Author Topic: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year  (Read 4602 times)

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Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2019, 08:06:55 pm »
Heat is generated on charge and discharge.  Self discharge isn't very important as the cycle time only needs to be one day, not weeks or months.

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Offline f4eru

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2019, 10:36:00 pm »
My comments on the video :
a lot of exageration. But it's still a valid potential tech for the future grid storage. Not sure if it would be economically useful, tho.
Don't forget there's a lot of thermal management involved.

@4:33 : "CdTe solar cells won't scale" Exagerated. You need approx. 50x more Si. than Te to make the same amount of solar output in a PV cell. So the cost of a trace material like Te is not that critical. As with Lithium mining, supply slowly scales with demand.

@5:55 "platinum is OK for the jewlery market, but not for widespread use in automobiles" : LOL. That's completely wrong. Nearly half of the Pt mined today is eaten up by the automobile industry, to make catalythic converters !  His point on cost of FCEV still is valid, but exagerated.

@26:12 : less cells wiring complexity : yeah, Lithium exists in bigger cell sizes, achieving the same.

@2:58 : the graph is probably not up to date on Liion storage.
he claims about "5k kWh" -> 5MWh, which is obviously far too low!
That's obviously wrong by a few orders of magnitudes, as the tesla grid storage in Australia has 130MWh installed, and there are others, growing very fast.

The total number seems to be in the 2-3 GWh installed now, according to : https://www.greentechmedia.com/content/images/articles/storage-forecast-2016yir.png
which seems plausible, considering that the largest 10 grid storage batteries in operation total 1.146 GWh aggording to : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_storage_power_station#Largest_grid_batteries

Pumped hydro is ~130 GWh, which should be much closer to the "100M" mark on his graph.

So storage batteries for grid buffering, mostly Lithium based, are already at about 2% of pumped hydro, and growing fast. In a few years this will become significant.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 11:15:00 pm by f4eru »
 
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Offline DougSpindler

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2019, 11:14:36 pm »
My comments on the video :
a lot of exageration.

@4:33 : "CdTe solar cells won't scale" Exagerated. You need approx. 50x more Si. than Te to make the same amount of solar output in a PV cell. So the cost of a trace material like Te is not that critical. As with Lithium mining, supply slowly scales with demand.

@5:55 "platinum is OK for the jewlery market, but not for widespread use in automobiles" : LOL. That's completely wrong. Nearly half of the Pt mined today is eaten up by the automobile industry, to make catalythic converters !  His point on cost of FCEV still is valid, but exaggerated.

You make some valid points but Te in CeTe is as nearly as rare a gold.  Pt is less abundant than gold.  Any idea how much Pt is in a car vs jewelry?  Do you have any idea how much Pt has ever been minded?  It's a lot less than gold.

His point is was we have a finite quantity of each element.  And as we mine for more there is less to mine and it becomes more rare.  It's silly to make something that's going to require a lot of Te, Rh, Ir, or Pt when there is very much in the first place.  That's why Na, Mg, Fe and Al are good choices.  We have a lot of it.


 

Online nctnico

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2019, 11:46:18 pm »
For once I agree with f4eru.  :o
Without taking the quantities into account using 'cheap materials' is a totally meaningless claim. The specific energy (energy stored per kg) of the sodium-sulfur battery is more than twice of that of a Li-ion battery. That (roughly) means that a sodium-sulfur battery needs mining, transporting and processing twice the amount of materials.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 11:49:28 pm by nctnico »
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Offline DougSpindler

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2019, 12:06:07 am »
For once I agree with f4eru.  :o
Without taking the quantities into account using 'cheap materials' is a totally meaningless claim. The specific energy (energy stored per kg) of the sodium-sulfur battery is more than twice of that of a Li-ion battery. That (roughly) means that a sodium-sulfur battery needs mining, transporting and processing twice the amount of materials.

That's the energy cost, but what about financial?  Na and S is very easy to come by.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2019, 01:40:01 am »
Who else feels like saying loudly,,
When i can go on your webstore and order 10 liquid metal batteries then we will talk, not before.

Friend isn’t that what this website and form is all about?  Discussing electronics, the design of electronic circuits, and future products?  Only point in discussing a finished is product is doing a tear down.  But let’s see if the professor gets a product before ripping it apart.  He is a chemist, and if you learned anything about chemistry and half-cell potentials in freshman chemistry you would quickly realize this guy is on to something that’s far more realistic than free energy.

