All You Need to Know About Batteries

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Wyandot Jim

Hawkeye
Joined
Sep 1, 2003
Messages
5,084
I don't know if all of this is true or not. Still a good read and how batteries are made.

Batteries

Some amusing lagniappe with some
good information on the subject.
Anonymous (couldn’t locate the author)

When I saw the title of this lecture, especially with the picture of the scantily clad model, I couldn’t resist attending. The packed auditorium was abuzz with questions about the address; nobody seemed to know what to expect. The only hint was a large aluminum block sitting on a sturdy table on the stage.

When the crowd settled down, a scholarly-looking man walked out and put his hand on the shiny block, “Good evening,” he said, “I am here to introduce NMC532-X,” and he patted the block, “we call him NM for short,” and the man smiled proudly. “NM is a typical electric vehicle (EV) car battery in every way except one; we programmed him to send signals of the internal movements of his electrons when charging, discharging, and in several other conditions. We wanted to know what it feels like to be a battery. We don’t know how it happened, but NM began to talk after we downloaded the program.

Despite this ability, we put him in a car for a year and then asked him if he’d like to do presentations about batteries. He readily agreed on the condition he could say whatever he wanted. We thought that was fine, and so, without further ado, I’ll turn the floor over to NM,” the man turned and walked off the stage.

“Good evening,” NM said. He had a slightly affected accent, and when he spoke, he lit up in different colors. “That cheeky woman on the marquee was my idea,” he said. “Were she not there, along with ‘naked’ in the title, I’d likely be speaking to an empty auditorium! I also had them add ‘shocking’ because it’s a favorite word amongst us batteries.” He flashed a light blue color as he laughed.

“Sorry,” NM chuckled, then continued, “Three days ago, at the start of my last lecture, three people walked out. I suppose they were disappointed there would be no dancing girls. But here is what I noticed about them. One was wearing a battery-powered hearing aid, one tapped on his battery-powered cell phone as he left, and a third got into his car, which would not start without a battery. So, I’d like you to think about your day for a moment; how many batteries do you rely on?”

He paused for a full minute which gave us time to count our batteries. Then he went on, “Now, it is not elementary to ask, ‘what is a battery?’ I think Tesla said it best when they called us Energy Storage Systems. That’s important. We do not make electricity – we store electricity produced elsewhere, primarily by coal, uranium, natural gas-powered plants, or diesel-fueled generators. So to say an EV is a zero-emission vehicle is not at all valid. Also, since forty percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. is from coal-fired plants, it follows that forty percent of the EVs on the road are coal-powered, do you see?”

He flashed blue again. “Einstein’s formula, E=MC2, tells us it takes the same amount of energy to move a five-thousand-pound gasoline-driven automobile a mile as it does an electric one. The only question again is what produces the power? To reiterate, it does not come from the battery; the battery is only the storage device, like a gas tank in a car.”

He lit up red when he said that, and I sensed he was smiling. Then he continued in blue and orange. “Mr. Elkay introduced me as NMC532. If I were the battery from your computer mouse, Elkay would introduce me as double-A, if from your cell phone as CR2032, and so on. We batteries all have the same name depending on our design. By the way, the ‘X’ in my name stands for ‘experimental.’

There are two orders of batteries, rechargeable, and single-use. The most common single-use batteries are A, AA, AAA, C, D. 9V, and lantern types. Those dry-cell species use zinc, manganese, lithium, silver oxide, or zinc and carbon to store electricity chemically. Please note they all contain toxic, heavy metals.

Rechargeable batteries only differ in their internal materials, usually lithium-ion, nickel-metal oxide, and nickel-cadmium.

The United States uses three billion of these two battery types a year, and most are not recycled; they end up in landfills. California is the only state which requires all batteries be recycled. If you throw your small, used batteries in the trash, here is what happens to them.

All batteries are self-discharging. That means even when not in use, they leak tiny amounts of energy. You have likely ruined a flashlight or two from an old ruptured battery. When a battery runs down and can no longer power a toy or light, you think of it as dead; well, it is not. It continues to leak small amounts of electricity. As the chemicals inside it run out, pressure builds inside the battery’s metal casing, and eventually, it cracks. The metals left inside then ooze out. The ooze in your ruined flashlight is toxic, and so is the ooze that will inevitably leak from every battery in a landfill. All batteries eventually rupture; it just takes rechargeable batteries longer to end up in the landfill.

