Highlights from Interbike 2014

Batteries

A closeup of the wood fibers used by the researchers in their sodium-ion battery (Image: U...

Li-ion batteries may be ok for your smartphone, but when it comes to large-scale energy storage, the priorities suddenly shift from compactness and cycling performance (at which Li-ion batteries excel) to low cost and environmental feasibility (in which Li-ion batteries still have much room for improvement). A new "wood battery" could allow the emerging sodium-ion battery technology to fit the bill as a long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly battery for large-scale energy storage.  Read More

One of the lithium-ion 'microbatteries'

While we’re currently witnessing the rise of tiny electronic devices such as biosensors, many of those devices do have one limiting factor – they still require not-so-tiny batteries, which ends up somewhat defeating the whole miniaturization process. Although some devices can get their power from external sources, scientists from Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come up with an alternative ... functional 3D-printed lithium-ion batteries no larger than a grain of sand.  Read More

Researchers are building an all-solid Li-S battery that is cheap, safe, durable, and store...

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have come up with a promising design for a lithium-sulfur rechargeable battery that is considerably cheaper and energy-dense than standard lithium-ion. Using a solid electrolyte rather than a liquid one, the battery is also testing much safer and more durable than previous designs.  Read More

A new flash-charging system for electric buses delivers 15-second-long battery boosts at s...

When you think of an electric bus, you probably either picture a vehicle that has to stay constantly connected to overhead trolley cables, or that attempts to run its entire route on one charge of its onboard batteries. In Geneva, however, they’re trying something else – a system in which an electric bus takes 15 seconds to receive an energy boost at selected stops.  Read More

Battery-swapping company, Better Place, has filed a motion to be put into liquidation

Swappable batteries might seem like a good idea to overcome the range limitations of electric vehicles, but the benefits of such an approach weren’t enough to save Better Place, the company responsible for the first commercial implementation of a battery-switching service.  Read More

The Universal Battery Charger is designed to provide power to field infantry electronics (...

Portable electronic devices have revolutionized warfare, but they've also burdened the soldiers with an increasing number of batteries that adds significantly to their load. To help lighten the load, the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's communications-electronics center (CERDEC) has developed a military-grade Universal Battery Charger (UBC) to help soldiers in the field keep their electronics powered up.  Read More

Artist's conception of the interlocking 3D battery electrodes exchanging ions (Image: Univ...

There can be little doubt that people love their mobile devices. But, by leaving them high and dry at the most inconvenient of times, this love generally doesn't extend to the batteries that power said devices. New microbatteries developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) that measure just a few millimeters in size, yet are powerful enough to power a mobile phone may be more likely to inspire a little love.  Read More

A petri dish of the sulfur-based polymer next to a (very small) stockpile of sulfur powder...

Whether sulfur is a by-product or a waste product of oil refinement and coal combustion depends on how you slice it. Certainly, some of that sulfur can be put to use producing sulfuric acid, fertilizer and other chemicals, but much of it is accumulating into stockpiles that are expensive to maintain (due to the need to neutralize acidic run-off). Researchers at the University of Arizona think more of that sulfur could be put to use thanks to a new chemical process that uses sulfur to make plastics that may one day be used to make a new generation of lighter, more efficient lithium-sulfur batteries.  Read More

Phinergy's demonstration vehicle boasts a range of over 1,000 miles (1,609 km) using metal...

Israel-based company Phinergy claims to have developed metal-air battery technology that promises to end the range anxiety associated with electric vehicles. The company’s battery currently consists of 50 aluminum plates, each providing energy for around 20 miles (32 km) of driving. This adds up to a total potential range of 1,000 miles (1,609 km), with stops required only every couple of hundred miles to refill the system with water.  Read More

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner on display in Paris

Elon Musk says he's still waiting for a call from Boeing to fix the jumbo jet maker's overheating Dreamliner battery problem. For the past few months, Boeing's 787 fleet has been grounded in the United States following a lithium-ion battery that caught fire in flight. The National Transportation Safety Board was unable to determine the cause of the fire, but the Tesla and SpaceX CEO says the problem is clear to him, and he's willing to "do the fix" for Boeing.  Read More

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