be 10 more years to get them everywhere. Technology is not as fast as you think.

          • UnderpantsWeevil@lemmy.world
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            2 months ago

            Sodium batteries are in development for over 30 years.

            Closer to a century. But the investment in the last decade has risen with the price of fossil fuel as well as the sharp fall in short-term available renewable electricity. International investment - particularly in states like China, India, and Germany - have spiked considerably during this time as well. That’s why we’re seeing so many productive discoveries outside the US.

            It will be 10 more years to get them everywhere.

            HiNA Battery Technology Company began producing EV-ready sodium batteries last year.

            TÜV Rheinland approved Pylontech to begin mass producing bulk energy storage systems in March of 2023.

            Rollout is occurring at the speed of domestic investment. And while US companies continue to drag their heels, countries with higher electricity demand and fewer fossil fuel subsidies are not waiting around.

      • bluewing@lemm.ee
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        3 months ago

        I need long range and I need it at -30F. A round trip to the grocery store or to see a doctor is 100 miles and can be as much as 300 miles. I can’t justify an EV until I can get that kind of range at an affordable price. $40,000US+ ain’t really affordable for most people.

        I almost bought a Chevy Bolt, but between not being able to actually find one to see and touch, and the almost good enough range, I just didn’t feel comfortable with such a large purchase.

        • sugar_in_your_tea@sh.itjust.works
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          3 months ago

          Are you in Alaska or middle of nowhere main?

          I think your use case is pretty niche, but 100 miles in winter (even if ridiculously cold) isn’t that unreasonable. For me, that means a round trip to the airport, and that can absolutely happen in winter (e.g. family visiting for Christmas or something).

          And yeah, I’m not paying $40k for a car, especially at these loan rates. I spend a bit more than $1k on gas, so if an ICE is $25k and electricity is completely free (it’s not), it would take 10 years to be more economical. It’s even worse that EV batteries and most parts of the electrical system just aren’t repairable by your average mechanic, and battery replacements costs like $10-20k, which is about what I’m looking to pay for an entire car anyway.

          I’m definitely interested, and I’ll buy if the price is right. Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf are about right, but they’ve had battery issues in the past, but I’m seriously considering them, just looking for the right deal.

          • bluewing@lemm.ee
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            2 months ago

            I’m in northern Minnesota. There is a fairly large low population area across the north central and northwestern part of that state. Not many people live here. And yes, the use case is pretty niche compared to anyone living in a more urban area. But while there aren’t many of us up here, we do exist.

            Financial constraints are the biggest issue with the adoption of EVs for most people. It is still cheaper for many to own an ICE than invest in an EV. The pay back is painfully slow. Still, if it hadn’t been for the battery problems of the Bolt, I probably would have bought one. It would have been just doable for my needs as a second vehicle.

            I have looked into hybrids also. The problem there is since I live in a very rural area, the long distances I travel means I drive at highway speeds for almost all of the trip. The ICE motor would run the whole trip anyway. Paying for a battery that is seldom used and dragging the extra weight around makes no sense.And it would be difficult to something repaired if it needed it.

            • sugar_in_your_tea@sh.itjust.works
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              2 months ago

              For hybrids, I drive a Prius and mostly on the highway (70mph speed limit here) and I generally get 40-45mpg. I haven’t had anything to wrong with the hybrid side, and it’s not a plug-in hybrid. Prices are kinda high for them right now, but I got mine for $10k used about 10 years/90k miles ago (had 60k miles when I got it).

              That said, I’m in Utah where winter temps rarely go below 10F, so I have no insight into really could winters.

              But yeah, EVs really need to come down in price to make sense for me.

              • bluewing@lemm.ee
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                2 months ago

                That’s great for you, I’m kind of jealous. The Prius is a very good vehicle, either as hybrid or ICE.