Chemists have cried wolf too many times regarding new battery tech.
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2019, 01:51:18 am »
Generally sound points, but he gets lost in his evaluation.

No cracking or other disintegration of cells since they are liquid?  Really?  But the charge cycle life data does look really good.

As others have said, rarity of materials is only important as applied to consumption.  Pt is quite rare, but widely used.  In tiny quantities.  Same thing with gold.  When the magic properties are useful they should be used.

The video also does not make clear some points.  How is start up accomplished.  He touts the totally inert nature of the cooled batteries, and blithely points out that if some cells haven't solidified they consume the current and spread heat to the remainder.  Sounds like a pending balance issue to me.  He admits that lower temperature would be better and says they are researching lower temperature alloy combinations, but also says they have product ready for imminent release.

Just like any other salesman, hold on to your wallet until you know what is really for sale.

 
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Offline DougSpindler

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2019, 02:06:42 am »
Who else feels like saying loudly,,
When i can go on your webstore and order 10 liquid metal batteries then we will talk, not before.

Friend isn’t that what this website and form is all about?  Discussing electronics, the design of electronic circuits, and future products?  Only point in discussing a finished is product is doing a tear down.  But let’s see if the professor gets a product before ripping it apart.  He is a chemist, and if you learned anything about chemistry and half-cell potentials in freshman chemistry you would quickly realize this guy is on to something that’s far more realistic than free energy.

Chemists have cried wolf too many times regarding new battery tech.

But now where near as many times as computer hardware and software promotors or Wall Street investors.

And just to be fair the professor's a materials chemistry professor at MIT.  This isn't some uneducated guy tinkering in his garage lab with minimal resources.  Give the guy some credit, as his work on this has been punished and peer reviewed.  Bill Gates doesn't give money away to every crackpot, Gates sees something that we aren't.

We don't know if what he's working on will work or not, too early to tell.  It's a work in progress.  Sure he's hopeful it will work; I think we all get that.  But hasn't he been working on this for close to 10 years?  Sure seems he and his students have not run into an issue they haven't been able to solve?

I have thought?  Once this battery is charged, can't it be disassembled, transported to another location, and fired up again to produce electricity?  He didn't say this, but I thought he said once the metals solidify it no longer produces electricity? 

 

 

Offline f4eru

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2019, 06:21:23 am »
No cracking or other disintegration of cells since they are liquid?  Really?
The case is made of steel, or stainless steel, so it doesn't melt.

The issues to solve are probably more those of amalgaming, contamination, and secondary unwanted reactions among all the materials present.
Also, good efficiency seems tough to achieve

But still, those batteries are promising.
 

Offline 3roomlab

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2019, 06:42:33 am »
For once I agree with f4eru.  :o
Without taking the quantities into account using 'cheap materials' is a totally meaningless claim. The specific energy (energy stored per kg) of the sodium-sulfur battery is more than twice of that of a Li-ion battery. That (roughly) means that a sodium-sulfur battery needs mining, transporting and processing twice the amount of materials.

That's the energy cost, but what about financial?  Na and S is very easy to come by.

"easy to come by" can be quite misleading.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prices_of_elements_and_their_compounds
I hope nobody will protest the use of wiki prices?

if I/we assume economically abundant = under $10/kg, list of economically abundant under $10 elements
Zn, Si, Sa, O2, N2, Mn, Pb, La, Fe, H2, Cu, Ce, Cl, Cd, As, Ar, Sb, Al (the 2 most expensive of the $10 bracket are H2 (liquid) and Cu).

sulphur ($500), sodium ($250), at $250 (+/- $50) also sits our famous friend lithium and tellurium.
I thought that carbon should be really cheap, but carbon is $24/kg, similar as Sn.

in a 2015 research article done by spatocco, 230pages, 6 years of work. the summary figure of $241/kWh was determined @ page 197
http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/101461/940569439-MIT.pdf

I think spatocco's article is the best representation of the state of molten salt research @ $241/kWh (0.7V cell @ 250C), in the article it also states it has a leakage current density of 0.34mA/cm2, I am not sure how it scales, but lithium battery discharge is around 10-20mA/cm2 (this could be around 5-10A for a 2.7Ah 18650 cell?). @ 0.34mA/cm2 multiply into grid scale, it means not only the battery need to be constantly heated (even when not in use), the high leak rate needs the battery to require a constant top up. I could be very wrong in this method of inference, but I do not think it is far from the ball park (50 to 100mA leak rate? but im not sure, someone else please try the math)


The case is made of steel, or stainless steel, so it doesn't melt.

