[chbot] Batteries

Marshland Engineering marshland at marshland.co.nz
Tue Jan 18 03:26:08 GMT 2022

What do inmates think ? Passed on from someone else. 

Long, but an interesting read. I guess we might just as well continue to burn
fossil fuels since we create more havoc trying to go green than it's worth. I
can't help but think that we're at our peak as humans and we'll soon self

  I thought this was SO good (10 out of 10) and had to pass it on.  Hope those
in government and the ‘Green’ people will see how they are hurting us all and
our plant as well.

Are batteries really “Green”?

When I saw the title of this lecture, especially with the picture of the
scantily clad model, I couldn’t resist attending.  The packed auditorium was
abuzz with questions about the address; nobody seemed to know what to expect.
The only hint was a large aluminum block sitting on a sturdy table on the

When the crowd settled down, a scholarly-looking man walked out and put his
hand on the shiny block, “Good evening,” he said, “I am here to introduce
NMC532-X,” and he patted the block, “we call him NM for short,” and the man
smiled proudly. “NM is a typical electric vehicle (EV) car battery in every
way except one; we programmed him to send signals of the internal movements of
his electrons when charging, discharging, and in several other conditions. We
wanted to know what it feels like to be a battery. We don’t know how it
happened, but NM began to talk after we downloaded the program.

Despite this ability, we put him in a car for a year and then asked him if
he’d like to do presentations about batteries. He readily agreed on the
condition he could say whatever he wanted. We thought that was fine, and so,
without further ado, I’ll turn the floor over to NM,” the man turned and
walked off the stage.

“Good evening,” NM said. He had a slightly affected accent, and when he spoke,
he lit up in different colors. “That cheeky woman on the marquee was my idea,”
he said. “Were she not there, along with ‘naked’ in the title, I’d likely be
speaking to an empty auditorium! I also had them add ‘shocking’ because it’s a
favorite word amongst us batteries.” He flashed a light blue color as he

“Sorry,” NM chuckled, then continued, “Three days ago, at the start of my last
lecture, three people walked out. I suppose they were disappointed there would
be no dancing girls. But here is what I noticed about them. One was wearing a
battery-powered hearing aid, one tapped on his battery-powered cell phone as
he left, and a third got into his car, which would not start without a
battery. So, I’d like you to think about your day for a moment; how many
batteries do you rely on?”

He paused for a full minute which gave us time to count our batteries.  Then
he went on, “Now, it is not elementary to ask, ‘what is a battery?’ I think
Tesla said it best when they called us Energy Storage Systems. That’s
important. We do not make electricity – we store electricity produced
elsewhere, primarily by coal, uranium, natural gas-powered plants, or
diesel-fueled generators. So to say an EV is a zero-emission vehicle is not at
all valid. Also, since forty percent of the electricity generated in the U.S.
is from coal-fired plants, it follows that forty percent of the EVs on the
road are coal-powered, do you see?”

He flashed blue again. “Einstein’s formula, E=MC2, tells us it takes the same
amount of energy to move a five-thousand-pound gasoline-driven automobile a
mile as it does an electric one. The only question again is what produces the
power? To reiterate, it does not come from the battery; the battery is only
the storage device, like a gas tank in a car.”

He lit up red when he said that, and I sensed he was smiling. Then he
continued in blue and orange. “Mr. Elkay introduced me as NMC532. If I were
the battery from your computer mouse, Elkay would introduce me as double-A, if
from your cell phone as CR2032, and so on. We batteries all have the same name
depending on our design. By the way, the ‘X’ in my name stands for

There are two orders of batteries, rechargeable, and single-use. The most
common single-use batteries are A, AA, AAA, C, D. 9V, and lantern types. Those
dry-cell species use zinc, manganese, lithium, silver oxide, or zinc and
carbon to store electricity chemically. Please note they all contain toxic,
heavy metals.

Rechargeable batteries only differ in their internal materials, usually
lithium-ion, nickel-metal oxide, and nickel-cadmium.

The United States uses three billion of these two battery types a year, and
most are not recycled; they end up in landfills. California is the only state
which requires all batteries be recycled. If you throw your small, used
batteries in the trash, here is what happens to them.

All batteries are self-discharging.  That means even when not in use, they
leak tiny amounts of energy. You have likely ruined a flashlight or two from
an old ruptured battery. When a battery runs down and can no longer power a
toy or light, you think of it as dead; well, it is not. It continues to leak
small amounts of electricity. As the chemicals inside it run out, pressure
builds inside the battery’s metal casing, and eventually, it cracks. The
metals left inside then ooze out. The ooze in your ruined flashlight is toxic,
and so is the ooze that will inevitably leak from every battery in a landfill.
All batteries eventually rupture; it just takes rechargeable batteries longer
to end up in the landfill.

In addition to dry cell batteries, there are also wet cell ones used in
automobiles, boats, and motorcycles. The good thing about those is, ninety
percent of them are recycled. Unfortunately, we do not yet know how to recycle
batteries like me or care to dispose of single-use ones properly.

But that is not half of it.  For those of you excited about electric cars and
a green revolution, I want you to take a closer look at batteries and also
windmills and solar panels. These three technologies share what we call
environmentally destructive embedded costs.”

NM got redder as he spoke. “Everything manufactured has two costs associated
with it, embedded costs and operating costs. I will explain embedded costs
using a can of baked beans as my subject.

In this scenario, baked beans are on sale, so you jump in your car and head
for the grocery store. Sure enough, there they are on the shelf for $1.75 a
can. As you head to the checkout, you begin to think about the embedded costs
in the can of beans.

