Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Fuel Cell

The USC organic redux flow battery (not pictured) replaces metals with water-soluble organ...

Lithium-ion batteries have made portable, rechargeable electronics commonplace. Unfortunately, they do have some glaring drawbacks, including heat issues, being made with rare, toxic elements, and the fact the technology doesn't scale up very well, which limits applications. A team of scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) is working on an alternative in the form of a water-based organic battery that is not only cheaper and more environmentally friendly, but also holds the potential for scaling up for use in wind and solar power plants as a means to store large amounts of energy.  Read More

The Tucson Fuel Cell is available in the US for a US$499/month lease

The hydrogen economy sounds great, and has ever since it was first proposed in the 1970s. The tricky bit is how to get there, because without the necessary infrastructure, a fuel cell car that runs on hydrogen is little more than a conversation piece. As Hyundai delivers its first Tucson Fuel Cell CUV to its new lessee, Timothy Bush, the South Korean carmaker unveiled its plan to jump-start the hydrogen car economy by giving the fuel away to its customers.  Read More

The cell stacks that are the heart of a home fuel cell system being developed by Fraunhofe...

As the world shifts to alternative forms of energy, ways to make homes less dependent on the grid continue to gather steam. Fuel cells, which are more efficient and have lower emissions than internal combustion engines seem like a logical candidate for taking up the slack, so the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) in Dresden is partnering with the heater manufacturer Vaillant to develop a domestic fuel cell system that uses natural gas to produce both heating and electricity.  Read More

Carbon monoxide gas could be a new main source of ethanol fuel (Photo: Shutterstock)

Ethanol may be touted as a more eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels, but it's not without its own drawbacks. Most importantly, the corn or other plants required as feedstock often take up field space that could otherwise be put to use growing food crops. Also, as with other plants, the feedstock crops require large amounts of water and fertilizer. Now, however, scientists at Stanford University have devised a method of producing liquid ethanol from carbon monoxide gas.  Read More

New green designs at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show

In addition to the sporty and strange, the Geneva Motor Show hosts its fair share of green cars and concepts. This year, everyone from mainstream manufacturers to university teams showed designs built from ultralight components, powered by alternative fuels and otherwise designed around fuel- and emissions-frugal commuting.  Read More

The unit will fit inside a shipping container, and could be towed around the port on a bar...

Shipping ports are major sources of air and water pollution, due in part to anchored or docked ships using diesel generators to keep their onboard systems powered up. A year from now, however, the Port of Honolulu will be trying out a mobile hydrogen fuel cell unit, as a more eco-friendly and fuel-saving alternative.  Read More

The Intrado is a vision of a car that's 'easy to use, intuitive to interact with, and read...

In revealing the all-new Intrado concept, Hyundai has set out to demonstrate how "advanced vehicle technologies and intelligent design can combine to engage more effectively with driver and passengers." The new concept combines aircraft-inspired design with a next-generation hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.  Read More

Associate Professor John Andrews with an experimental preliminary proof of concept proton ...

Just as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles – big and small – start heading to the road, researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have come up with the concept of a proton flow battery that could expand the reach of hydrogen-based electrical energy systems as well as provide a potential alternative to lithium ion batteries.  Read More

The batteries, actually mini fuel cells, could be refilled with sugar as needed (Photo: Sh...

Even today's best rechargeable lithium batteries do lose their ability to hold a charge after a while, and are considered toxic waste once discarded. In just a few years, however, they may be replaced by batteries that are refillable and biodegradable, and that will also have a higher energy density yet a lower price ... and they'll run on sugar.  Read More

Toyota's FCV concept at CES 2014

I had a funny thought walking around the Toyota FCV concept, the company's new Fuel Cell Vehicle set to go on sale beginning in 2015: This could actually be the one, I thought to myself – this could be the first fuel cell vehicle we actually see on the roads in real life.  Read More

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