Thursday, November 25, 2010

All the Leaves are Brown and the Sky is Grey, the EPA is Dreaming and we are Going to Pay

All the Leaves are Brown and the Sky is Grey, the EPA is Dreaming and we are Going to Pay

More fake science from the company that brought us the Le Car. They made the claim the Leaf will get 100 miles on a charge now the US EPA has measured the real distance the Leaf can travel at only 73 miles on a full charge. The batteries in the Relief only have 24 kilowatts of stored energy. The 73 mile range translates into a unit energy consumption of 328.8 watt hours per mile. This is what I had estimated a year ago and I had blogged that the 100 mile range was a figment of the French imagination just like a victorious army. Now the zinger the idiots at the US EPA will allow the Frogs to place a sticker on the overpriced heap of junk that the voiture d’electric gets 99 miles per gallon.

Here is the news release from AP.

Nissan Leaf runs equivalent of 99 miles per gallon
By KEN THOMAS, Associated Press – Mon Nov 22, 5:13 pm ET
WASHINGTON – The Nissan Leaf, an electric car aimed at attracting environmentally conscious motorists, will get the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, based on government testing.
Nissan Motor Corp. said Monday the Environmental Protection Agency's fuel efficiency window sticker, which provides information about the car's energy use, would estimate the electric car will achieve the equivalent of 106 mpg in city driving and 92 mpg on the highway.
EPA's tests estimate the Leaf can travel 73 miles on a fully charged battery and will cost $561 a year in electricity. Nissan has said the Leaf can travel 100 miles on a full charge, based on tests used by California regulators.
Nissan and General Motors Co. are both releasing electric cars within weeks in the auto industry's most prominent attempt at mass-producing vehicles that shift away from petroleum. The Leaf does not have a gas engine and must be recharged once its battery is depleted.
The tests show equivalent fuel efficiency of nearly twice the Toyota Prius, which gets 50 mpg in combined driving.
GM's entry, the Chevrolet Volt, uses an electric battery for the first 25 to 50 miles and a small gasoline engine to generate electricity once the battery runs down. The gasoline engine can generate power to run the car another 300 miles. GM has not yet revealed the mileage rating for the Volt.
Mark Perry, Nissan North America's director of product planning and strategy, said the vehicle's range would vary based on driving conditions. Tests conducted by the Federal Trade Commission, which regulates advertising claims, had estimated a range of 96 to 110 miles per full charge and the company's internal tests had found a broader range of 64 to 138 miles, Perry said. The California Air Resources Board estimated a range of 100 miles.
"As we've said all along, your range varies on driving conditions, temperature, terrain and we've talked about, very openly, this idea of a range of ranges," Perry said in an interview. The Leaf's label will indicate the vehicle is the best in class in fuel efficiency and tailpipe emissions.
Nissan will start selling the Leaf in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee in December with a sticker price of $32,780. The Leaf will go on sale in other markets through 2011 and be available nationwide by the end of next year.
The Volt will have a sticker price of $41,000 and GM will sell it first in California, then make it available in New York; New Jersey; Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; Michigan and Texas. The car will be sold nationwide in 12 to 18 months.
Both vehicles qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Some states and communities are offering additional tax breaks that will lower the price further.
GM spokesman Greg Martin said the automaker was working with EPA and expected to announce details of the Volt's mileage estimates soon.
EPA calculated the Leaf's fuel economy based on a formula that says 33.7 kilowatts per hour holds the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline. The label estimates a charging time of 7 hours on a 240-volt charge. Cost estimates were based on 15,000 miles per year at 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

OK so the US EPA says a gallon of gasoline holds 33.7 kilowatt hours and the Leaf needed 24 kilowatt hours to travel 73 miles. The idiots at EPA then do the math of 33.7 times 73 divide 24 and viola ce sa they get 102.5 mpg. Now my thermodynamic friends how did the EPA pull of this slight of hand. Well of course a gallon of gas has 115,000 BTU which equals 33.7 kilowatt hours at a rate of 3,412 BTU/kwh. But first to get 24 kwh of direct current energy into the battery one needs 26.67 kwh of alternating current energy from the grid. But the electrical energy was not generated with 100% efficiency from a fossil fuel. The US DOE reports that the average kwh of electricity generated by natural gas over the past 12 months to the grid required 7,234 BTUs. Therefore if one applies the 10% loss for AC transmission and distribution and converting from AC to DC plus the energy lost in electric power generation one gets the real equivalent fuel efficiency of 43.5 MPG. Of course this is better than Arne’s Bummer but the 99 MPG is pure fantasy of pathological liars at the EPA who believe that the President of the Ignited States can mandate out any real thermodynamics and wish that the French will save America. France is a minor economic power and the Leaf is a minor automotive power that is not as efficient as the Prius, The Leaf cost 50% more than a Prius and will last on the market about as long as a Dauphine or a La Car.