            • Scurouno@lemmy.ca
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              2 months ago

              Howdy Neighbor, you could always move a little further north. We’ve got lots of people driving EVs up here in Winnipeg! I’m kidding, but there is at least some charging infrastructure coming rurally here in Manitoba, and you are starting to see a lot of commuters using them for 100+ km (one-way) commutes. That being said, we have similar issues if you need to drive long distances between rural centers, but the government subsidies to help install L2 chargers seem to be making a difference as more and more municipalities are installing at least one charger somewhere. I can understand how people are still hesitant about winter, with -20C (-5f) to -30C(-30f) being not uncommon (for now…).

              • bluewing@lemm.ee
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                2 months ago

                Hi! Neighbor! I am a lot closer to Winnipeg than the Twin Cities.

                There are government programs to install chargers here also. The problem is, there is no money to fix those chargers when they stop working. My Daughter, who is a research engineer in the fields of public charging for EVs and HVAC systems, will tell you that she can get all kinds of money to install them, but there is no money to actually keep them working. And it’s expensive to repair them. So it’s nearly useless at this point in time to install them only to have them break and not get repaired. She is currently doing a 10 year study of a string of 60 chargers across the northern part of the state from Red Lake to Brainard to the Twin Cities.

                • Scurouno@lemmy.ca
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                  2 months ago

                  Awesome! Isn’t that always the way. People, agencies and governments love to put their name on new and shiny projects, but never want to fund labor or upkeep. I work for a non-profit and a big part of my job is begging for money to help us maintain the amazing infrastructure we have, but get very little support to upkeep.

                  I’ve spent a lot of time visiting Roseau and Warroad in my life, so it’s always nice to meet an American neighbor in the wilds of the internet. Manitoba is actually a cool place to visit, and your dollar goes a lot further. Come up to Winnipeg for a weekend and you’d be surprised how much more there is to do now than even a decade a go. It’s food and music scene is awesome.

        • JohnDClay@sh.itjust.works
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          3 months ago

          Where do you live that it’s often -30? And if you need to drive 300mi to a doctor’s for a medical emergency at that one time if year, do you have someone else you could ask or only drive there and worrying about charging later?

          • bluewing@lemm.ee
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            2 months ago

            Northern Minnesota often sees those temperatures. And if it’s a real medical emergency, you could well be dead by the time anyone can get to you - IF you have cell service to make a call. If they do make it to you, you will probably be airlifted by helicopter. Making a a 100+ mile trip, would be just for a clinic visit or even to pick up a prescription, which I did last Saturday for my Wife.

            • JohnDClay@sh.itjust.works
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              2 months ago

              100+ miles is fine for most any EV. My bolt during the winter was still able to get 200mi+ at 70mph in sub zero F weather. With a home charger it’s fine. It’s road trips that would push further. I’ve found charging adds maybe 25% time to long trips. But that doesn’t seem to be the use case you’re referring to.

    • ColeSloth
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      3 months ago

      …that’s why the article says it.

      • sebinspace@lemmy.world
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        3 months ago

        Listen, if he came to that conclusion in a vacuum without reading the article, that’s kind of neat on its own.

        Namaste.

    • T156@lemmy.world
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      3 months ago

      Higher cycle life might also make it good for hybrids, since they cycle their batteries a fair bit.

      • ColeSloth
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        3 months ago

        For sure. They would likely use a lower capacity battery due to these being much less energy dense, though. Hybrids have been using bigger batteries and only using around a 30% zone of charge state in order to greatly prolong battery degradation. I’d imagine auto makers would try to keep the batteries around the same size, but start using more like a 60 or 70% zone, though. So they’ll take advantage of that higher cycle life.

        You won’t get an automaker to care about making a battery that lasts much beyond 10 years.

  • cm0002@lemmy.world
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    3 months ago

    non-flammable end use

    Safe and stable chemistry

    Oh neat, finally a non-explody and/or unstable battery lmao

    • dual_sport_dork@lemmy.world
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      3 months ago

      Well, only relatively.

