Results 1 to 22 of 22
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2017

    Default Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    What kind of battery would an advanced sci-fi world use, that has basis in real science (something we only speculate about today). When I say battery, I mean things that power devices not laser gun arrays. We currently use lithium-ion batteries. Basically, what would be the next upgrade after that?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Lord Torath's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    USA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Liquid-metal batteries. The anode and cathode are made of liquid metal, so the charge/discharge cycle can't damage the non-existent structure of those components. Already in use/development.
    Thri-Kreen Ranger/Psionicist by me, based off of Rich's A Monster for Every Season

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Lvl 2 Expert's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Beer and Chocolateland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Chemical reactions are the big one today, and will stay around for a while. Metallic batteries, hydrogen cells, just faster, more compact and and with less loss of maximum power than today.

    Closely related would be biologically inspired batteries using sugar, ATP or whole organisms (algae maybe?) to store energy. Generally overly complex and underpowered.

    Another one that's already in use is radioactive batteries. They're not a fission or fusion generator, merely a radioactive substance that generates energy as it decays. They are not super efficient in the sense that the current generation always produces energy, there is no way to regulate it (although possibly future tech could use some sort of relativistic regulation rod ar some counter-reaction that recharges the battery with its own radiation or something to fix that?). The upside is that they keep going for months or years at a time, they're popular for use in buoys and satellites, although that's going down with the rise of solar power.

    Fission or even fusion reactors are an option though, people are currently thinking about small fission reactors powered by thorium to run cars on.

    Mechanical energy is also an option, maybe some sort of miniaturized precision engineered superfast flywheel? Only not actually a flywheel, because that will impact how you can and can't move your phone around. This is today mostly considered for use on a large scale. A wind and solar power park at sea could have an artificial island with a really deep well in it. When the park is creating more energy than people use water is pumped out of the well into the surrounding see, when there's not enough power it flows back in through generators.

    Superconductors might also be an option. MRI machines are not switched off for long periods, the magnets at the core of the machine are made from superconducting materials. An electromagnet is just a spool of conducting wire which would normally lose all power without constant current being poured in, but when it's superconducting wire it can keep carrying on all by itself. Today the only superconducting materials we know only have this property at really low temperatures. So an MRI machine still needs to be plugged in (either to power or liquid nitrogen or something) to run the cooling installation. A room temperature superconductor would sole this and turn every electrical wire into a battery. (You are going to lose charge when you do stuff with the power, like making a lamp burn. The fact that the lamp uses the electricity to create light means it must be adding resistance to the resistanceless wire.)

    Antimatter works, if you use small enough quantities. I'm sure someone here can do a really quick calculation on the power you can get by annihilating antiphotons or something, although that's probably the same amount you get when a normal photon hits a black panel, so maybe we should just work with antiquarks, electrons or just protons and neutrons.

    And that's most of what I can think of right now.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2017-10-23 at 03:48 PM.
    The ultimate OOTS cookie cutter nameless soldier is the hobgoblin.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Murk's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Keep in mind that it will depend on what the battery is used for. For a long time, the batteries in your flashlight, your car, and in huge powerplants were all the same type of batteries, even though they were vastly different in scale and use. As battery technology advances, it only seems logical that there will be more specific types of batteries: storing raw power directly from the solar farms will be in a completely different kind of battery than the small versions used in handheld technology.

    Storing tidal energy in coastal basins (sea water goes in, is kept there and only released when energy is needed) is very efficient (and free of cost) for large scale projects - but you can hardly hold an ocean in the palm of your hand.
    Hydrogen batteries are currently a very popular topic to store energy from windmills, but I doubt we will ever get mobile phones working on hydrogen cells.
    Similarly, chemical batteries or (liquid) metal batteries could very well be the future for the small devices, but there probably isn't enough lithium on earth to power the Death Star.
    GRIM ESSENCES - a story about silly people in a gloomy setting; a world bound by Plato-esque rules of perception, where wizards roam free, Gods are servants of mankind, and being a plunderer is a valid career choice. Amidst dangers and mysteries of dubious credibility, heroes and villains alike struggle to shape the world to their liking.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    gomipile's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Murk View Post
    For a long time, the batteries in your flashlight, your car, and in huge powerplants were all the same type of batteries, even though they were vastly different in scale and use.
    That is happening again, now. The best flashlights use lithium ion batteries. So do electric vehicles. Many grid-scale energy storage facilities are being built now using lithium ion batteries as well.