I also see that Alaric Galoric has now admitted to corn ethanol as a failure. More on that in my next blog. I bet old Alaric was the one who provided the EPA in conveniently untrue formula for MPG calculations of the E vehicles as of course EPA stands for Electricity Produced by Alaric.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My US Senate Outside Witness Testimony

Here is what I submitted to the US Senate many months back as Senator Hatch was hatching his plans with Raser Technologies that the Utah based US company had invented a 100 mpg Hummer. Sadly nobody listened. No doubt in all of our minds now that the 100 MPG Hummer is about as real as Fancy Nancy speaking for the house. GM went public this week and they have rid themselves of the Hummer, their idiotic management, their wild dream of the the hydrogen car, and are concentrating on smaller lighter and more efficient internal combustion engine vehicles. They got a real education in thermodynamics while they were reading Chapter 11. AONE is bleeding red ink and their unit costs for batteries are increasing rather than decreasing. They will never have a learning curve as they have a collective IQ three below plankton, their shareholders have a collective IQ four below plankton. Below is my letter to the US Senate

Lindsay Leveen (as an individual)
Submitted To the Senate Subcommittee For Energy and Water Development
OWT on the Subject of plug in vehicles that require rechargeable lithium batteries.
An Essay on the Thermodynamics and Economics of Lithium Batteries
My name is Lindsay Leveen. I am a chemical engineer and my interest is to apply my scientific knowledge to alternate energy sources. My graduate work involved the study thermodynamics. Over the last 35 years my work has been in cryogenics, microelectronic device fabrication, nanotechnology development, fuel cell fabrication, and most recently biotechnology.

Purpose: The purpose of this essay is to provide the subcommittee with reasoning based on thermodynamics why lithium batteries will likely not lower in cost and therefore why plug in passenger vehicles will probably not make any significant dent in the consumption of gasoline and diesel. I wish to prevent the waste of precious resources on a technology that I believe is headed toward a dead end.
I have no commercial interest in any energy or battery technology and am writing this essay as a citizen simply to inform the Senate Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development of the severe thermodynamic limitations of Lithium Secondary Batteries and therefore the probable long term unaffordable economics associated with plug in passenger vehicles (cars and trucks) that will rely upon these batteries. Much of this report is taken from my presentations, reports, and publications or from my website .

Thermodynamics – definition: “the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy or work, and the conversion of one into the other: modern thermodynamics deals with the properties of systems for the description of which temperature is a necessary coordinate.” (

Moore’s Law and Learning Rates for Technologies: Gordon Moore one of the founders of Intel Corporation, postulated that semiconductor integrated circuits would enjoy a doubling in performance in a period of every 18 months. This rate of learning allows performance to be improved exponentially with time for the same original cost.
Many technologies that engineers and scientists develop need a “Moore’s Law” in order to improve their performance and correspondingly their economics to capture vast markets. Most efforts around the improvement of alternate energy technologies vis a vis competing with fossil fuels have not yielded these “Moore’s Law” rates of learning. In particular for the past decade as much as six billion dollars has been spent without any real success toward the “learning curve” of PEM fuel cells. Much of these six billion dollars was appropriated by the Federal Government. The learning curve for PEM fuel cells over the past decade yielded a yearly learning rate of less than 2%. By comparison the Moore’s Law yearly learning rate for integrated circuits has averaged over 40% for more than three decades.

My experience with Moore’s Law: For almost twenty years I directed teams of engineers that designed state of the art Integrated Circuit (IC) fabrication facilities that helped drive this rapid rate of learning and therefore cost improvement in computers and other electronic devices. A simple explanation for the high learning rates in IC fabrication is that the technology was neither constrained by thermodynamics nor reaction kinetics but simply by the line width of circuits within the ICs. To drive Moore’s law in IC fabrication improvements in lithography, higher purity gases for deposition, implantation, and etch, as well as the occasional increase in the size of wafer being fabricated were needed.

