Highlights from Interbike 2014

Batteries

Carbon black from tires reportedly makes a better anode material than the traditional grap...

There may soon be a new use for discarded tires ... besides turning them into mattresses for cows, that is. Researchers from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have devised a method of harvesting the carbon black from them, and using it to make anodes for better-performing lithium-ion batteries.  Read More

Adding certain salts to the anodes of lithium-based batteries has been found to increase t...

Salt has long been used to preserve meat, and now researchers at Cornell University have found that adding certain salts to the anodes of lithium-based batteries can also increase their useful life by a very large factor, solving long-standing problems associated with cell degradation. The advance can be adapted to other metal-based chemistries, including the lighter and more energy dense lithium-sulfur cells and, according to the researchers, might see commercial applications in as little as three years.  Read More

MIT hopes to turn old lead batteries into new solar cells (Image: Christine Daniloff/MIT)

The world of modern technology is one of out with the old, in with the new. For battery technology, that means the expected demise of lead-acid batteries and replacement by a more efficient, cheaper, and environmentally-friendly alternative. This is good news, but leaves the problem of what to do with all the lead in the batteries currently in use when the time comes to dispose of them? Researchers at MIT have an answer – use it to make solar cells.  Read More

Scientists at PNNL have developed a new liquid alloy electrode that can improve the perfor...

A new battery electrode designed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) combines liquid-state cesium and sodium to dramatically improve on the efficiency, safety and useful life of sodium-beta batteries (NBBs). If the technology is scaled up successfully, the advance could help build a smart electric grid that makes better use of renewables such as solar and wind.  Read More

The tattoo biosensor for monitoring lactate levels that has been converted into a sweat-po...

Last year, researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) unveiled a sensor imprinted on a temporary tattoo that, when applied to the skin, is able to continuously monitor lactate levels in a person's sweat as they exercise. Now the research team has leveraged the technology to create a biobattery powered by perspiration that could lead to small electronic devices being powered by sweat.  Read More

The proposals are intended to produce new power sources, such as the fuel cell used in thi...

Once upon a time, energy systems for space missions were simple. You used batteries for very short missions, solar panels in the inner Solar System, nuclear power generators if you were beyond Mars or needed a lot of power, and fuel cells for manned spacecraft. However, as space exploration starts looking into lunar polar craters, comets, and the icy moons of Jupiter, new energy systems will be needed. To anticipate that need, NASA has made awards to four proposals to develop advanced energy storage technology for future manned and unmanned space missions..  Read More

Batteries for EVs like this Tesla Model S could be getting cheaper and more plentiful, onc...

If electric vehicles are to ultimately become as popular as Tesla hopes they will, then a whole lot of cost-effective batteries are going to be needed. That's why earlier this year, the automaker proposed a "Gigafactory" where it could crank out huge quantities of batteries. By making so many, it could drive down the price per battery via economy of scale. Yesterday, the company announced that it and Panasonic had signed an agreement to build that factory.  Read More

Nanospheres were specifically created to protect the lithium from reacting chemically with...

Stanford University researchers claim to have created the first stable pure lithium anode in a working battery by using carbon nanospheres as a protective sheath to guard against degradation. As a result, the researchers predict that commercial developments may eventually result in anything up to a quadrupling of battery life in the not-too-distant future.  Read More

UC Riverside researchers have developed a lithium-ion battery with superior performance us...

Conventional lithium-ion batteries rely on anodes made of graphite, but it is widely believed that the performance of this material has reached its zenith, prompting researchers to look at possible replacements. Much of the focus has been on nanoscale silicon, but it remains difficult to produce in large quantities and usually degrades quickly. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have overcome these problems by developing a lithium-ion battery anode using sand.  Read More

The TOSA buses charge as they stand at a bus stop

It’s one thing to invent an electric bus, a hydrogen car, or other green transportation technology, but quite another for it to work in the real world. For example, the Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation (TOSA) flash-charging electric bus system may be the most brilliant idea ever, but if it can’t stay in the black, then might as well be drawn by diesel-powered horses. Scientists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) are hoping to avoid that scenario by developing a computer model that helps engineers integrate the buses into existing transport systems while keeping costs down.  Read More

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