Future car batteries may rely on wood, lead-carbon components
In the very near future, many of the gas-guzzling dinosaurs that are seen on the roads today will be phased out, deferring to modern hybrid or electric cars equipped with complex auto parts. This comes as little surprise considering the impending need to reduce carbon emissions, but lead-carbon batteries and wood components in sodium-ion batteries being tested and produced today offer significant progress in the race for cleaner vehicles.
Antony Ingram of Green Car Reports explained about the differences in hybrid technology that exists today. Essentially, many brands offer micro-hybrid cars that use stop-start technology to conserve energy while a vehicle is stopped at a stoplight, and mild-hybrids are equipped with the same automation but also have electric motors onboard, allowing for a smaller engine and improving economy.
Lead-carbon components are affordable, durable
According to Ingram, the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium's (ALABC) new lead-carbon battery has all the benefits of traditional nickel or lithium-ion batteries but is even more affordable.
Even more appealing is the battery's length of life: around 100,000 miles. Other benefits include its ability to charge and recharge, and its performance under varying temperatures.
This lead-carbon battery technology is likely to see mass production in two years' time.
Wood as the base for a sodium-ion battery
Further down the pipeline, consumers may be able to source component parts for a sodium-ion battery from wood.
University of Maryland scientists reported in UMD Right Now that present batteries frequently "are too brittle to withstand the swelling and shrinking that happens as electrons are stored in and used up from the battery." Incredibly absorbent, the wood from yellow pine trees is able to store electricity even after hundreds of charges, wrote Sarah Laskow of Grist Magazine.
As opposed to traditional batteries that are heavy earth metal-intensive, this wood innovation keeps costs low and is friendly to the environment. What's more, wood is a renewable resource that can be grown and managed specifically for this industry.
If this battery technology is applied to hybrid or electric vehicles, the positive impact on the environment will be astounding. In addition, the repercussions on the automotive industry would be equally exciting as the new technology undoubtedly will spawn jobs, educational development for automotive services as well as create a huge market for ecologically conscious consumers.
The difficult part will be waiting for this battery technology to become widely available.