The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World

Steve Levine


The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World

The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World

  • Title: The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World
  • Author: Steve Levine
  • ISBN: 9780670025848
  • Page: 397
  • Format: Hardcover



A Soul of a New Machine for our time, a gripping account of invention, commerce, and duplicity in the age of technologyA worldwide race is on to perfect the next engine of economic growth, the advanced lithium ion battery It will power the electric car, relieve global warming, and catapult the winner into a new era of economic and political mastery Can the United StatesA Soul of a New Machine for our time, a gripping account of invention, commerce, and duplicity in the age of technologyA worldwide race is on to perfect the next engine of economic growth, the advanced lithium ion battery It will power the electric car, relieve global warming, and catapult the winner into a new era of economic and political mastery Can the United States win Steve LeVine was granted unprecedented access to a secret federal laboratory outside Chicago, where a group of geniuses is trying to solve this next monumental task of physics But these scientists almost all foreign born are not alone With so much at stake, researchers in Japan, South Korea, and China are in the same pursuit The drama intensifies when a Silicon Valley start up licenses the federal laboratory s signature invention with the aim of a blockbuster sale to the world s biggest carmakers.The Powerhouse is a real time, two year thrilling account of big invention, big commercialization, and big deception It exposes the layers of competition and ambition, aspiration and disappointment behind this great turning point in the history of technology.


Recent Comments "The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World"

Too much about the personalities involved, was hoping for more science. Also, Elon Musk should probably get more than the few paragraphs he gets here.

This is a great book that delves into the early history of how our batteries came about. It has a good bit of corporate espionage as well. What I'm getting at are Chinese scientists coming to America, seeing what we're doing, then going back to China to do it on a bigger scale for less.There's lots of competition between these scientists, and hardly any are American the closer we get to today. And wow, these scientists have big egos!I read about half of this book before losing interest. That's n [...]

My neighbor had given me this book with the promise "You'll love it." I really didn't believe him, but it only took a few pages for me to start wondering if he might be correct. This is a non-fiction account of the effort and race to build the next generation of battery technology that would power the electric car for a nation that wants a transportation system that will include a large proportion of all-electric vehicles over the next several years. The author, Steve Levine, gained access to so [...]

Fantastic nonfiction work on the development of a new higher efficiency battery that could be used for cleaner energy. I had no idea this was such a logjam for companies and the research detail in this book was interesting and understandable even for a non scientist like myself. Parts of the story read almost like fiction due to the larger than life personalities of many of the researchers involved. It was interesting enough to read in one sitting.I received this book as part of the good reads g [...]

[Disclosure: My company TalinoEV sells lithium-ion battery powered motorcycles (called tricycles, bajaj or tuktuks) to the South East Asian market.] Steve Levine's book, The Powerhouse is an eye opener for a number of reasons, most of which augur well for the United States' role in the world's use of this technology. Firstly, author Steve LeVine posits that the lithium-ion battery sits as the transistor's "equal in terms of social and economic consequence. Not to mention pure ubiquity, invention [...]

Very little scientific value, but somewhat interesting from an economic perspective.Having some experience in battery research myself, I was mainly incredible disappointed in this book. The book's subtitle makes it seem like it is relevant to the history of battery development as a whole, but its contents barely mention any research effort from outside the US. More specifically, the book almost solely describes battery development at National Laboratory Argonne and at start-up company Envia. The [...]

Crushingly disappointed.This is an attempt at a Michael Lewis-style behind-the-scenes. But without Lewis's skill at extracting interesting personality traits or motivation, there's nothing here.An endless series of play-by-play descriptions of board meetings and product pitches, which (spoiler) go nowhere. No history of battery technology or infrastructure. No scientific description of how batteries actually work.Only a series of big promises that didn't pan out. Like this book.

Quite poorly written, but the topic is kind of interesting. Book provides a glimpse of the greed, wishful thinking, and bhit behind the hype about batteries (in this case). Hype is out of proportion relative to actual progress and likelihood of progress.

Eh. An okay story. It was cool to understand all of the players – but it felt like it was a long article that was stretched into a book.If you're really into batteries, you might like it.

As a fan of Steve Levine's "The Oil and the Glory", I was excited for his take on battery development. There are few oil market disrupters with more potential than a safe, affordable, high quality battery for electric cars coming on the market. The book shows ample commitment to the subject (Levine spent several years at Argonne National Lab), but he didn't luck out on being present for that next big development. Instead, he worked with what he had, which was a snapshot of battery development at [...]

The Powerhouse is the history of the electric car battery. It describes the big players that started the pursuit of the affordable, lightweight and reliable electric car. Commercializing research was a huge factor in this endeavor since existing battery technology would not solve the problem. The author describes working at Argonne National Lab and obtaining grants from the Department of Energy as well as partnering with car companies like GM. I was hoping for a more technical history as opposed [...]

Interesting book that tells the tale of developing a super battery. IP was a much more significant topic than I expected. The story sometimes feels like multiple unrelated threads, but they still tied together decently.

It was the wrong book for me. I want more focus on why we can't build a better battery.

"The Powerhouse" - journalist Steve Levine's two-year examination of the global race to invent a battery that will 'save the world'. He's a contributor to qz and thanks to Levine I have discovered Quartz as a news source and visit the site often.For such a geeky topic this is astonishingly readable - some chapters have that short, James Patterson quality with a compelling cliffhanger that makes you want keep to turning the pages. I was swayed by the back cover blurb by 'Tiger Mum' Amy Chua who g [...]

Steve Levine has done an excellent job with small chapters and effective writing at making a potentially boring and tedious tale researchers in action (I am looking at you, Bell Labs: Life in the Crown Jewel) engaging reading. But, to find it all ended up as a "sin of omission" that "crossed the line over into deception" when Envia's Kumar put out a falsehood at a news conferences ending up in extracting four million dollars from GM and crippling damage to GM, well, that's like a movie that ends [...]