Moore’s Law, Thermodynamics and Lithium Batteries: To drive the learning rate in PEM fuel cells and similarly lithium secondary batteries thermodynamic and reaction kinetic constraints have to be overcome. The reason why thermodynamics places constraints is that the functioning of these systems depends on chemical reactions. Thermodynamics determines how much useful energy can be derived from a chemical reaction. But we know that the thermodynamic constraints cannot be overcome as the laws of thermodynamics cannot be challenged nor avoided. ICs do not undergo chemical reactions to function, but all batteries and fuel cells do involve chemical reactions to deliver energy. It is these chemical reactions that are limiting the possible learning rate.

The Resulting Economic Problem: Significant effort and much money is now being spent on advanced batteries for plug in full electric or plug in hybrid vehicles. Such vehicles will require between 10 kilowatt hours and 50 kilowatt hours of stored electricity if the range of the vehicle purely propelled on stored electricity is to be between 40 and 200 miles. Lithium chemistry based secondary (chargeable) batteries presently offer the best performance on a weight and volume basis and are therefore the primary technology that a “Moore’s law” is now hoped for to solve the world’s addiction to fossil oil. Present costs of such battery packs at the retail level range from $800 per kilowatt hour of storage to over $2,000 per kilowatt hour of storage. One can purchase a 48 volt 20 amp hour Ping Battery for an electric bicycle directly from this Chinese “manufacturer” for less than $800 delivered by UPS to any address in the USA. A123 offers a battery system that will modify a standard Prius to a 5 kilowatt hour plug in Prius for $11,000 or around $2,200 per kilowatt hour fully installed by a service station in San Francisco. The Ping battery delivers much less instantaneous power (watts) and that is the reason their batteries are less expensive on a stored energy basis (watt hours) than are the A 123 batteries. Both the Ping and the A123 batteries claim safety and claim to be manufactured with phosphate technology that will neither short circuit nor burn.

Economic Case Study The Example The Standard Prius vs Plug in Prius: The following is an economic analysis of a standard Prius versus a plug in Prius using A 123’s lithium battery pack;
The standard Prius will get 50 MPG and let’s assume that the driver drives 12,000 miles a year. The standard Prius driver will need to purchase 240 gallons a year of gasoline at an estimated cost of $720 per year with gasoline at selling for $3 per gallon. If the driver purchased the A 123 plug in system and can recharge the system at home and at work such that half the mileage driven in a year is on batteries and half is on gasoline the driver will save $360 a year on gasoline. The driver will need to buy some 2,000 kilowatt hours a year of electricity from the grid in order to save this gasoline. At 10 cents per kilowatt hour the driver will spend $200 a year for electric power and will therefore only enjoy $160 a year in net operating savings. The $11,000 set of batteries have a maximum expected life of 8 years and the owner must set aside $1,375 a year for battery replacement without accounting for the time value of money. The battery replacement cost is simply too expensive to justify the savings in gasoline. How high do gasoline costs have to rise and how little do batteries have to cost to make the plug in viable? Let’s assume gas prices reach $6 per gallon and electricity remains at 10 cents a kilowatt hours we have a yearly operating savings of $520. These savings will still be far short of the money needed for battery replacement.

The A 123 batteries will need to drop to 15% of their present cost to make the proposition of converting a Prius to a plug in “worthwhile”. To reach this cost target in a decade one needs a yearly learning rate of approximately 26%. With 35 years of work experience, I have concluded that in the best case of battery costs (no inflation in raw materials) a 4 or 5% yearly learning rate could be achieved over the next decade. But if we believe that gasoline will double then we also have to assume that plastics, copper, cobalt, nickel, graphite, etc. will also double in unit cost. As raw materials account for three quarters of the manufacturing cost of lithium batteries the inflation adjusted cost will grow at a higher yearly rate than the learning rate will lower costs. My prognostication is therefore that lithium secondary batteries will likely cost more per unit of energy stored in 2020 than they do today.