The issues to solve are probably more those of amalgaming, contamination, and secondary unwanted reactions among all the materials present.
Also, good efficiency seems tough to achieve

But still, those batteries are promising.

see the 230 page pdf, esp page 57, 83, 100
we need to assume, the steel have zero defect. which I think is impossible because unlike SS18 use in normal cutlery, every mm of the surface is important. to inspect everything is a cost. but Im not the expert about this, not sure how they ensure 100% quality. by X-ray? gamma inspection? I did read there was a molten salt battery fire incident (NaS type), the liquid metal leaked and caused actual fire. It was containment fault.

we could compare/imagine what could catatrophically happen if a hole develops in lithium, lead NiMH etc batteries. some lithiums might burn, but a molten salt> hmmm?

I like the science of sadoway developing it, the learning is great. many students learnt from it. but the sales pitch is just funny. aka "I will convert all gigafactories into iron foundries" HAHA! I think by now common sense will tell this is not a battery for everything, but sadoway is pitching it for everything, because it is the sad nature of how investment works.

disclaimer : I actually have zero knowledge about batteries (include memory loss here too). I just saw some videos, read some pdf, and thought this guy goes to great lengths to sell some hot batteries.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 07:24:08 am by 3roomlab »
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Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2019, 09:27:20 am »
The case is made of steel, or stainless steel, so it doesn't melt.

There has to be some sort of insulation between the case and the contents because steel is a conductor.
Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.
 

Offline 3roomlab

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2019, 10:19:04 am »
only at the top
picture of molten salt cell
https://bioage.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c4fbe53ef01b7c8284265970b-600wi
another picture of molten salt cell
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRyBm6VL_IWSkbhFGWLV_UBstIVtJwaoW5YADx4DYyZmhidnpkX7A

page 100 of the 230 page thesis describes that ceramics glasses all break after 1 year of cycling. which is really a short life. I am guessing this is why we do not see 10,000 cycles and 20,000 cycles of test data
but then again, how does vaccuum tubes get such long life?
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 12:36:36 pm by 3roomlab »
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Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2019, 10:40:30 am »
The blue-ish/gray-ish thing is an insulator too. And steel isn't a good conductor has lots of resistivity that adds to the i2r losses.
Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #38 on: January 29, 2019, 11:11:19 am »
The blue-ish/gray-ish thing is an insulator too. And steel isn't a good conductor has lots of resistivity that adds to the i2r losses.
Maybe but there is a lot of steel in the outer casing so the total resistance shouldn't be that high.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline 3roomlab

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #39 on: January 29, 2019, 11:16:00 am »
The blue-ish/gray-ish thing is an insulator too. And steel isn't a good conductor has lots of resistivity that adds to the i2r losses.

that is the conductive molten salt
it is kind of irony I think, to make a better cell, it needs lower internal resistance, but the edges also self discharge faster
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Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #40 on: January 29, 2019, 11:55:31 am »
The blue-ish/gray-ish thing is an insulator too. And steel isn't a good conductor has lots of resistivity that adds to the i2r losses.

that is the conductive molten salt
it is kind of irony I think, to make a better cell, it needs lower internal resistance, but the edges also self discharge faster

I thought it was a container with insulator walls like this (screenshot from the vidjeo):



I was "seeing" it like this in your drawing:



Maybe but there is a lot of steel in the outer casing so the total resistance shouldn't be that high.

Well yes that helps, but its resistivity is 10x higher than copper.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 12:08:12 pm by GeorgeOfTheJungle »
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Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #41 on: January 29, 2019, 12:28:01 pm »
"easy to come by" can be quite misleading.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prices_of_elements_and_their_compounds
I hope nobody will protest the use of wiki prices?

if I/we assume economically abundant = under $10/kg, list of economically abundant under $10 elements
Zn, Si, Sa, O2, N2, Mn, Pb, La, Fe, H2, Cu, Ce, Cl, Cd, As, Ar, Sb, Al (the 2 most expensive of the $10 bracket are H2 (liquid) and Cu).

sulphur ($500), sodium ($250), at $250 (+/- $50) also sits our famous friend lithium and tellurium.
I thought that carbon should be really cheap, but carbon is $24/kg, similar as Sn.

