Battery Boom for Electric Cars, Trucks and Half the Grid by 2040

Tesla Battery Day had the goal of the world producing 20 TWh per year of low cost, high energy density batteries. Reaching this goal would enable all new cars, buses, and trucks to be electric and it allows solar and wind power to provide around half of the energy supply.

IEA (International Energy Agency) have projections of these kinds of goals in 2070-2080.

The Bloomberg New Energy Fund is far more optimistic than the IEA. In 2018, the BloombergNEF Vehicle Outlook for 2030 was for sales of electric cars to be 28% and 84% of electric buses of annual new vehicle sales. The Tesla Battery Future would be to reach 2030 electric vehicle share of new vehicle sales at 100% cars, 80% trucks, and 100%.

Getting 100% of new car sales is only the beginning as there is about 20 years’ worth of cars on the world’s roads.

If electric vehicles end up having a far lower operating cost that improves too much that they replace the internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The number of electric vehicle sales could go to 200% of annual ICE vehicle sales if the economic benefits encourage a more rapid replacement of older vehicles. The reduction of vehicle miles driven (usage) of the non-electric vehicles would determine how much CO2 emissions are reduced. It will also matter how clean the energy is that we use to charge up the global fleet of electric vehicles. If electric cars are still charged with coal and natural gas power then the cars would only be about 70-80% of the CO2 level of gasoline cars.

Multiple terawatt-hours of batteries per year would allow a far higher share of solar and wind. We could store the energy generated around during the day to evening and nighttime.

Converting all cars, trucks and buses and getting rid of almost all coal and natural gas power would cut in half the annual global CO2 emissions.

Written By Brian Wang,

27 thoughts on “Battery Boom for Electric Cars, Trucks and Half the Grid by 2040”

  1. If CO2 emissions pose such a dire immediate threat to humanity, then a "carbon tax" makes no sense. The government of any nation that is serious about saving the Earth from climate change, already has the authority to immediately end use of all fossil fuels in their country any time they choose to. Yet none have done so. A "carbon tax" does not eliminate CO2 emissions. It's simply a way for governments to collect additional tax revenues in return for allowing continued CO2 emissions. Pure government greed.

  2. You should take the future of the Earth seriously, IMHO, altho I cannot force you to. So, just don't deny what you have said later.

  3. Such a system would work only if using the energy potential of the hydrogen to make the fuel from CO2 AND to capture the CO2 from the exhaust. The hydrogen would need to be created by a separate carbon neutral energy source – renewable or nuclear.

    The only value of converting 'clean' energy to hydrogen to use in this manner would be to store energy for later consumption when energy from renewables or nuclear isn't available or sufficient. It'd be much more efficient to just burn the hydrogen directly. Possibly converting to a hydrocarbon fuel would be sufficiently easier to store to make the large energy losses worth considering, but it seems unlikely.

  4. I am addressing the ability to eliminate co2 from gas fired power plants not creating fuel for ice engines. The co2 captured and combined with hydrogen would be fed back into the power plant to produce electricity for consumption. This is a co2 neutral solution but it would eliminate the ability to use the generation of carbon at power plants as a source to generate a carbon tax to be used to fund non power sources.

  5. At very best, physical lithium chemistries would top out theoretically (atomic valence limits) at 2400 Wh/l. No one expects to achieve more than 1200 Wh/l. = ~3 times current best commercial implementations. This works for ground transport.

    Not for aircraft, and will never get us anything better than electric air taxis. Fuel cells even worse.

    If we want to generate the megawatts needed to power a large airplane for flights of at least several hours, we would have to improve current battery technology at least 10-fold. Even with energy density five times greater than what current electric vehicles can offer, a long-distance flight (3,000 km) would require 170 metric tons of batteries, compared with the 80 metric tons maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of an Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 class jetliner.

    This will require either completely different chemistries, or a promising technology like thermionic direct thermal to electric conversion, running on hydrogen. Lots of folks work on the hydrogen part. Only a handful on thermionics.

  6. Yes, it is almost backwards from what you would think. The rectennae are the easy part, in that they are structurally just a ~6 inch spaced grid of wires on poles. Only where the wires cross is any "electronics", an insulator and stand up antenna/rectifier element. Wires pretty hard to blow down or break with hail, don't get dusty, don't shade you crops, far cheaper than panels on the ground. The panels in Space or on the Moon, however, have few of these problems, can be very very thin and light, and are in much better sunlight. This is starting to sound like a good idea! The *backwards* part is that the rectennae are so numerous (a good thing, it means energy delivered) that they are at least 50% or even 80% of the total system cost. So poor people with no electricity at all can build a rectennae and already own a big chunk of their power system.

  7. Personally I think we should start to match the dc generating capabilities of wind and solar with HVDC transmission lines and eye the retirement of HVAC lines and reforestration of their massive land footprints to eliminate a huge amount of CO2 from our environment.

