Skip to comments.Tesla cofounder JB Straubel Has a Fix for the Battery Problem
Posted on 06/12/2022 9:32:13 PM PDT by dennisw
JB Straubel has spent the past two years covering a hillside with solar panels and rigging them up to cryptocurrency projects in his Carson City, Nev., mansion. Much of the equipment is essentially junk—the panels were all but worthless when the 46-year-old Tesla co-founder got them from a Texas solar plant, after a hailstorm voided their warranties.
He’ll work on them alone for whole weekend, spooling wire and rigging hardware in the rolling scrubland. Sometimes he thinks through his company’s latest engineering obstacles while he works. Other times he daydreams how best to divert cascades of photons from the sky, convert them, and suddenly there’s sunlight singing through the electrical grid, charging up cars, spinning a complete, beautiful system around and around: unlimited energy, for everyone, forever.
“What are you doing?” an employee said to Straubel once, arriving at the house to find him hauling solar panels outside. “You need to be getting ready for an interview right now.”
Straubel’s day job has attracted attention: he’s trying to head off a looming shortage of materials the world needs to transition away from fossil fuels. Institutional investors last year signed over $775 million for his new venture, Redwood Materials, and in April the U.S. Senate called Straubel to give expert testimony on resources needed for the energy transition. He doesn’t much like the spotlight, though. “The engineering challenges are the fun part,” Straubel says in an interview. “This is more difficult.”
We need massive quantities of batteries to power a global energy transition and avert cataclysmic climate change. To produce them, we will need to mine more metals like lithium and cobalt than have been extracted in all of human history. U.S. companies have started planning huge new battery factories, but Straubel thinks we won’t have enough materials to supply them,
(Excerpt) Read more at time.com ...
not to mention that nearly all the world’s facilities to process those materials are in Asia, meaning they will have travel 10,000 miles before we can use them. To that end, Redwood Materials is building a gargantuan facility outside Reno, which will process new minerals, recycled batteries, and manufacturing scrap into enough copper foil and powdery, mineral-rich cathode active material to build batteries for about 1 million electric cars a year by 2025.
To completely transition the U.S. to electric vehicles, we’ll need about 10 facilities of that size, with mining operations on an unheard-of scale to supply them. But once more old batteries start being retired, Straubel says, his facilities will switch to pure recycling, creating a closed, clean system in which we reuse minerals in one battery generation after another, forever.
The last part might sound like techno-optimist hyperbabble—but it doesn’t feel that way coming from Straubel. For one thing, he’s not blithely optimistic about the current climate situation (“It’s probably going to be a lot worse than most people expect,” he says). For another, his conversation lacks corporatist sheen; he has an anxious energy about him, and when he talks about himself, he almost physically winces.
But when you ask him about an engineering system or a business plan, he’ll seize the question with almost adolescent animation, dive like a marlin, and then resurface after a while with an apologetic smile, asking, with a bit of concern, “Does that make sense?”
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I hate electric vehicles. It’s gotten personal.
Does that make sense? NO.
I do not own an EV or hybrid so I am neutral on them. If tiny, $20,000 EVs are brought in from China, they will sell like hotcakes in the coming recession.
So do I. It's called INTERNAL COMBUSTION.
Yesterday was battery recharging day at my house, which is repeated about every six months for my cameras, etc.
My Ryobi battery refused to be charged. Amazon has good prices on replacements and substitutes.
Batteries don't make energy. They are just energy storage devices.
A cheaper, easier to manufacture energy storage device is a gas tank.
It’s called petroleum, NOT “fossil fuels.”
And there is no “climate change.” It’s called weather.
Meanwhile, General Motors not that long ago told Chevy Volt owners not to park their EV in their garage, because they “may catch fire.”
Say goodbye to your house if your garage is attached to your home.
Me too, Musky started it when he demanded ICE cars be outlawed to make his overpriced golf-carts acceptable.
The current gas price fiasco is transparently about forcing us into EVs.
Never going to happen, I’ve been working on my dream cars for decades as time and funds allow.
Not going to abandon all that money and sweat equity just as they are near to completion!
When they can make an EV that will haul 6 passenger 450 miles at highway speeds with the lights, HVAC going full blast and wipers going then recharge in 15 minutes and do it again then I might think about buying one.
I think it was bolt owners..
The volt was over engineered and gm lost about 100k for every one sold.
I considered the Cadillac model when they were clearancing them.
battery recycling apparently
Some dudes in Democratic cities probably will use a more direct technical approach.
You must gobble down lunch.
Electricity is going up, taxes the Grid, and origin of that Charge plug is coal, less often nuclear.
The plan is Mass Transit, tax those miles to bring you into compliance.
Electric will be a blip to get to Mass Transit.
affordable cars <-> used ICE cars
Joe’s mask mandate hit public transit hard.
Joe sent the price of lithium soaring.
Everything Joe touches takes a hit.
Yes, Chevy Bolt, NOT “Volt” like I originally said.
It’s after 1 AM here in the East and I’m getting punchy.
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