Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Tech Guru Bill Joy Unveils New Battery To
Oil Price, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN,
August 15, 2017
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The rise of electric vehicles and the quest to find
solutions to energy storage for the renewables industry have created a
breeding ground for tech experts to develop battery technologies.
Last week, Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy and the company he
currently backs, Ionic Materials,
unveiled a solid-state alkaline battery design that they claim would
be cheaper and safer than the lithium-ion battery.
didn't really realize is that alkaline batteries could be made
rechargeable," Joy told Bloomberg in a phone interview last week. "I
think people had given up," Joy noted.
The three main possible
applications of the new alkaline battery technology would be consumer
electronics, electric cars, and energy storage for the power grid,
according to the developers.
However, also according to Joy, the
company just has the material, and the technology is not ready to go
commercial right away. The rechargeable alkaline battery technology
could be ready for commercial use within five years, Joy told Bloomberg,
adding that Ionic Materials didn't have a factory to manufacture the
The prototype designs have demonstrated up to 400 recharge
cycles for the alkaline battery, and Ionic Materials believes that the
number of recharge cycles could be tripled, the New York Times
On the downside, apart from uncertain commercial
future, is the fact that Ionic's first alkaline batteries would be
heavier than the lithium-ion batteries today.
mostly use zinc and manganese.
Ionic Materials has made progress
toward developing a design for an alkaline battery that would use
cheaper aluminum instead of zinc, Joy told the NYT. Aluminum-based
alkaline designs could potentially weigh less than lithium-ion designs
and could be cheaper than the alkaline designs today, according to the
"They use an unusual electrolyte to come up with a battery
that uses common cheap materials and is benign," Amory Lovins, the
founder of non-profit sustainable energy research group Rocky Mountain
Institute (RMI) -- at whose summit Ionic unveiled its technology -- told
the NYT, referring to the company.
However, Lovins is cautious
about forecasts whether the alkaline design would be such as to hit the
"Batteries are very difficult and I want to see
what they have and what can be measured and proven and whether it will
get to market," Lovins told the NYT.
battery prices have dropped a lot over the past few years. According to
Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), the lithium-ion battery pack prices
dropped from US$1,000/kWh in 2010 to US$273/ kWh last year.
Large demand for lithium-ion batteries is predicted ahead, with BNEF
expecting EVs sales to accelerate and make up
of new car sales by 2040. One of the main drivers of EV growth,
according to BNEF, will be tumbling battery prices.
take-off for EVs will happen in the second half of the 2020s due to
plunging lithium-ion battery prices, which are set to fall by more than
70% by 2030," according to BNEF's Electric Vehicle Outlook 2017.
EVs adoption and the need to find energy storage solutions will
charge the battery race in the years and decades to come. The key
question here is, will the battery design breakthroughs turn from lab
tests into viable mass market energy options?
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