    For what it's worth, I still don't like lithium ion batteries for some of these uses, and I wish we had something much better. Sticking to current technology, I'd like to see more grid scale installations of redox flow batteries, since they can be maintained in-situ and have have no hard limit on number of charge-discharge cycles.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    where is the atropal? and does it have a listed LA?

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Lord Torath's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    USA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Some places are using excess solar or wind power to run a pump that sends water up a hill to a small reservoir. When the sun stops hitting the panels, or the wind dies down, they can run the pump in reverse, letting the water push the pump to reclaim most of the the energy used in pumping. A different version of a liquid battery.
    Thri-Kreen Ranger/Psionicist by me, based off of Rich's A Monster for Every Season

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximum77 View Post
    What kind of battery would an advanced sci-fi world use, that has basis in real science (something we only speculate about today). When I say battery, I mean things that power devices not laser gun arrays. We currently use lithium-ion batteries. Basically, what would be the next upgrade after that?
    I suspect the answer of the "end tech power supply for SF" is always antimatter.
    https://www.xkcd.com/1162/ And the graphs would look similar with "uranium, plutonium, americanium, anti-matter".


    The problem with the question is that "battery" has a different meaning to those who design them and design things that use them and consumers.

    To a consumer, a battery is a device that supplies power by itself. When they are empty they are either thrown away or recharged.

    To an engineer (or chemist), a battery is a device that produces electricity via chemical reactions. This is pretty important as there are other ways to store/generate power. Fuel cells are basically batteries with the chemicals separated and in tanks waiting to be reacted in the fuel cell. Flow batteries are similar to fuel cells, except can be reversed to charge the battery (don't expect to use hydrogen and oxygen, the reverse is terribly inefficient). If it must be a (fairly large) chemical battery, a flow battery is ideal (although the benefit is that it is mostly the reactants and little amounts of electrodes/"battery bits". This likely means less power and such things are expensive/limited. Don't be surprised if things go back to scaled up lithium-style batteries (only with zinc electrodes) for maximum power).

    Capacitors have increased storage by ridiculous amounts (I was told that a farad was too large a unit to use "a one farad capacitor would be bigger than this desk", 20 years later a place was giving away samples of 8 farad capacitors about the size of a d20. These also have the advantage that they can be charged/discharged nearly instantly, although I suspect there are physical limits that won't let them store as much as a modern battery.

    RTGs [radioactive thermal generators] are a pretty good look at a "SF battery". NASA uses them for missions beyond Mars (and for at least the Curiosity rover). They are about as primitive a means of using radioactivity as possible (mostly to save weight): more complex systems may be designed to alter the density of the radioactivity to "smooth out" emissions over the years (current systems decay with the halflife of their isotopes: after 40 years of operation the Voyager power supplies should be roughly at half strength). Note that RTGs simply can't emit power any faster than they are designed for: for all their massive capacity, there isn't the danger of sudden explosions (unlike lithium ion, and moreso capacitors and antimatter).

    There are a lot of ways to imagine an antimatter battery, presumably similar to an RTG or perhaps like a gasoline engine. But never forget that if the containment fails, all the energy is discharged at once.

    While fuel cell based "batteries" may have the proper SF flavor, I suspect that they have similar efficiency limits as current fossil fuel engines/generators. Namely, if you used the chemistry of a fuel cell more efficiently than a heat/carnot engine then Carnot could show you how to produce a perpetual motion machine. It might be easier to get close to the limit with chemistry, but don't count out heat engines (and expect things like a sterling engine to be used with real RTGs, never mind what might be used with antimatter).

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Bristol, UK

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Torath View Post
    Some places are using excess solar or wind power to run a pump that sends water up a hill to a small reservoir. When the sun stops hitting the panels, or the wind dies down, they can run the pump in reverse, letting the water push the pump to reclaim most of the the energy used in pumping. A different version of a liquid battery.
    Small?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_C...torage_Station
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Lord Torath's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    USA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    Small (35,599 acre feet) compared to, say, Lake Powell (24,322,069 acre feet).

    Not doing my research, I assumed a small reservoir. Most of the reservoirs in my area are in the 100,000 - 250,000 acre feet range, so it's not that large a reservoir. Admittedly it's a bit big to fit in your pocket...
    Thri-Kreen Ranger/Psionicist by me, based off of Rich's A Monster for Every Season

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    gomipile's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Ars Technica published a survey article today about the sorts of stuff we've been discussing in this thread:

    https://arstechnica.com/information-...orage-schemes/
    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    where is the atropal? and does it have a listed LA?

