The Reading List: The Powerhouse (Steve Levine)

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I’m not going to go on about what a long winter it’s been.  My whining is starting to annoy even me.  But I got a lot of reading in, and this book is on a very short list of what I consider “must reads”.

From my perspective, the book is an amazing look inside the world of research, both pure, and practical.  You get a very in-depth, insider understanding of life at Argonne National Labs, as well as the personalities and struggles between agencies, organizations and institutions that is such a big part of any type of research.  You get an understanding of the systemic problems with how we approach research, how competition works at a personal level, right up to the international and global corporate level.  Most interestingly to me, though, is you get to see the actual gestation of what is, right now, the hottest battery chemistry available: NMC.  People can make all the claims they want, but reading this recent history puts all those miracle battery claims you read about almost every week into a sobering perspective.

We, sitting on the fringes of this industry can only make out the shadows moving behind the curtain.  We try to piece information, especially specifications and claims, with very little chance at grasping the truth of battery chemistry development – and even when a product hits the market, it’s a moving target as to whether it holds up to it’s claims.  This book, though I can’t say it cuts through all that, at least gives you a glimpse of what’s going on behind that curtain.

You can order that here: The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World

My next read? Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy.  As per Polina Brodsky‘s suggestion.

 

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