We take for granted their importance in our everyday lives, and never give an ounce of thought to their industry, more than likely; yet, we all yearn for them to perform better and longer. What are "they"? Batteries. Steve Levine goes very in-depth in "The Powerhouse" in pulling back the curtain on the battery industry and the cutthroat business it has become to be the marketplace leader and all that goes with that title.At the core of this book is the dream of many engineers to build the "perfe [...]

To the extent that this book was worth writing at all, it was clearly too early to write it. The story hasn't played out yet, so the book just ends with a "so that's where we're at", and most of it is just a series of light profiles of various scientists working in the battery industry.Plus, there were a bunch of details in there that sound like petty squabbling that no one cares about. Who cares about all the different strategic patents such and such person filed? And who the fuck cares what co [...]

A book that seems somewhat undecided whether to focus on people driving progress or the underlying technology. Overall an ok read about a great topic. 1/6 of gasoline energy density. 710s. Argonne to En-Ceasar to Hub. Bell Labs - Chu's Robinson Crusoe island? Chu-namis and culture. Cooperation isn't natural --> Reject own, unlock new. Desperation desperately needed to innovate. Diva cooperation. Economic, energy and environmental security. Engineering play vs Godot and pray. Exchange developm [...]

Overly focused on the invididuals involved in battery storage opportunity. I was disappointed to not gain a deeper understanding of the science of batteries available now and hopefully in the near future. Powerhouse reminded me a bit of Charles Seife's "Sun in Bottle", though I feel Seife did a much better job bringing the subject matter to life while educating his reader on a very dense subect matter. I learned a lot reading Seife, can not say the same for Powerhouse. Pros:- Quick read- Enterta [...]

Steve Levine writes for Quartz online news site mainly on Batteries. An example found here: qz/433131/the-story-of-theI have been following battery technology advances and it's starts and miss-starts for about 10 years. An exciting and frustrating topic which you may get a sense of here from an Ultra Capacitor Blog that followed EESTOR: bariumtitanateUnfortunately there is no Moores Law for batteries but improvements have and will be made. An interesting challenge. gigaom/2010/09/27/dear-frI fou [...]

This was a giveaway win.So much I did not know about the progress in the development of today's modern battery, be it for your phone, or more to the point, for your next car.I great history lesson with small segments of some of the more prominent players in the development of our current battery. I was not aware that we took a more Edison Industry method of simple trial and error in combinations of materials to get where we are. I believe part of the solution to addressing climate change is for [...]

I was anxious to read this book becoming personally concerned with the lack of high tech inventions from US inventors.The subject matter was interesting to me because over the past 10 years I've encountered a society with individuals who are extremely aware and go overboard with the concept of reuse/recycle; and other individuals who think nothing of tossing everything once it appears to be aged and of no use to them.Energy research and new product development is not an area for the thin-skinned [...]

Exactly the *kind*of book I love, but something about the way it was written/ presented just left me flat. As a non expert--I enjoyed insight into how natl labs are motivated to produce (or not)d similar complexities of leaving the job to private industry. I'd hoped for more technical info on current batteries and a broader survey of technology on the horizon. There was certainly some good detail, but I may have expected too much Overall an objective, realistic read. Worth noting the value propo [...]

This exposition of the technology and progress to extend battery life has two parts. The first half defined the successes and the second the failures. There is much to applaud and then came the scientific over promises, personnel firings, and company bankruptcies. It seems the desired outcome to produce a battery for 200-mile car to save the world at time when plentiful fuel is currently available now and for long time to come that powers a 400-mile car is misplaced. The great need for extended [...]

A good book to know about the history of the development of rechargeable batteries. With the world looking at electric cars , this book gives good details of the struggles of developing a winning battery chemistry. Could get to know the names scientists and Engineers who have worked/are working on battery technology. This book also gives the global competition between Japan, China, South Korea and the USA in their attempt to gain mastery in battery technology.Overall good book on details but a s [...]

Thought this book was going to talk about the work being done on batteries, with more technical details. Instead we get the inside politics behind research institutes, how one team gets above the others, protecting IP and licensing tech. Not really what what advertised - I felt like it was a bait and switch. And in the end they leave the reader hanging with no conclusion - just a "hope" that there will be a good new battery in the future. Do not recommend

win. Will read and review once received.This was a pretty interesting book. I found myself having a hard time at putting this book down. It was a well written and thought out book. It was quick and definitely not something I usually read. It was very easy to understand and I learned about some things I didn't even know about. I will admit at some parts it seemed like the book was fiction rather than being non-fiction. A good read that I can see any people be interested in.

Mostly battery industry insider gossip. Levine tries to spice it up by inserting a conceit that the battery industry is a space-race-like nationalist contest between the US, Korea, China, and Japan. Granted, the subject matter is challenging to make engaging: the spice of this story is backroom dealing between scientists and national lab directors to land government grants. His explanations on science are not especially illuminating nor accurate.

Sure the minutiae of how national labs develop projects and startups try to spin them out can be fascinating to delve into- but the "story" under delivers Literally, it just ends almost mid paragraph. Levine and his editor should have held back on this book until the hub had made more headway over the next couple of years. At the same time, perhaps this is fitting, as "big science" projects routinely over promise and under deliver, just like the book.

I want to give this book 3.5 stars- the content, subject, and story are around 4 and the book was informative, but I think there either wasn't enough substance for a slightly heftier transcript with a more defined ending or the author left some narrative and information on the table. Overall, I enjoyed it though and thought it read fast and provided a useful glimpse into the way the government and private sector interact to innovate.


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    Published :2019-02-03T13:03:10+00:00