Bill Gates on the prospect for batteries bailing out the unreliables

Two minute video. The punchline. There is no substitute for way the western economy is running today.

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33 Responses to Bill Gates on the prospect for batteries bailing out the unreliables

  1. John Constantine

    As the autist child lectured their Davos elites at their looting festival recently.

    Climate change is all about systemic change.

    Nothing can allow business as usual to continue.

    The whole point of their Revolution is the utter destruction of western industrial civilisation and the Great replacement.

    Comrades.

  2. RobK

    Increasing the cost of energy is an integral part of the CO2 conjecture. None of it makes sense.

  3. I wish someone would explain to him that there is no such thing as a “greenhouse gas”.
    There is no “greenhouse effect”. It’s complete nonsense. Witchcraft and hocus pocus.

  4. What are these batteries going to be made from and how – fairy dust and wishing wells?

  5. Bruce of Newcastle

    Karabar – Certainly looks like PV = nRT is the reason for ground level temperatures on Venus, Earth and Mars. Technically known as the adiabatic lapse rate.

    Simple to say there’s been no real global warming for a couple decades. Tony Heller has a nice post on this today:

    61% Of NOAA USHCN Adjusted Temperature Data Is Now Fake

    The 61% is the proportion of entries in the USHCN temperature dataset which are now listed as “E” for estimate, and which are estimated by a model. All the warming in the US in the last two decades is due to this artefact.

    Which is why average snow extent hasn’t changed – because the real temperature hasn’t either.

  6. Linden

    Battery technology has advanced as much as anything else. I did hear something recently that dealing with the aftermarth of these things is going to be just as difficult as nuclear waste material? I wonder what the greenies think about this?

  7. Battery technology has advanced as much as anything else. I did hear something recently that dealing with the aftermarth of these things is going to be just as difficult as nuclear waste material? I wonder what the greenies think about this?

    Battery technology is still fairly basic. But it’s not just the waste processing from batteries, but also solar panels and wind turbines. All of them have much shorter lifespans than a coal fired power station.

    When the disposal of the latter starts happening, then the shit will hit the fan. Solar panel disposal is going to become a major ecological issue. And with wind turbines, there’s going to be the job of getting rid of all the concrete, carbon fibre etc, you won’t be able to refurbish and reuse the turbines or the platforms.

    Then you’ll have to think of replacing it all. But all that will become someone else’s problem, the people that have made their millions from this scam will be gone or retired, and passed the ill gotten gains onto their children who will bear no responsibility.

  8. Tel

    I’m sure batteries will get better over time. There’s no intrinsic reason why they can’t do the job.

    Yes, the energy density of a battery will never be quite as high as petroleum fuel, but you know, if energy density was all-important then I could claim out that hydrocarbons must be useless because they don’t have the energy density of nuclear fuel. Obviously that’s incorrect, because for most trips most of the time people don’t use a full tank of gas, they only use a small fraction. Besides, with stationary batteries the density is largely irrelevant… we have heaps of open empty land.

    Here’s the real problem with batteries right now:
    * The well tested and cheap options are lead acid and those are heavy and cantankerous.
    * Lead acid needs to be recycled because the contents are toxic and that adds further costs (mostly collection and transport).
    * The newer, lighter and higher density option is the various Lithium varieties but those are expensive.
    * None of them can do large numbers of cycles… reliability is poor.
    * Lithium batteries have safety issues with meltdown, fire, internal short, etc.

    So getting the cost down is something free market economies are very good at … but it takes time and needs to follow a natural progression. If you force people to buy what they don’t want and you pump government money into the suppliers … all it does is make the suppliers optimize towards getting the next handout instead of improving the product. This actually slows down technological progress. The genuine innovators are beaten out by the show boats who can impress the government muppets (e.g. Solyndra and co).

    Improving reliability and safety are also something free markets have done in every other area (just compare the brakes and handling on a modern vehicle with something from the 1950’s) so I think it will get there, but I doubt that Elon Musk will be the guy who achieves anything good in battery advancement. Many, many steady incremental improvements are what does this. Not being a tech superstar who speaks at world conferences, just engineers making a better product little bits at a time.

  9. A battery is simply a method for storing energy and energy is also stored in dams, coal, gas, nuclear, wood etc.

    Transferring the stored energy contained in dams, coal, gas, nuclear, wood etc simply to transfer it to a battery is not efficient nor effective.

  10. Chester Draws

    I’m sure batteries will get better over time. There’s no intrinsic reason why they can’t do the job.

    Actually, there is an intrinsic reason they can’t do the job.

    To make batteries smaller requires higher energy densities. When it all goes wrong, cell phones burst into flames. A large electricity storage bank of them going up is excitement worth waiting for (provided you don’t fret about the enormous mess it’s going to make). There’s no getting round this problem — higher energy densities mean more danger.

    I did a chemistry degree, and have spent many decades and billions of dollars being spent on making
    1) high temperature super-conductors,
    2) fusion power,
    3) cheap, reliable, large batteries,
    with basically no progress in any. Despite the fact that the first people to find any of the three is going to be Scrooge McDuck rolling in money.

