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Lithium-ion

The Tesla home battery system hinted at by CEO Elon Musk several months ago has finally been unveiled by Musk himself at the company’s design studio in Hawthorne, California. Dubbed the Powerwall, the stationary home battery offers 10 kWh of storage capacity for the relatively modest price of US$3,500. A smaller unit is also available at 7 kWh for $3,000, and homeowners can stack multiple units if needed. Read More
Taiwan-based startup Gogoro drew plenty of attention when it unveiled its Smartscooter at CES earlier this year. The thinking is that these electric two-wheelers will be ridden around urban centers and their lithium-ion batteries switched over at exchanges when they run out of juice. The idea is now one step closer to reality, with the announcement of a pilot program in Taiwan ahead of a launch this coming summer. Read More
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
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
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
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 (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
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
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
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
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