In addition to dry cell batteries, there are also wet cell ones used in automobiles, boats, and motorcycles. The good thing about those is, ninety percent of them are recycled. Unfortunately, we do not yet know how to recycle batteries like me or care to dispose of single-use ones properly.

But that is not half of it. For those of you excited about electric cars and a green revolution, I want you to take a closer look at batteries and also windmills and solar panels. These three technologies share what we call environmentally destructive embedded costs.”

NM got redder as he spoke. “Everything manufactured has two costs associated with it, embedded costs and operating costs. I will explain embedded costs using a can of baked beans as my subject.

In this scenario, baked beans are on sale, so you jump in your car and head for the grocery store. Sure enough, there they are on the shelf for $1.75 a can. As you head to the checkout, you begin to think about the embedded costs in the can of beans.

The first cost is the diesel fuel the farmer used to plow the field, till the ground, harvest the beans, and transport them to the food processor. Not only is his diesel fuel an embedded cost, so are the costs to build the tractors, combines, and trucks. In addition, the farmer might use a nitrogen fertilizer made from natural gas.

Next is the energy costs of cooking the beans, heating the building, transporting the workers, and paying for the vast amounts of electricity used to run the plant. The steel can holding the beans is also an embedded cost. Making the steel can requires mining taconite, shipping it by boat, extracting the iron, placing it in a coal-fired blast furnace, and adding carbon. Then it’s back on another truck to take the beans to the grocery store. Finally, add in the cost of the gasoline for your car.

But wait - can you guess one of the highest but rarely acknowledged embedded costs?” NM said, then gave us about thirty seconds to make our guesses. Then he flashed his lights and said, “It’s the depreciation on the 5000 pound car you used to transport one pound of canned beans!”

NM took on a golden glow, and I thought he might have winked. He said, “But that can of beans is nothing compared to me! I am hundreds of times more complicated. My embedded costs not only come in the form of energy use; they come as environmental destruction, pollution, disease, child labor, and the inability to be recycled.”

He paused, “I weigh one thousand pounds, and as you see, I am about the size of a travel trunk.” NM’s lights showed he was serious. “I contain twenty-five pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside me are 6,831 individual lithium-ion cells.

It should concern you that all those toxic components come from mining. For instance, to manufacture each auto battery like me, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for just - one - battery.”

He let that one sink in, then added, “I mentioned disease and child labor a moment ago. Here’s why. Sixty-eight percent of the world’s cobalt, a significant part of a battery, comes from the Congo. Their mines have no pollution controls and they employ children who die from handling this toxic material. Should we factor in these diseased kids as part of the cost of driving an electric car?”

NM’s red and orange light made it look like he was on fire. “Finally,” he said, “I’d like to leave you with these thoughts. California is building the largest battery in the world near San Francisco, and they intend to power it from solar panels and windmills. They claim this is the ultimate in being ‘green,’ but it is not! This construction project is creating an environmental disaster. Let me tell you why.

The main problem with solar arrays is the chemicals needed to process silicate into the silicon used in the panels. To make pure enough silicon requires processing it with hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, trichloroethane, and acetone. In addition, they also need gallium, arsenide, copper-indium-gallium- diselenide, and cadmium-telluride, which also are highly toxic. Silicon dust is a hazard to the workers, and the panels cannot be recycled.

Windmills are the ultimate in embedded costs and environmental destruction. Each weighs 1688 tons (the equivalent of 23 houses) and contains 1300 tons of concrete, 295 tons of steel, 48 tons of iron, 24 tons of fiberglass, and the hard to extract rare earths neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium. Each blade weighs 81,000 pounds and will last 15 to 20 years, at which time it must be replaced. We cannot recycle used blades. Sadly, both solar arrays and windmills kill birds, bats, sea life, and migratory insects.

NM lights dimmed, and he quietly said, “There may be a place for these technologies, but you must look beyond the myth of zero emissions. I predict EVs and windmills will be abandoned once the embedded environmental costs of making and replacing them become apparent.