    People have a trusting belief that “it must be possible”. But there’s no reason for us to believe that is so. Fifty years of intense work has yielded squat so far. My bet would be on the next fifty years yielding nothing too.

  11. Chester Draws

    Sorry.

    I did a chemistry degree, and have watched many decades and billions of dollars being spent

  12. Roger

    Transferring the stored energy contained in dams, coal, gas, nuclear, wood etc simply to transfer it to a battery is not efficient nor effective.

    No, but it will make all interested parties a lot of money, extracted from consumers who’ve already paid for the subsidies via their taxes. What’s more, those poor rubes have been convinced it’s all necessary.

  13. Squirrel

    Fascinating that the same people who screamed long and loud that a price on carbon was necessary to “level the playing field” between fossil-fuel generated energy and solar, wind etc. are now in complete denial about the costs and capacity limitations of batteries.

    This is the point which should have been hammered by what passes for the right in Australian politics. Every time the parrot chorus announces that “the science is in” on climate change and thus we need to charge headlong down the path of “renewables”, the reply should have been “but the science is NOT in on batteries which can replace power stations”.

  14. Tel

    To make batteries smaller requires higher energy densities.

    Sure … so the only fuel that anyone can ever use is nuclear because it has the highest energy density, right?

    Must be right, only energy density can possibly matter.

  15. Tel

    … with basically no progress in any. Despite the fact that the first people to find any of the three is going to be Scrooge McDuck rolling in money.

    Well I dunno where and when you did that chemistry degree but when I grew up there was nothing even remotely close to a modern rechargeable Lithium cell. We had lead acid and nickel cadmium and that was all you could get, so out here in the real world there has been massive improvement in batteries.

    Any yes, Ni-Cad was also dangerous a short circuit would light them up real quick, and usually weld itself into position. Energy storage has always been dangerous. Petrol is dangerous. LPG tanks can sometimes blow up.

  16. Must be right, only energy density can possibly matter.

    If you want compactness, efficiency, power etc, then yes, maximising energy density is most important. And it must be practical. It’s possible to produce a battery the size of the Melbourne CBD and provide reserve power to a very large number of houses, but that’s not practical.

    In a past life I worked on a number of projects attempting to produce power sources for soldiers in the field, given that they now have massive power requirements and weight was becoming a major issue. There was simply no easy solution to address the major issues confronting the scientists.

  17. Cynic of Ayr

    I suppose we’ve all seen the YouTubes of Tesla cars burning. Burns and burns! Toxic crap everywhere, and the heat! The Firies don’t wanna go near them. All that energy stored in that “dense” battery, has to go somewhere, and as there’s no mechanical energy coming out, there’s only heat!
    So, let’s imagine a square Kilometre of batteries that fail. And, because some herein say there’s no reason we can’t have perfect batteries in time, there’s no reason the present ones won’t fail!
    In fact, I’ll put a few shekels on the SA one failing spectacularly anytime in the next few years, or even months.
    The things are made up of a jillion D Cells. All connected. All a potential leaking connection.
    They’re a fucking nightmare!
    I liked Chester Draws post. We’ve got nowhere!

  18. egg_

    The whole point of their Revolution is the utter destruction of western industrial civilisation and the Great replacement.

    We’ll all be living in caves, with the tide lapping at our feet?

  19. mem

    People have a trusting belief that “it must be possible”. But there’s no reason for us to believe that is so. Fifty years of intense work has yielded squat so far. My bet would be on the next fifty years yielding nothing too

    .”
    Indeed, like a cure for cancer or AIDS it hasn’t happened yet. The thing that bugs me though is that the renewables industry and politicians have charged ahead without any safety net in case there isn’t a breakthrough. It is like MAO”s five year plan to increase harvests by planting rice closer together, all supported by obliging scientists. Ultimately even the great MAO couldn’t change nature and while the crops looked great for the first year the plants starved each other over the next two and the primary source of nutrition for a whole population failed and millions starved. So it is with renewable energy. And just as in MAO’s time the scientists and politicians go along with the sham, scared of losing their place in the system

  20. RobK

    I agree most with Tel#2931758, posted on February 12, 2019 at 3:07 pm.
    I use secondhand industrial flooded NiCad cells which were locomotive batteries. I have replaced the KOH electrolyte with fresh KOH and added 1% LiOH. They have a new lease of life with lower internal resistance.

  21. Mark M

    It might have looked like any other 1974 Ford Fairlane, but Horvath insisted that under the green bonnet was a device which could turn water into hydrogen via a controlled, thermonuclear reaction.

    Conventional wisdom was that you needed to surround such a reaction with tonnes of concrete shielding, but Horvath’s V8 emitted less radiation than a colour TV. Or so he said.

    Queensland Rail even selected a diesel-electric locomotive for conversion to hydrogen power and Horvath announced plans to convert the Howard coal-fired power station, near Maryborough.

    Brisbane’s City Plaza was buzzing as the revolutionary vehicle was unveiled on July 14, 1980.