Sulfur is incredibly cheap; that might be the price per ton(ne).

Check the refs.  A lot of those look to be reagent prices, which bear no connection to reality.

Carbon might be that expensive if very pure (possibly... nuclear grade graphite?), but metallurgical grades (such as coke) are in the same bracket as iron.

Similarly, sodium in large quantity is limited by the same economics as aluminum, magnesium and such: it is metallic energy.  I imagine the bulk price remains higher than those, due to smaller production quantities and more hazards to production and transportation.

Funny thing about arsenic, there's a tremendous amount of it available in various areas; supply greatly exceeds demand.  For obvious reasons.  It should give higher voltage in a battery -- but I suspect the cost of using it safely, greatly surpasses its usefulness in the end.


The case is made of steel, or stainless steel, so it doesn't melt.

The issues to solve are probably more those of amalgaming, contamination, and secondary unwanted reactions among all the materials present.

Mg has absolutely no effect on Fe.  In fact, the only connections I know of between the two are both in foundry work:
1. steel containers are used to handle molten magnesium (exactly because it doesn't corrode iron).
2. small additions of magnesium, to cast iron, encourages nodular instead of flaky graphite crystals, making ductile instead of gray iron.  (Graphite has essentially no tensile strength, so flaky graphite crystals embedded in the iron matrix basically act as stress raisers -- myriad microscopic cracks.  Gray iron has no ductility, malleability, and poor tensile strength.  Ductile iron, as the name suggests, improves all of these properties.  Malleable iron, is gray that's been heat treated, producing a similar morphology at the expense of several days' soak at orange-hot temperature.)

What I don't know about, is antimony's effect on steel.  Does it passivate?  Could stress corrosion cracking be a problem?

The most important I think, as hinted in the talk, is the insulator.  Most ceramics have permeability for various ions, at elevated temperature.  Beta Al2O3 for example is used as the sodium ion-bearing electrolyte in NaS batteries.  ZrO2 has oxygen ion mobility, hence its application as a combustion sensor in vehicles ("O2 sensor", but there's no O2 in the exhaust stream of course..).  I don't know offhand what they'd be looking at.  It also needs to have close thermal expansion to the metals it's swaged into.

The terminals could very well end up a dominant part of the cost, needing smaller amounts of much more expensive materials.

Tim
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 12:32:04 pm by T3sl4co1l »
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Offline 3roomlab

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #42 on: January 29, 2019, 12:29:03 pm »
I was "seeing" it like this in your drawing:
Im not sadoway sir  :-DD, that drawing is everywhere everytime you search "molten salts"
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 12:42:44 pm by 3roomlab »
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Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #43 on: January 29, 2019, 12:59:29 pm »
Im not sadoway sir  :-DD, that drawing is everywhere everytime you search "molten salts"

LOL, Here's another drawing with insulator walls (in blue/gray-ish): https://phys.org/news/2016-01-battery-molten-metals-low-cost-long-lasting.html

« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 08:24:14 pm by GeorgeOfTheJungle »
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Offline DougSpindler

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #44 on: January 29, 2019, 05:32:26 pm »
The purification and value of platinum and other rare earth metals.
Early Intel processors have around $50 of gold in them.

https://youtu.be/Fg2WzCzKpYU

https://youtu.be/v5GPWJPLcHg

https://youtu.be/7Tg3bmPTeg4

https://youtu.be/W3bkIkIKKEs
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 06:38:29 pm by DougSpindler »
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #45 on: January 29, 2019, 10:53:32 pm »
Cost per kilogram is one metric for battery materials, but for the primary reactants it seems that cost per mole would be more pertinent.  The point is how many electrons per dollar are contributed, not how many per kilogram.  I put together a short table of the top performers from this point of view.   It is sorted by the cost/mole metric and clearly shows differences from a cost per kilogram metric.

Cost data is from the following source where available.

https://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/

Data is not available on that site for many elements because they are not sold at the commodity level in elemental form.  For those I used the Wikipedia article mentioned above.  There is still some real concern about comparing comparable numbers.  At the usgs site I picked the bulk grade pure element price.  From the Wikipedia article I just picked the mid range price reported.  In general this seems good enough to look at trends, but sure would require more diligence before doing any real work based on this.  At least this is closer to the economic cost of the elements than their relative abundance.