      In order to work batteries need to have a certain amount of instability built in, on a chemical level. Them electrons have to want to jump from one material to a more reactive one; there is literally no other way. There is no such thing as a truly “safe and stable” battery chemistry. Such a battery would be inert, and not able to hold a charge. Even carbon-zinc batteries are technically flammable. I think these guys are stretching the truth a little for the layman, or possibly for the investor.

      Lithium in current lithium-whatever cells is very reactive. Sodium on its own is extremely reactive, even moreso than lithium. Based on the minimal lookup I just did, this company appears to be using an aqueous electrolyte which makes sodium-ion cells a little safer (albeit at the cost of lower energy density, actually) but the notion that a lithium chemistry battery will burn but a sodium chemistry one “won’t” is flat out wrong. Further, shorting a battery pack of either chemistry is not likely to result in a good day.

        • dual_sport_dork@lemmy.world
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          It is definitely that. That’s kind of the point, actually. Sodium is easier to come by than lithium and does not require mining it from unstable parts of the world, nor relying on China.

          • UnderpantsWeevil@lemmy.world
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            3 months ago

            nor relying on China

            The appeal of China is largely in the size of the labor force. Whether this tech is more or less feasible than cobalt and lithium, businesses will still want to exploit the large volume of cheap Chinese labor in order to build them.

            • dual_sport_dork@lemmy.world
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              3 months ago

              I’m sure they’ll want to, but that’ll be a little better than need to, i.e. relying on them for the raw materials as well.

          • Wooki@lemmy.world
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            2 months ago

            If you consider Australia unstable, sure, maybe for humans, the animals are fine unless you’re Steve Irwin, just dont go diving with stingrays

      • Dharma Curious@slrpnk.net
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        3 months ago

        You who are so wise in the ways of science, can you explain to me if this is safe/will be super dangerous if exposed to water? Doesn’t sodium, like, blow the fuck up when it comes in contact with water?

        • WolfLink@lemmy.ml
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          3 months ago

          Yeah throwing a piece of sodium metal into water will cause a violent reaction. Even touching it with your finger is bad because of the moisture on your skin.

          But sodium chloride (table salt) dissolves in water easily and safely, resulting in an aqueous solution including sodium ions.

        • dual_sport_dork@lemmy.world
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          3 months ago

          Well, metallic sodium liberates hydrogen real fast on contact with water, which I guess is tantamount to the same thing.

          Yes. But not to the same level as just dropping a brick of pure sodium in a bathtub. In a battery like this there is not pure lithium/sodium/whatever just sloshing around inside. The sodium is tied up being chemically bonded with whatever the anode and cathode materials are. Only a minority of the available sodium is actually free in the form of ions carrying the charge from cathode to anode.

          Just as with lithium-ion chemistry batteries, it is vital that the cells remain sealed from the outside because the materials inside will indeed react with air, water, and the water in the air. Exposing the innards will cause a rapid exothermic reaction, i.e. it will get very hot and optionally go off bang.

          • Dharma Curious@slrpnk.net
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            3 months ago

            Okay, that makes a lot of sense. I was asking because I wondered how viable this would be in boats/ships, outdoor areas, off grid cabins, et cetera. Seems like it’s basically the same thing, then, right? Like, proper battery maintenance and you’re good?

      • Zink@programming.dev
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        3 months ago

        There is no such thing as a truly “safe and stable” battery chemistry.

        Is it even possible to have energy storage of any kind that is truly safe and stable? Some are better than others, of course.

          • ferret@sh.itjust.works
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            3 months ago

            Large flywheels are well known to be terrifying mechanical monsters, despite just being a spinning disc

          • Zink@programming.dev
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            3 months ago

            A couple decades ago I worked at a place that did power generation turbine controls.

            One thing I worked on was a redundant sync check for connecting turbines to the grid. A turbine has to be brought up to speed, about 3600rpm in the US, before being connected to the grid. The sine wave coming out of the generator needs to match the sine wave on the grid.

