Computational creativity and the future of AI

Lithium-ion

Packing peanuts may be good for more than just ... packing  (Photo: Shutterstock)

When a new lab was recently being set up at Purdue University in Indiana, a lot of the equipment arrived in boxes full of protective packing "peanuts." Unfortunately, few facilities exist for recycling the little pieces of foam, so they typically end up sitting in (or getting blown around) landfills for several decades. A team of Purdue researchers, however, discovered that they could find use in better-performing lithium-ion batteries.  Read More

Natural silk can be processed into a material suitable for use as a lithium-ion battery an...

Next-generation lithium-ion batteries may hold more charge for a greater number of cycles thanks to a new material derived from natural silk. Scientists at the Beijing Institute of Technology found that not only does their regenerated silk fibroin material work for over 10,000 cycles but it also stores five times more lithium than graphite, which is the most common choice for the anode (negative electrode) in lithium-ion batteries.  Read More

Scanning electron microscope images that show how normal electrolyte promotes dendrite gro...

Dendrites – thin conductive filaments that form inside lithium batteries – reduce the life of these cells and are often responsible for them catching fire. Scientists working at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) of the US Department of Energy claim to have produced a new electrolyte for lithium batteries that not only completely eliminates dendrites, but also promises to increase battery efficiency and vastly improve current carrying capacity.  Read More

PNNL's high performance zinc-polyiodide flow battery approaches the performance of some li...

A new redox flow battery developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) more than doubles the amount of energy that this type of cell can pack in a given volume, approaching the numbers of lithium-ion batteries. If the device reaches mass production, it could find use in fast-charging transportation, portable electronics and grid storage.  Read More

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside say they have found a way around th...

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) have developed a silicon anode for lithium-ion batteries that outperforms current materials and gets around previous issues that would cause the battery to be inefficient and quickly degrade (or even fail catastrophically) with use. As the researchers focus on scaling up production, the advance could pave the way for higher-performance electric vehicles, electronics and all-around portable power.  Read More

The way snails control the growth of their shells has provided inspiration for a new appro...

In an ongoing effort to improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries, scientists have looked to the techniques that snails use to control the growth of their shells. This biological inspiration, combined with a peptide found to bind very effectively with materials used to make cathodes, has potential for making lighter and longer-lasting batteries.  Read More

Loz rides the 2015 Zero S (Photo: Photo: Joe Salas/4theriders.com)

Regular readers will know I'm a bit of a fan of Zero's electric motorcycles – as the market leader in performance electric two-wheelers, Zero offers a glimpse into a future where gasoline engines feel frankly archaic. So I was very excited to score myself an invitation to come and visit Zero's head office and factory to see where the company is at, get to know the Zero team, and ride the company's entire 2015 range through the breathtaking mountain ranges of California. It was a great chance to talk about batteries, production lines, the 2015 Zero range and how America's fast-charge infrastructure is letting riders down.  Read More

The Savannah is the first hybrid superyacht

If F1 racers can be hybrids, then why not superyachts? That seems to be the thinking of Feadship De Voogt Naval Architects as it launched "the world’s first hybrid superyacht," Savannah, last Saturday. The centerpiece of a James Bond-themed launch ceremony for the new owner and the people involved in the yacht's construction over the last three years, the Savannah not only boasts a novel power plant, but is also the first superyacht to be entirely metallic painted save for the mast domes.  Read More

Vanadate-borate glass could almost double the amount of time lithium-ion batteries last be...

The batteries inside our smartphones and laptops are fighting a losing battle when it comes to keeping these devices juiced up, but researchers from ETH Zurich have discovered a new type of glass material that could make a major difference: vanadate-borate glass. The glass can be used as an electrode material in lithium-ion batteries to almost double the amount of time they last between charges.  Read More

Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla Motors is working on a robotic arm to take over the task of c...

Showing his penchant for dropping bombshells on Twitter, Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company is working on a robotic arm for recharging its Model S electric cars.  Read More

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