Toyota is a company well known for its cars with improved fuel economy and therefore is a master of thermodynamics and must have “optimized” the cost and performance of its batteries in the standard Prius deploying a relatively small battery pack and with the choice of Nickel Metal Hydride chemistry rather than lithium chemistry. While Toyota may be experiencing safety problems no one can fault this company on fuel efficiency. Other car companies such as Ford have also chosen Nickel Metal Hydride as their hybrid car battery platform. Fisker and GM are touting plug in hybrids with lithium batteries and are much more aggressive in their claims of cost improvement and their ability to drive “Moore’s Law” in their battery systems. My educated guess on all of this is that Toyota, Ford and the car manufacturers that stick with smaller nickel metal hydride battery systems and the traditional non plug in hybrid will sell tens of millions of such vehicles over the next decade. Renault, GM, Fisker, Tesla, and others who go for plug in hybrids or full electric vehicles will only sell a few tens of thousands of vehicles in the next decade. I simply believe we will not have “Moore’s Law” at play here but have a very fractional Moore’s Law that holds.

Argonne National Labs published an exhaustive review of the materials and associated costs of lithium batteries back in May of 2000. The total material cost for the cell was estimated at $1.28 and the total manufacturing cost of the cell including overhead and labor was estimated at $1.70. This Argonne report is perhaps the best report written on the economics associated with lithium battery fabrication. Actually had folks read this report back in 2000 they would have realized that the learning curve for lithium batteries would be painfully slow. Materials just make up far too much of a fraction of the battery cost and the quantity of materials is fixed by the chemistry. Therefore economies of scale could not drive a Moore’s Law type rate of learning and a very fractional Moore’s Law resulted. In the early years of lithium cell development from approximately 1990 to 2000, the improvements in chemistry and in economies of scale did allow the technology to enjoy a Moore’s Law type learning rate and it has been reported that costs of an 18650 cell reduced from $18 to $2 per cell in that decade. Unfortunately the technology has now hit an asymptote in their cost reduction curve.
Just by doing a Google search on an 18650 lithium ion battery I came across this link . This site lists a selling price of $5.29 each for 200 or more cells. The cells are 3.7 volts with 2.2 amp hours so they are capable of holding 8.1 watt hours of energy from full charge to discharge. Expressed in cost per kilowatt hour of nominal capacity these loose cells cost around $650. My guess is that if applied today’s costs of cobalt, nickel, lithium, lithium salts, plastics, copper, graphite, and other constituent materials that make up a cell, the material cost in November 2009 compared with May 2000 have increased by more than 150% and a current estimate of the materials used in the Argonne labs report will show cost of about $3 per cell versus $1.28 back in May 2000. Hence this company sells the cells for $5.29 each. From my previous analysis of the probable learning rate I would not surprised if in 2020 the selling price per 18650 lithium cell is as high as $6 rather than as low as $3.

Conclusion: Lithium batteries are and will remain best suited for items as small as a cell phone and as large as a bicycle. The cost relative to performance or these batteries will likely not improve by much in the coming decade. Although some standard hybrid vehicles may use lithium batteries with low capacity, plug in vehicles with larger than 10 mile range of travel on batteries will likely not proliferate. Given the likely scenario that plug in passenger cars and trucks based on lithium battery technology will not reduce US consumption of gasoline and diesel fuel in large measure, I am asking the subcommittee to limit the funds that the US government will appropriate for research and development of this technology.
Thank you

Lindsay Leveen

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

National Academy Agrees With Green Machine

I have to boast that once again the Green Machine was years ahead of the National academy in determining that lithium ion batteries will be a betamax. Time to short Teslacle they have hyped their stock back to near 30 that they are on schedule to produce the S sedan. The fools on the street took this to mean that they are on budget as well as schedule. They will never be on budget as their batteries will not cost less. I say it is about a year before Teslacle get castrated and we have to continue with Castrol Motor Oil. Glad to see that Reaser the wealth eraser was delisted from the NYSE. Tell Senator Hatch (Utah) that his support of this thermodynamic joke was a badly Hatched plan

here is an article on the National Academy and Lithium Ion Batteries from the Wall Street Journal

The push to get electric cars on the road is backed by governments and auto makers around the world, but they face a big hurdle: the stubbornly high cost of the giant battery packs, which can account for half the cost of an electric vehicle.
Both the industry and government are betting that a quick takeoff in electric-car sales will drive down the battery prices. But a number of scientists and automotive engineers believe cost reductions will be hard to come by.
Unlike with tires or toasters, battery packs aren't likely to enjoy traditional economies of scale as their makers ramp up production, the scientists and engineers say.
A123 Systems in Michigan is counting on demand for electric cars despite the steep cost of its battery packs.