            If they are mismatched when the huge breaker closes, it’s not a shock or fire hazard, it’s an explosion hazard.

          • pearable@lemmy.ml
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            3 months ago

            Dams are scary too, I just hope people are able to decommission them slowly when the time comes. Otherwise the deluge is going to suck.

        • tal@lemmy.today
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          3 months ago

          Is it even possible to have energy storage of any kind that is truly safe and stable? Some are better than others, of course.

          considers

          Kinetic energy of a body in orbit, I suppose. Like, you want to accelerate the Moon, you get a bigger orbit. We pull energy out of it via tidal generators, and in theory, we could speed its orbit up, increase its altitude.

          I mean, it could theoretically smack into something, but it’s not gonna hit the Earth very readily, and the speed of an object that isn’t in Earth orbit, like an asteroid or something that hasn’t been captured by Earth’s gravitational field, is probably more of a factor in a collision than the speed of something that is.

          At a smaller scale, I expect that thermal energy storage can be pretty safe, as long as you keep it within bounds. Like, if you wanted to insulate a lake and crank its temperature up or down ten degrees, probably not a lot that it could do even if the insulation was penetrated. The rate of energy release is gonna be bounded by convection.

          • Zink@programming.dev
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            3 months ago

            The orbital one sounds interesting. That’s a lot of energy, and it could do a lot of damage, but it seems very stable if left untouched.

            My gut suspicion is that with something more safe/stable, you would also be dealing with a low quality/potency source and/or low efficiency.

        • laverabe@lemmy.world
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          2 months ago

          On a small scale yeah. The sun heats rocks and they’re able to store heat for up to an hour or so. Cats can attest to that.

          Same with large bodies of water; the ocean, lakes, pools, etc.

          • Zink@programming.dev
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            2 months ago

            I guess in my head I was implying that it was energy humans store for other humans to use at grid scale. When I said "of any kind” I guess that’s not what I meant, lol.

            So in my line of thinking, you’re right about e.g. using the sun to heat a rock. But if we use the sun to heat something for electricity generation, or we heat some medium for energy storage, I bet that will be pretty potent.

            Besides, past the small scale into the smallEST scale, it’s all just energy anyway, man. 😎

          • soEZ@lemmy.world
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            3 months ago

            These are more fun then lipos… I wounder if u pack a tesla full of these…will it manage to achive escape velocity after a crash? I mean gas cars and lithium batteries right now just turn car into lots fo smoke and flames…but these might really change how we see crashes…

            Edit: I feel like I need to add an /s somewhere…the amout of serious replies to this comment are concerning 🤦

            • Nindelofocho@lemmy.world
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              3 months ago

              That explosion doesent seem much bigger than a firework thats smaller than the battery’s size. With as much as a car weighs and the amount we already do to protect batteries in electric cars i imagine the explosion from these could be easier to manage safely than a lithium fire. I also wonder how harmful the fumes are compared to lithium

              • Gormadt@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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                3 months ago

                Especially considering there’s no fire from a sodium cell, just a quick bang. They definitely seem a lot safer.

                • cybersin@lemm.ee
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                  3 months ago

                  Yep, less/no fire is very important when creating battery banks with many cells. The probability of single cell failure spreading to adjacent cells is reduced, making a catastrophic failure of the entire bank less likely.

            • cybersin@lemm.ee
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              3 months ago

              LiPo batteries of the same capacity actually have the potential to be much more dangerous than the sodium cell shown here.

              LiPo packs typically use flat, soft walled cells which are far more susceptible to being punctured. In the event of a puncture or overcharge event, high temperature enduring flames are produced, with the severity and duration largely depending on the amount of energy within the cell. LiPo batteries also degrade at a much faster rate (both over time and with charge cycles) and have been known to spontaneously combust in storage while at rest.

              With the sodium battery, the thrust produced by the puncture could have been easily been overcome by properly securing the cell.