I’m trying to do my part with these lectures. As you can see, if I had entitled this talk “The Embedded Costs of Going Green,” who would have come? But thank you for your attention, good night, and good luck.”

NM’s lights went out, and he was quiet, like a regular battery.

In God We Trust
 

outlaw_dogboy

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 2, 2005
Messages
85
I notice there has not been a single response to this very insightful, and quite truthful, post. That is a shame. And only one like, before mine. What gives? Did I not get the memo that this post should be shunned?
 

SWR

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 11, 2004
Messages
166
Very enlightening bit of information. If all can be corroborated it confirms my belief that all this electrification movement is smoke and mirrors. It just doesnt add up. Follow the money !!!
 

Slyk Willy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 14, 2012
Messages
321
I have no doubt that the NM's overall analysis is correct if not perfectly accurate. Everyone should have this knowledge when discussing "green-ness".
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
6,879
This falls into the 'not meant for me' category as I already knew these things. Probably leans toward the same folks who think food is produced by magic in the rear of the store and Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy are real.
 

outlaw_dogboy

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 2, 2005
Messages
85
I heard a separate analysis on a podcast, then looked for information myself. In the analysis I heard, if you assumed the carbon expenditure to build a Tesla (less battery pack) and a regular car to be the same, and analyzed only the carbon expenditure for building and charging battery vs. drilling, refining, and burning the gasoline, the Tesla would be "in the red" for 6-8 years compared to ICE auto. After that, the Tesla would be "greener."

When I looked it up myself, I think that length of time "in the red" went down to 3-5 years. But that was from a gov't funded website, it appeared. As I recall. So even by government standards, it isn't greener right out of the gate.

The sad fact of the matter is, you can pretty much skew the results in whatever direction you want, depending on where you draw the boundaries of your system. But without nuclear energy, i think EV is overall more harmful to the ecosystem, as a whole.
 

noahmercy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 13, 2015
Messages
219
The part about the wind turbine blades is unquestionable...they bury them in giant landfills in Casper, about two hours south of me. Another embedded cost that was touched on is the dramatic impact on bat populations. Wind farms interfere with their migration. Bats eat insects that spread disease and damage crops, and some bats aid in pollination, so there are health and food supply considerations there.

Also left out is how the minerals mined on other continents, as well as foreign-made EVs and solar panels get here. Just the ten largest cargo ships produce more emissions than all the cars and trucks in the world combined, and there are approximately 90,000 of them now plying the oceans. Anyone familiar with bunker fuel knows just how nasty it is, and most diesel-powered ships don't have any emission-control systems, so the particulates, CO, CO2, and NOx are off the charts considering that many of them burn more fuel to go one mile than a semi uses to go 6,000 miles. They also dump oil, raw sewage, and garbage into the oceans and regularly damage coral reefs.

Meanwhile, we're sitting on enough geothermal here in Wyoming to power half the nation with 100% clean, renewable, non-GMO, organic, vegan power. But God forbid we should put a couple pipes into the ground in Yellowstone and a few more buildings to house turbines...
 

Montelores

Buckeye
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Messages
1,205
The Carbon Force is strong here.:alien:
Jimbo, do you buy a lot of snow shovels?

I realize that you live in Florida.

So maybe a snow shovel isn't really something that suits your needs.

Maybe other people don't see the utility of EVs right now.

For their lives.

When they make sense for consumers, then consumers will buy them.

Monty
 

noahmercy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 13, 2015
Messages
219
The Carbon Force is strong here.:alien:

And some of us even understand that we have had centuries-long mega-droughts, severe storms, high temperatures, and other catastrophic natural disasters when the atmospheric carbon levels were a small fraction of what they currently are. Some of us are also aware that sea levels rose about 365 feet from about 15,000 years ago to 8,000 years ago, but has only risen 25 feet since then, with no increase in pace in the last hundred-plus years. Heck, some of us even know the Carboniferous Period saw the greatest variety and quantity of life on Earth, with atmospheric carbon levels eight times their current levels, ended by a massive rainforest collapse due to climate change. And since this was around 300 million years ago, that change certainly had nothing to do with people (in fact, the collapse was tied to a drop in carbon levels). I guess the lesson here is that only ignorant folks easily swayed by repetitious lies and fear-mongering believe in the carbon boogeyman.
 