These experts say increased production of batteries means the price of the key metals used in their manufacture will remain steady—or maybe even rise—at least in the short term. They also say the price of the electronic parts used in battery packs as well as the enclosures that house the batteries aren't likely to decline appreciably.
The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal of bringing down car-battery costs by 70% from last year's price by 2014.
Jay Whitacre, a battery researcher and technology policy analyst at Carnegie Mellon University, said in an interview the government's goals "are aggressive and worth striving for, but they are not attainable in the next three to five years." He predicted "it will be a decade at least" before that price reduction is reached.
Current industry estimates say the battery pack in the all-electric Nissan Leaf compact car coming out in December costs Nissan Motor Co. about $15,600.
That cost will make it difficult for the Leaf, which is priced at $33,000, to turn a profit. And it also may make the Leaf a tough sell, since even with federal tax breaks of $7,500, the car will cost almost twice the $13,520 starting price of the similar-size Nissan Versa hatchback.

Nissan won't comment on the price of the battery packs, except to say that the first versions of the Leaf won't make money. Only later, when the company begins mass-producing the battery units in 2013, will the car be profitable, according to Nissan.
The Japanese company believes it can cut battery costs through manufacturing scale. It is building a plant in Smyrna, Tenn., that will have the capacity to assemble up to 200,000 packs a year.
Other proponents of electric vehicles agree that battery costs will fall as production ramps up. "They will come down by a factor of two, if not more, in the next five years," said David Vieau, chief executive officer of A123 Systems of Watertown, Mass., a battery maker that recently opened a plant in Livonia, Mich.
Alex Molinaroli, president of Johnson Controls Inc.'s battery division, is confident it can reduce the cost of producing batteries by 50% in the next five years, though the company won't say what today's cost is. The cost reduction by one of the world's biggest car-battery makers will mostly come from efficient factory management, cutting waste and other management-related expenses, not from any fundamental improvement of battery technology, he said.
But researchers such as Mr. Whitacre, the National Academies of Science and even some car makers aren't convinced, mainly because more than 30% of the cost of the batteries comes from metals such as nickel, manganese and cobalt. (Lithium makes up only a small portion of the metals in the batteries.)
Prices for these metals, which are set on commodities markets, aren't expected to fall with increasing battery production—and may even rise as demand grows, according to a study by the Academies of Science released earlier this year and engineers familiar with battery production.
Lithium-ion battery cells already are mass produced for computers and cellphones and the costs of the batteries fell 35% from 2000 through 2008—but they haven't gone down much more in recent years, according to the Academies of Science study.
The Academies and Toyota Motor Corp. have publicly said they don't think the Department of Energy goals are achievable and that cost reductions are likely to be far lower. It likely will be 20 years before costs fall 50%—not the three or so years the DOE projects for an even greater reduction—according to an Academies council studying battery costs. The council was made up of nearly a dozen researchers in the battery field.
"Economies of scale are often cited as a factor that can drive down costs, but hundreds of millions to billions of ... [battery] cells already are being produced in optimized factories. Building more factories is unlikely to have a great impact on costs," the Academies report said.
The report added that the cost of the battery-pack enclosure that holds the cells is a major portion of the total battery-pack cost, and isn't likely to come down much.
In addition, battery packs include electronic sensors and controls that regulate the voltage moving through and the heat being generated by the cells. Since those electronics already are mass-produced commodities, their prices may not fall much with higher production, the study said.
Lastly, the labor involved in assembling battery packs is expensive because employees need to be more highly trained than traditional factory staff because they work in a high-voltage environment. That means labor costs are unlikely to drop, said a senior executive at one battery manufacturer.
When car makers began using nickel-metal hydride batteries, an older technology, in their early hybrid vehicles, the cost of the packs fell only 11% from 2000 to 2006 and has seen little change since, according to the Academies study.
Toyota executives, including Takeshi Uchiyamada, global chief of engineering, say their experience with nickel-metal hydride batteries makes them skeptical that the prices of lithium ion battery pack prices will fall substantially.
"The cost reductions aren't attainable even in the next 10 years," said Menahem Anderman, principal of Total Battery Consulting Inc., a California-based battery research firm. "We still don't know how much it will cost to make sure the batteries meet reliability, safety and durability standards. And now we are trying to reduce costs, which automatically affect those first three things."