    When it came time to turn on the engine it was discovered that Horvath’s engineer, Bernie Marriage, had decamped for a cooling ale at a nearby tavern.

    https://www.couriermail.com.au/archive/news/horvaths-hydrogen-fairlane/news-story/24fddbda2900f1d0ac4b40083f858c2f

  22. Arky

    One of the theories about evolution or something I don’t quite remember the exact details, but…
    That in the prehistoric oldy days there were lakes of electrolytes and a voltage between these lakes and some other wet features of the landscape, thereby accelerating whatever it was they were talking about.
    So I say this: Why not geo- engineer giant, massive, prehistorically- type lakes of acidic electrolytes and connect them up to the ruinables of your choice?
    I’m sure the greens won’t mind living near giant acid battery lakes to save the environment? Speacially when they understand that this is just returning the landscape to it’s previous state before humans, and um, before trees and microbes and probably oxygen.

  23. 2dogs

    There’s no intrinsic reason why they can’t do the job.

    Sure, we may get get cost per kWh of storage down by say, a further 40%. That may be enough to get Western countries onto it with the help of govt incentive schemes. But that is still no solution for China, India, and Africa.

    The answer for them is nuclear.

  24. TBH

    There was a great article in MIT Technology Review recently about battery storage and how it’s not the answer yet. They came to much the same conclusion as many here at the Cat.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611683/the-25-trillion-reason-we-cant-rely-on-batteries-to-clean-up-the-grid/

  25. Chris M

    To make batteries smaller requires higher energy densities.

    Yes. And as an MIT professor explained it “typical household garbage actually has a higher energy density than the current lithium ion battery.” No, not a joke.

  26. Tel

    To make batteries smaller requires higher energy densities.

    Yes. And as an MIT professor explained it “typical household garbage actually has a higher energy density than the current lithium ion battery.” No, not a joke.

    Brilliant! You have all done a very good job of proving (right from theoretical first principles) that every car on the road uses nuclear fuel … because, hey that energy density.

    Have you considered a career as an economist?

  27. RobK

    Some of the potential improvements in batteries will come via improvements in nano tech. This is still unlikely to solve the storage issues of costs for high penetration RE. The relatively simple baseload distribution grid we had is unlikely to be surpassed in a generation or two for low cost reliability. I believe there is merit in guaranteeing one more cycle of 50+years of coal baseload to see how the technology develops….and get rid of RET.

  28. RobK

    If batteries actually become economic, even for peak shaving, in a distributed manner (say sub station level) they will be snapped up by baseload distribution anyway. It would potentially ease load on the grid. I dont recomend holding your breath waiting.

  29. egg_

    GM can now make fuel cells more easily and cheaply, thanks to MIT – why they speared the Chevy Volt?

  30. Tel

    I believe there is merit in guaranteeing one more cycle of 50+years of coal baseload to see how the technology develops….and get rid of RET.

    Getting a big steam turbine and sitting it on top of a coal mine is unbeatable on cost. It’s simple, reliable, extremely stable, easy to maintain … technology more than 100 years old (with plenty of incremental modern improvements).

    Same can be said for internal combustion engines and hydrocarbon fuel for transport purposes. Very well tested, bit smelly, not so efficient, has some problems but all of them are now solidly understood and worked around. You can just barely drive from Sydney to Melbourne on one tank of gas if you get good roads and clear traffic … which is something some people want to do some of the time but not many people care deeply about. If you want to drive to the corner shop and back (what most people use their cars for), then energy density is irrelevant.

    That’s not to say nothing better can come along. Eventually the hydrocarbons will run out, as that happens the price naturally goes up and new technology is constantly evolving. Right now coal is cheap, it probably won’t be forever.

    RET is a trade off in terms of higher electricity prices vs achieving political outcomes. The problem is that it’s not well understood (never talked about by the Enemy of the People); hardly anyone knows that this is what they are paying for, because if they did understand they sure as heck wouldn’t want to pay for that. The free market should provide the things that consumers want … which includes better batteries, but right now people want them for mobile devices (and the market does deliver) not for cars and houses. People always want the same thing cheaper so you don’t need RET or any other government program to encourage cost savings.

  31. Brilliant! You have all done a very good job of proving (right from theoretical first principles) that every car on the road uses nuclear fuel … because, hey that energy density.

    Have you considered a career as an economist?

    The early electric cars managed some paltry distance before running out of power, the latter ones get much further because the energy density in the batteries is much greater. But you still can’t travel anywhere near the distance with an electric car as you can with a petrol/diesel car.

    Of course you don’t have to increase the energy density of batteries to gain greater driving distances, all you have to do is add more batteries. Though that introduces other problems and the weight increase will work against the distance achievable.

    Have you though of a career with the Greens?

  32. Eyrie

    Tel, efficiency doesn’t matter. Cost does. That’s engineering.
    An example. I visited a mate outside town the other day. He used to have a hot water solar heater. Expensive pain in the arse.
    He’s replaced it with a few used solar panels and a 36 volt DC heating element in the tank.
    No corrosion, no leaks. Inefficient but cheap as all getout.

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