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Earth Energy Batteries

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Walter Hofmann:
hi sam,
there is a direct connection between the positiv ( copper) and the zinc. in order to get more out the copper allways seams to be in a ratio of more then 1:60 to 80 in regards to the surface area. if the zinc surface area is bigger then the voltage will go down between 0.15 and 0.4 V.
I did even build a copper square canal type with the size of 8 X 10 X 36 inches, with a 3/8 square zinc bar it brought about 1 V and 10 mA but only if I hold it wet if it is dry it only whould be 0,4V and 2 mA.
it is not worth the effort for me.

not to mention the fact that the result is a pile of zinc oxide.  Good for sunscreen....

take a look


When I was in the navy, one of the things we did as gas turbine engineers was corrosion control through zinc anodes.  There were plates in the bilge and other places where moisture(and especially salt water) might accumulate.  As we took advantage of the ocean waters for cooling we placed annodes in the coolant lines to forstall the corrosion of our cooler tube bundles.

One such instance that comes to mind is the cooler for our Allison Gas turbine engines that we used for power generators.  Once a month we would replace a string of annodes that screwed together to form a rod.  Depending on the particular ocean we were in and its salinity, our anodes were corroded.  Most times severly.  I remember a significant loss of zinc over the course of one month, and this is where my misgivings about earth bateries comes from.

How much zinc is lost per unit of power in these earth bateries, and given the cost of zinc what does that translate to as far as dollars per unit of power.  If there is something I am missing, such as that you have an anode that works without the resulting corrosion, then that would be a breakthrough indeed and I would definately be listening.

I don't want this taken as a rant against further research into the principles of earth bateries, merely an illumination of the actual problems.  They work, to be sure, but they are relatively short lived for the materials necessary.  Conventional bateries have been more developed over the years(mainly, I believe, because portability has been a major selling point for the industry) and by unit of material sacrificed, are more reliable and more efficient.  Could the same be done for earth bateries?...I am sure of it.  Is it worth it?...that is the purpose of the questions above.


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