This little bit of research had an interesting sidelight.  A one time neighbor back in the 1980-1990 time period owned and operated the only remaining Tungsten mine in the US.  Was getting killed by Chinese competition.  The USGS site confirmed that there are no remaining US Tungsten mines.

 
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Offline apis

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #46 on: January 29, 2019, 11:54:35 pm »
I'm surprised the price of sodium is really half of the price of silver, as said it would be cumbersome to handle safely, but even so..
The current price per kg is interesting but the price could change a lot with increasing demand.

EDIT:
On Alibaba it is listed for $700-$4500 per metric ton, i.e. $0.7 - $4 /kg. Not sure how accurate those Alibaba prices are either, but I suspect the Wikipedia price must be for small quantities of lab grade, very pure, sodium?

This website says 21000 RMB/ton which is about $3/kg:
http://original.metal.com/metals/productinfo/201102250465

Here is another website that says about $0.33 to $0.44 per kg for metallic sodium:
Quote
Metallic sodium is priced at about 15 to 20 cents/lb in quantity. Reagent grade (ACS) sodium in January 1990 cost about $35/lb. On a volume basis, it is the cheapest of all metals.
https://www.radiochemistry.org/periodictable/elements/11.html
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 03:05:12 pm by apis »
 

Online chickenHeadKnob

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2019, 09:45:17 am »
Cost per kilogram is one metric for battery materials, but for the primary reactants it seems that cost per mole would be more pertinent.  The point is how many electrons per dollar are contributed, not how many per kilogram.  I put together a short table of the top performers from this point of view.   It is sorted by the cost/mole metric and clearly shows differences from a cost per kilogram metric.

Interesting Table. Yes sulphur is so cheap Alberta Bitumen (tar) sands producers can't give that shit away. Note the second picture in the article of the sulphur pyramid.
https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/energy/how-sulphur-is-quietly-posing-one-of-the-most-immediate-threats-to-canadas-oilsands-industry

Another important element missing from your table is Vanadium. Vanadium flow batteries are a thing, and while Vanadium prices recently have spiked there is potential to extract large quantities from the bitumen sands where it is also a  by-product.
http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/shell-canada-delves-into-vanadium-flow-battery-technology/article/519715
https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/vanadium-shell-oilsands-renewables-1.4608208
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #48 on: January 30, 2019, 02:57:22 pm »
 :Sodium and Vanadium illustrate the difficulty (or idiocy) of looking at elemental costs.  These items just aren't produced and shipped as commodities in elemental form.  The prices you find are for salts or oxides.  Obviously Sodium Chloride is dirt cheap, as are other forms.  An industrial scale user of sodium would set up the refinery on site and include that as cost of manufacture.  Maybe over time a market would develop, but sodium is nasty to handle so shipping and storage costs might prevent that from happening.

Vanadium is widely sold in the form of an oxide, and in it's current common use as an alloying element for steel is apparently dumped in the crucible in that form. As uses for the raw metal develop that market might also exist.

It is interesting looking at the USGS page for other reasons.  The scale of these markets is remarkable.  As I recall US consumption of platinum was 220 tons.  Also the mishmash of units.  Pounds.  Kilograms.  Flasks.  Short tons.  Tonnes.  On and on.
 

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Re: Liquid metal batteries - They look very promising and due out next year
« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2019, 03:24:01 pm »
The prices you find are for salts or oxides.  Obviously Sodium Chloride is dirt cheap, as are other forms.  An industrial scale user of sodium would set up the refinery on site and include that as cost of manufacture
Yes. Successful chemical industries find ways to use all the byproducts so it's hard to get an accurate cost estimate. If you were to produce sodium from NaCl you would e.g. have to add the cost of dissociation and subtract the profits from selling the chlorine gas (or you would use the chlorine as a reagent in some other process). There are many different raw materials and processes that you could get metallic sodium from which would yield different byproducts that could be used to produce a number of other chemicals. The industries using it probably won't divulge what it costs them either for business reasons. I.e. it would be very hard to figure out the real cost. But I'm pretty certain that metallic sodium will be very cheap.

This website even says it's the cheapest of all metals:
Quote
Metallic sodium is priced at about 15 to 20 cents/lb in quantity. Reagent grade (ACS) sodium in January 1990 cost about $35/lb. On a volume basis, it is the cheapest of all metals.
https://www.radiochemistry.org/periodictable/elements/11.html
 


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