    Is there a reason not to think that most of the time the HVDC would be put in exactly the same routes as the existing HVAC and keep exactly the same cleared paths?
    Indeed, given current events in California, we are more likely to see political pressure for increased firebreaks around HV lines, not less.

  8. Making fuel from CO2 is kind of pointless, unless you're on Mars and need rocket fuel to get home.

    Biofuel production kind of does what you want – it may not produce more energy than is consumed in production, but if the energy input came from renewables, it is close enough to break-even that you could consider it a form of energy storage with a carbon capture side effect. But it has the unfortunate feature of releasing all the captured CO2 when you tap the stored energy, and if the energy goes to power a car or generate electricity there are big conversion losses on that end.

    Batteries and other zero-carbon storage mechanisms seem superior in that regard, if somewhat less efficient in energy terms, and not doing anything to pull CO2 from the air.

  9. '..the reformulation of co2 into other fuels will cost money'
    More importantly, it will take more energy to break the carbon to oxygen bonds in CO2, than you got from burning CH4 – methane, natural gas – in the first place. Which is why most carbon sequestration schemes only want to bury the carbon, not use it. If you've got an energy source that can ' reformulate' CO2, you might as well use that, not gas.

  10. I know you are a good guy, and am sorry, but this a public forum. What if I made jokes about Tesla such as "when they go faster than a horse, you suffocate", and a substantial number were going to believe it, or already did! I can think of no more critical issue than energy at this time, certainly not that needs study as much as Space Solar and power beaming, not to mention how they relate to H economy. This problem is NOW. The tech is well understood, old almost.

  11. The power density can be quite low so rectennas are safe. The conversion efficiency of rectennas are high so there is little waste heat. And since the rectenna are transparent to light the land underneath can be used for farming.

    I think beam power would be a very inexpensive way to beam solar power from the desserts of the world to where its needed.

  12. I don't know what are the physical limits for batteries but we are going to find out in the next couple of decades. I do know that the amount of money available for R&D into batteries is proportional to the Revenues generated by the sales of these batteries. I therefore expect rapid advancement in battery technology.

  13. You can think of power beaming as low voltage dc superconductor. Store energy as H, just make *normal* ac when needed at the spot, with fuel cells. Power beam from high energy wind and solar places, particularly Space, and the Moon.

  14. "Converting all cars, trucks and buses and getting rid of almost all coal and natural gas power". The coal is already being eliminated but just what is going to generate the electricity? Your article says half will be provided by wind and solar. Are you suggesting Nuclear Power? Given the number of gas fueled power plants that are being built today I do believe we will be using gas to generate a huge amount of our electricity. Right now most states in the East want to put a tax on carbon emissions and what I have read these will be used for everything but reducing co2 or other pollution. As I see the facts there is technology available to capture, reformulate and reuse co2 as a fuel to at least make the electricity generation from natural gas neutral. The problem is that there goes the states slush fund from carbon taxes plus the reformulation of co2 into other fuels will cost money. Personally I think we should start to match the dc generating capabilities of wind and solar with HVDC transmission lines and eye the retirement of HVAC lines and reforestration of their massive land footprints to eliminate a huge amount of CO2 from our environment. DC is by far the fastest growing current use in the world.

  15. Definitely. Rectennae and transmitters (not panels) are about the same size for GEO sats. The rectennae size, 1km dia., is such that the beam can be the design 20% solar intensity, but could work down to 2% if some irrational legal or utterly unexpected actual problem with radio/radar/micro waves is found. In that second case, we are somehow not noticing the dead zones around our radio stations. The land under the visible light transparent rectennae is farmed or left as is, unlike that under Earth solar panels. For Earth to Earth beaming, this rectenna size means small radars and orbiting redirectors, a good starter kit as then Space Solar is an add on to the rectennae already there. For L5 and LSP, the transmitters (not the total panel area!) are much fewer and larger, but in dia size, not total power. At ~.5 TWe starter kit size, if I am reading Criswell correctly, this dia size is needed for power level, so focus need is met w/o added cost at that power point. Another part you got wrong was not reading the doc before writing.

  16. When I looked at space solar last time, the rectenna was about the same size as the space solar panels. The power levels were 1000 W per m2 in the beam.

    I.e. huge land use and gigantic, dangerous power beams. Did I get it wrong?

  17. "Multiple terawatt-hours of batteries per year would allow a far higher
    share of solar and wind. We could store the energy generated around
    during the day to evening and nighttime." The graph goes to 2080, plenty of time for Criswell Lunar Solar Power, which provides the energy, not just the storage, as well as the distribution, Earth to Earth power beaming in addition to the Moon to Earth power beaming which is the basic grid. You could add batteries if needed. Change "Moon" to "Space" at L5 or even GEO if you want, won't really change the basic point. Please note that less than 20 TWe plan is not relevant to Earth problems. See ppg 12-13 for Earth to Earth (or Moon to Moon) power beaming, easy if doing Moon to Earth as rectennae will work for both.

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