The first cost is the diesel fuel the farmer used to plow the field, till the
ground, harvest the beans, and transport them to the food processor. Not only
is his diesel fuel an embedded cost, so are the costs to build the tractors,
combines, and trucks. In addition, the farmer might use a nitrogen fertilizer
made from natural gas.

Next is the energy costs of cooking the beans, heating the building,
transporting the  workers, and paying for the vast amounts of electricity used
to run the plant. The steel can holding the beans is also an embedded cost.
Making the steel can requires mining taconite, shipping it by boat, extracting
the iron, placing it in a coal-fired blast furnace, and adding carbon. Then
it’s back on another truck to take the beans to the grocery store. Finally,
add in the cost of the gasoline for your car.

But wait - can you guess one of the highest but rarely acknowledged embedded
costs?” NM said, then gave us about thirty seconds to make our guesses. Then
he flashed his lights and said, “It’s the depreciation on the 5000 pound car
you used to transport one pound of canned beans!”

NM took on a golden glow, and I thought he might have winked. He said, “But
that  can of beans is nothing compared to me! I am hundreds of times more
complicated. My embedded costs not only come in the form of energy use; they
come as environmental destruction, pollution, disease, child labor, and the
inability to be recycled.”

He paused, “I weigh one thousand pounds, and as you see, I am about the size
of a travel trunk.” NM’s lights showed he was serious. “I contain twenty-five
pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds
cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic.
Inside me are 6,831 individual lithium-ion cells.

It should concern you that all those toxic components come from mining. For
instance, to manufacture each auto battery like me, you must process 25,000
pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000
pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told,
you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for just - one - battery.”

He let that one sink in, then added, “I mentioned disease and child labor a
moment ago. Here’s why. Sixty-eight percent of the world’s cobalt, a
significant part of a battery, comes from the Congo. Their mines have no
pollution controls and they employ children who die from handling this toxic
material. Should we factor in these diseased kids as part of the cost of
driving an electric car?”

NM’s red and orange light made it look like he was on fire. “Finally,” he
said, “I’d like to leave you with these thoughts. California is building the
largest battery in the world near San Francisco, and they intend to power it
from solar panels and windmills. They claim this is the ultimate in being
‘green,’ but it is not! This construction project is creating an environmental
disaster. Let me tell you why.

The main problem with solar arrays is the chemicals needed to process silicate
into the silicon used in the panels. To make pure enough silicon requires
processing it with hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen
fluoride, trichloroethane, and acetone. In addition, they also need gallium,
arsenide, copper-indium-gallium- diselenide, and cadmium-telluride, which also
are highly toxic. Silicon dust is a hazard to the workers, and the panels
cannot be recycled.

Windmills are the ultimate in embedded costs and environmental destruction.
Each weighs 1688 tons (the equivalent of 23 houses) and contains 1300 tons of
concrete, 295 tons of steel, 48 tons of iron, 24 tons of fiberglass, and the
hard to extract rare earths neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium. Each
blade weighs 81,000 pounds and will last 15 to 20 years, at which time it must
be replaced. We cannot recycle used blades. Sadly, both solar arrays and
windmills kill birds, bats, sea life, and migratory insects.

NM lights dimmed, and he quietly said, “There may be a place for these
technologies, but you must look beyond the myth of zero emissions. I predict
EVs and windmills will be abandoned once the embedded environmental costs of
making and replacing them become apparent.

I’m trying to do my part with these lectures.  As you can see, if I had
entitled this talk “The Embedded Costs of Going Green,” who would have come? 
But thank you for your attention, good night, and good luck.”

NM’s lights went out, and he was quiet, like a regular battery.

Thanking you
Wallace Weideman
Marshland Engineering
704 Marshland Road
03 3237449


On 18/01/2022 at 1:00 a.m., chchrobotics-request at lists.ourshack.com wrote:
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>   1. Tonight's meeting (Robin Gilks)
>   2. Re: Tonight's meeting (ceo at andygardner.com)
>Message: 1
>Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2022 23:33:47 +1300
>From: Robin Gilks <gb7ipd at gmail.com>
>To: Christchurch Robotics <chchrobotics at lists.ourshack.com>
>Subject: [chbot] Tonight's meeting
>	<CAPfE9Uhz4zLpHf-cC1KHUwt+=wWDAdcjOd-8_tP7gNNSK4FJWA at mail.gmail.com>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>I'd like to apologize for my presentation this evening - I had no idea the
>projector was such a low resolution so my planned split window setup was a
>non-starter with hardly room for a single display and certainly not 2
>side-by-side. As it was I missed about 70% of what I had planned as there
>was no way to get it up on screen.
>If anyone is interested I can have another go after practicing at 1024x768
>rather than the pair of 2560x1440 monitors I usually use!!
>Robin Gilks
>-------------- next part --------------
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>Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2022 23:47:44 +1300
>From: "ceo at andygardner.com" <ceo at andygardner.com>
>To: chchrobotics at lists.ourshack.com
>Subject: Re: [chbot] Tonight's meeting
>Message-ID: <f4c4ba68-7072-c6b9-ea87-10555d1a533b at andygardner.com>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed
>I've been prodding branch 05 for quite some time to replace the old HD
projector with a LARGE 4k TV so it can be used without having to switch the
lights off.
>One day...
>On 17/01/22 23:33, Robin Gilks wrote:
>> I'd like to apologize for my presentation this evening - I had no idea the
projector was such a low resolution so my planned split window setup was a
non-starter with hardly room for a single display and certainly not 2
side-by-side. As it was I missed about 70% of what I had planned as there was
no way to get it up on screen.
>Subject: Digest Footer
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