blume357

Hawkeye
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Messages
8,701
Thanks for that noahmercy..... I kind of think like that too... that this planet is laughing at us and what we have done and more so what we think we have done.... every time someone talks about all the stuff we are 'storing' in landfills and how it will take thousands of years for it to dissolve, am I the only one that realizes at some point in time we will be digging it all up and re-using it?

then we hear about the children in the Congo digging up dirt for us to have our batteries and I am sad for them and wish we humans could do better... then I think back on things like WWII and I realize that humanity is really no different than two ant mounds fighting over a dead bird's remains. Put aside Germany's industrialized destruction of an entire group of people and even our final answer to fighting Japan..... my only point is we are not nearly as evolved as we think....
 

Jimbo357mag

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Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,124
The article is really just a list of the cons for 'green energy' with none of the pros. Batteries have a lot of pros. who wants to give up their phone? Electric cars have a lot of pros, major cities could lower their sick and death rates with electric vehicles. Renewable sources of energy have a lot of pros.

...and lets not forget the cons for carbon energy, why not list them next to the cons of green energy? The article is just a hit job.
 

Aqualung

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 17, 2005
Messages
632
The article is really just a list of the cons for 'green energy' with none of the pros. Batteries have a lot of pros. who wants to give up their phone? Electric cars have a lot of pros, major cities could lower their sick and death rates with electric vehicles. Renewable sources of energy have a lot of pros.

...and lets not forget the cons for carbon energy, why not list them next to the cons of green energy? The article is just a hit job.

No one here will debate the pros of green, sustainable energy.

However, the "hit job" is intentionally so because it is the polar opposite of what is being trowelled out, mandated and force-fed to us on a regular basis. Those radical proponents of the Green Movement present it as the ultimate solution to all the problems in the world and present and similarly ignore the cons that are presented in the article.

The current administration is allowing (encouraging?) the price of fuels to skyrocket in an effort to "encourage" the population to trade in their ICE-powered vehicles for EVs with the promise of some utopian non-emission Shangra-La. The world and technology isn't there yet. By ignoring and actively obscuring that fact in an effort to push the agenda is what is found intolerable.

Like any other discussion/subject/topic, all facts should be presented for review, not just those that are cherry-picked to fit a narrative.

Am I against technology that is sustainable and "green"? Heck no...I embrace it and hope that there will be technology that will evolve to become a lower impact to the environment. We're not there yet and everyone needs to admit it and accept the fact that it's a process.

The problem is that there are too many conflicting agendas, too much money and too much power involved to allow for efficient progress.

Aqualung
 

Wyandot Jim

Hawkeye
Joined
Sep 1, 2003
Messages
5,084
Aqualung,
You are 100% correct. It is a damn shame that the BIG Bafoons that run the place can't get this crap sorted out.
I have always thought that bottled water in plastic bottles is about the dumbest thing this country could come up with. Remember when it was delivered in the BIG Bottle to your house if you wanted bottled water. That is what they did in sh!t hole countries
I have worked/lived in some sh!t hole countries and we got by with just one big water bottle and your cup. In China they boiled the hotel water.
You can drink public water from anywhere in the US no problem.
At my Son's house his MIL and FIL both got bottled water from the fridge and pored it into glasses and the plastic empties go into the trash and off to the land fill.
He has a 300' deep well with great water which I drink.
GO GREEN bring back returnable bottles, thermos, and drinking from the hose. :)
Might be a start

What are Plastic Bottles Made of?[/H2]
As mentioned above, plastic bottles are commonly made of PET, PP, PC, and PE. PE is often referred to as LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) or HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene). We'll be examining how each material affects the bottle manufacturing process below.

(Polyethylene Terephthalate)[/H3]
Polyethylene Terephthalate is a thermoplastic polymer that can be either opaque or transparent, depending on the exact material composition. As with most plastics, PET is produced from petroleum hydrocarbons, through a reaction between ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. The PET is polymerized to create long molecular chains, which allows it to produce PET bottles later on.
 
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RRM

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 12, 2022
Messages
173
As intimated or outright stated by many, we are just slowly killing ourselves. The planet will (should) survive. It was a paradise, and, hopefully, whatever comes after us does a better job with it!
 
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