Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Fuel Cell

This silicon wafer consists of glucose fuel cells of varying sizes; the largest is 64 by 6...

A new implantable fuel cell that harvests the electrical power from the brain promises to usher in a new generation of bionic implants. Designed by MIT researchers, it uses glucose within the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain to generate several hundred microwatts of power without causing any detrimental effects to the body. The technology may one day provide a whole new level of reliability and self-efficiency for all sorts of implantable brain-machine interfaces that would otherwise have to rely on external power sources. If proven harmless, the method could be used to power implants that could, among other things, help the paralyzed regain the ability to walk.  Read More

SiGNa Chemistry has received funding from USAID to develop portable hydrogen fuel technolo...

SiGNa Chemistry, a company developing portable hydrogen fuel technology, is close to taking one of its solutions to market. Hydrogen is an emissions-free renewable source of energy – however, logistic obstacles related to current considerations such as high-pressure tanks, and metal and chemical hydrides, have stymied its progress towards the mass market.  Read More

The highly efficient, small-scale SOFC system developed at PNNL features PNNL-developed mi...

A new, small-scale solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system developed at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (DoE PNNL) could be used for household and neighborhood power generation. Fueled by methane, the system achieves an efficiency of up to 57 percent, improving on the 30 to 50 percent efficiencies seen previously in SOFC systems of similar size. The PNNL researchers say the pilot system they have built generates enough electricity to power the average American home, and can be scaled up to provide power for 50 to 250 homes.  Read More

This drawing shows a double-walled carbon nanotube. Each tube is made of a rolled-up sheet...

Stanford researchers have found that concentric carbon nanotubes, with the outer layer riddled by defects and impurities, could be a cheap alternative for some of the platinum catalysts that convert hydrogen and oxygen into water in fuel cells and metal-air batteries.  Read More

The portable LSI fuel cell (Photo: Lilliputian Systems Inc)

In a deal announced this week, American high-end retailer Brookstone will become the first seller of a portable fuel cell made by MIT spin-off company Lilliputian Systems Inc (LSI). Described as a “plug-less charger,” it will allow users to recharge their electronic devices’ batteries wherever they are – as long as they’ve stocked up on butane.  Read More

Daihatsu 'shoCase' hybrid concept vehicle

It has been a tough couple of years for the Japanese motor car industry, not least for Daihatsu. On top of natural and man-made disasters, Japan’s oldest car manufacturer, now part-owned by Toyota, has struggled to sell its super-compact “Kei” class vehicles outside of the home market. The company clearly feels however that the future will come to it, predicting demand for compact, zero-emission, hybrid powered vehicles, and has been developing a unique fuel-cell power source for just such a future since 2007. Leading the company's typically cute concept car range is the FC ShoCase - a vehicle suitable for the new fuel-cell.  Read More

UCF Professor Sergey Stolbov who has created cheaper, more efficient hydrogen fuel cells u...

For the predicted hydrogen economy to become a reality, fuel cells must become more efficient and cost effective. Researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) claim to have addressed both these problems by creating a sandwich-like structure that allows more abundant materials to be used as catalysts in hydrogen fuel cells.  Read More

The cyborg snail with a biofuel cell implant that generates electrical power from glucose ...

Earlier this year we reported that researchers had implanted a cockroach with an enzyme-based biofuel cell that could potentially be used to power various sensors, recording devices, or electronics used to control an insect cyborg. While it may not be the most dynamic of creatures, a team from Clarkson University has now performed a similar feat with a living snail.  Read More

The hydrogen-powered CityCat H2 that is being trialed on the streets of Basel, Switzerland

For the past couple of years, a street cleaning vehicle has been washing, brushing and vacuuming the streets of Basel in northwest Switzerland. While there’s nothing unusual about that, what is noteworthy is that the vehicle, known as the CityCat H2, is powered completely by hydrogen. The street sweeper is part of a project to practically test the feasibility of hydrogen-powered vehicles under real-world conditions and the results from the trial indicate that, although hydrogen-powered vehicles can save energy, are environmentally friendly, and technically feasible, the prices of fuel cells, pressurized storage tanks and electric drives must all drop significantly before such vehicles are cost-effective.  Read More

Apple's Maiden data center already boasts a white cool-roof and is set to add the largest ...

Following widespread criticism of its environmental record from groups including Greenpeace, Apple has made efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its products and facilities in recent years. As part of these ongoing efforts, the company has revealed plans to build the United States' largest end user-owned, onsite solar array at its Maiden, North Carolina iDataCenter.  Read More

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