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Nifft's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    NYC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Quantum superposition batteries. Store potential energy as a large number of mutually interfering waves; extract one or more wave(s) via obvervation to collapse some and use the rest use as power.

    This is nonsense but it is close to something realistic, and it uses the word "quantum" which tends to shut down critical thinking among would-be critics.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    biggrin Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Quantum superposition batteries. Store potential energy as a large number of mutually interfering waves; extract one or more wave(s) via obvervation to collapse some and use the rest use as power.

    This is nonsense but it is close to something realistic, and it uses the word "quantum" which tends to shut down critical thinking among would-be critics.
    Or alternatively (and possibly similar). Store potential energy by putting something into a higher energy quantum state, that will time evolve predictably into a lower one with the missing energy extracted as work.
    Hypothetically say you could have a pair of baryons made of (UUD) quarks and a pair of leptons and you started in a state where the baryons wavefunction form two very seperated spikes a long distance away from each other with the leptons in a small cloud around each, and end with the baryons spikes a bit nearer and the leptons both in the wavestate that corresponds to being in the middle (and not in the one that corresponds to being outside). And if they say it doesn't work ... If they start to question/explain how much energy you get from it ... *

    *I wanted to do a more amusing example, but I couldn't work it out. (That particular example comes to (slightly less than) 7.24E-19J per baryon/lepton used. Or 436kWatts if you use one gram of fuel per second)

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    gomipile's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Quantum superposition batteries. Store potential energy as a large number of mutually interfering waves; extract one or more wave(s) via obvervation to collapse some and use the rest use as power.

    This is nonsense but it is close to something realistic, and it uses the word "quantum" which tends to shut down critical thinking among would-be critics.
    Actually, that's almost exactly how a Casimir effect battery works. The energy density is crap with realistic materials, unfortunately.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    where is the atropal? and does it have a listed LA?

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    gomipile's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Readers of this thread might find this article from Ars Technica interesting:

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2017...ion-batteries/
    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    where is the atropal? and does it have a listed LA?

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Reverse-hydrolysis fuel cells could certainly work. The form factor would have to change - when used in Daniel Suarez's "Freedom TM", phones were replaced by wearable computers worn on the belt, which interacted with HUD glasses among other things.

    Renewable energy would then be able to break down the water back down into H2 and O2 to start the process over again.

    Since it is science fiction, you can also go the Ambient energy route, such as extrapolating from Energous' wireless power, Tesla's tech, or the Vibranium-powered society in the fictional nation of Wakanda. That way, you can ignore batteries, and power is stored in series of capacitors, that are continuously refilled by ambient energy.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogie View Post
    Reverse-hydrolysis fuel cells could certainly work. The form factor would have to change - when used in Daniel Suarez's "Freedom TM", phones were replaced by wearable computers worn on the belt, which interacted with HUD glasses among other things.

    Renewable energy would then be able to break down the water back down into H2 and O2 to start the process over again.

    Since it is science fiction, you can also go the Ambient energy route, such as extrapolating from Energous' wireless power, Tesla's tech, or the Vibranium-powered society in the fictional nation of Wakanda. That way, you can ignore batteries, and power is stored in series of capacitors, that are continuously refilled by ambient energy.
    You are basically describing a "flow battery". I'm pretty sure there are chemicals wildly more efficient than 2H2+O2, but I wouldn't be surprised if such things might be used on spacecraft where high power is needed rarely (and solar power is constant) and H2+O2 fuel cells are a more or less off the shelf.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    They might be able to get a stable nuclear isomer battery working - it would use protons instead of electrons to store electrical potential, so it'd gain a few orders of magnitude in storage density. The tricky bit is discharging it in a controlled fashion.
    The gnomes once had many mines, but now they have gnome ore.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    If you want something of solid grounding, there is the aluminium-air batteries.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Bohandas's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Supercapacitors

    ...Or, if you want to go with soft-sci-fi/science-fantasy, people.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    gomipile's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Supercapacitors

    ...Or, if you want to go with soft-sci-fi/science-fantasy, people.
    Soylent people are made of batteries!
    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    where is the atropal? and does it have a listed LA?

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2017

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Plasma? Some substance that is energized to a high plasma state inside some container that decays at a given rate or only when the circuit is completed.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Peelee's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Whats a good idea for a battery technology in the far future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    ...Or, if you want to go with soft-sci-fi/science-fantasy, people.
    And that's just silly. People make far better processors.
    Cuthalion makes great avatars. Like my Silver Dragon.
    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •