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The Race for Batteries

UK Bets £246 Million on Batteries

July 25th 2017

Electric car Israel

The UK government, is due to announce today the first phase of a four-year £246 million investment (about €275 million or $320 million) in the research and scale-up to production of battery technology.

Battery development is being supported under a scheme the government calls the Faraday Challenge and has been selected because making batteries more efficient and renewable is likely to form a cornerstone of a low-carbon economy as batteries are used broadly in cars, aircraft, medical equipment, consumer electronics, and in district or grid storage. It is also intended to capitalize in good academic research present in the UK.

The spend of £246 million by the government is intended to help the UK become the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries. The first phase will be a competition to establish a £45 million 'Battery Institute' for research into battery technology.


The Race for Batteries

Tesla Wins Giant Battery Contract in Australia--100-day Deadline

July 13th 2017

Sydney Opera House

Tesla Inc. has won an Australian contract to install the world's biggest grid-scale battery, in what experts say will be a litmus test for the reliability of large-scale renewable energy.

Tesla's CEO Elon Musk, known for his bold approach to cars, clean energy and space exploration, trumped dozens of competing proposals to build the gigantic lithium-ion battery that will serve as emergency back-up power for South Australia - a state racked by outages.

But under the agreement, Tesla must deliver the 100-MW battery within 100 days of the contract being signed or it will be free - a commitment Musk made in a Tweet in March.

"There will be a lot of people that will look at this -'Did they get it done within 100 days? Did it work?'" Musk told reporters in South Australia's capital city of Adelaide.

"We are going to make sure it does."

The battery, designed to light up 30,000 homes if there is a blackout, will be built on a wind farm operated by France's Neoen - parts of which are still under construction. Read more ..

The Race for Hyperloop

Futuristic Hyperloop Delivers an Exciting Status Check

July 11th 2017

silver robot

What is Hyperloop?

Hyperloop is on track to be the next great transformation in mass transportation. The concept is simple: a network of on-demand, electrodynamically levitated pods traveling in evacuated tubes at 95% of the speed of sound. The term 'Hyperloop' was first coined in 2012 by technology billionaire and serial entrepreneur, Elon Musk. It is a radically new concept of point-to-point travel at speeds over 700mph, covering the distance between Edinburgh and London in 35 minutes.

How could Hyperloop influence the way that we travel in the future?

The implications of a Hyperloop corridor are immense; intercity commuting becomes comparable to taking the metro, injecting economic stimulus throughout the country and creating a superproductive population. Beyond connecting cities, Hyperloop has the potential to combine separate airports into terminals of an integrated airport network. Read more ..

The Race for Hi-Speed Rail

Smart Cities Require Smart Rail

July 9th 2017

Shinkansen bullet train

Did you know that Milton Keynes is well on its way to becoming a fully functional smart city? The MK:Smart initiative is partly funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and led by The Open University, and it aims to develop innovative solutions to support economic growth in Milton Keynes.

One such solution, targeted at supporting transport links within the city, is MotionMap. This tool uses information gathered by a sensor network around the city to feed updates about congestion and car park occupancy to a mobile app. Any smart city will inherently be reliant on smart systems like this, which in turn rely on data and energy transfer.

This all increases the levels of disruptive electromagnetic interference (EMI) that can have a seriously detrimental effect on power quality. Smart cities will live and breathe data and communications through the many devices that will exist on the Internet of Things (IoT) web, but power quality issues could seriously affect the efficacy of these devices if proper precautions are not taken. For instance, prolonged exposure to EMI could cause major disruptions to vital rail signalling or to onboard services, putting passengers at risk.


The Race for Wind

World’s Largest Wind Turbine Would Be Taller Than the Empire State Building

June 29th 2017

Green Mtn wind farm

Wind energy is soaring in the U.S.; the nation’s renewable energy capacity has more than tripled in the past nine years, and wind and solar power are largely responsible. Now businesses want to harness even more wind energy, at a cheaper price—and one of the best ways to lower cost is to build bigger turbines. That’s why an alliance of six institutions led by researchers at the University of Virginia are designing the world’s largest wind turbine at 500 meters tall—almost a third of a mile high, and about 57 meters taller than the Empire State Building.

Turbines are already noticeably larger than they were 15 or 20 years ago. Size varies, but today’s typical wind farm towers stand around 70 meters tall, with blades about 50 meters long. Their power output depends on size and height, but it generally ranges between one and five megawatts—on the upper end, that’s enough to power about 1,100 homes. “There's this motivation to go to larger wind turbines, and the reason is pretty much economics,” explains John Hall, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University at Buffalo, S.U.N.Y. One reason giant turbines are more cost-effective is that wind blows stronger and more steadily at greater altitudes.


The Race for Solar

'Solar' Paint Harvests Energy from The Air

June 19th 2017

Minneapolis skyline

Researchers from RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia) and MIT (Cambridge, MA) have developed a sunlight-absorbing paint able to harvest hydrogen from air moisture, by splitting water molecules.

The catalyst for this solar-powered hydrolysis comes in the shape of molybdenum sulfides that could readily be mixed to the titanium oxide particles typically used in white paint.

In a recent paper titled "Surface Water Dependent Properties of Sulfur-Rich Molybdenum Sulfides: Electrolyteless Gas Phase Water Splitting" published in the ACS Nano journal, the researchers report that sulfur-rich MoSx (x = 32/3) is a highly hygroscopic semiconductor which can reversibly bind up to 0.9 H2O molecule per Mo.


The Race for Autonomous Cars

Automobile Software Can Now be Updated While Driving

June 15th 2017

Traffic Jam

With the amount of software in today’s cars in the dimension of millions of lines of code, updating vehicle software today is a cumbersome business. Now Continental has created the necessary technology and infrastructure to enable secure software updates over the air, doing away with the need to visit the garage for every update.

With significance for software for the user experience of car buyers updates having dramatically increased over the past decade or so, automotive manufacturers are feverishly working on solutions to establish similar mechanisms for their vehicles. So far, only Tesla dares to update the software of its cars automatically. All others look jealously over the fence, frightened by the prospect of a terrible glitch or, even worse, a cyber attack against the transmission path. Also, updating a vehicle’s software is somewhat more complex than updating a smartphone’s operating system: Up to 100 computers are involved, and since they are all connected, the activities of most of them can have side effects on others. Plus, the number of possible variants and options in a car is much bigger than in a smartphone. And last but not least, no one can afford a failed software update – in a car such a situation would have far more serious consequences than with a smartphone.


The Race for Batteries

New Liquid Metal Battery May Solve Renewable Energy Storage Problem

June 12th 2017


The team at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology ( NTNU) in Trondheim have developed a battery system with three liquid layers: sodium at the top as the negative electrode, a sodium chloride based electrolyte in the middle, and zinc at the bottom as the positive electrode.

To prevent the zinc containing ions from reacting with the sodium electrode, a porous diaphragm or separator is placed between the electrodes. Avoiding a brittle, expensive β-alumina ion selective membrane and replacing it with a cheap durable diaphragm material significantly improves the performance and reduces the cost of liquid metal batteries.

The choice of immiscible electrolytes and electrodes will ensure a safe battery system, which in the unlikely event of mechanical failure will discharge without any undesired effects such as fire or explosion. This compares to sodium sulphur (NaS) molten salt batteries which have been demonstrated for grid storage. Read more ..

The Race for Solar

Proposed Solar Paneled Wall for US-Mexico Border May Become a Reality

June 11th 2017

Sunrise or Sunset

At a recent White House meeting, President Trump told congressional Republicans that his suggestion in terms of construction of the US-Mexico border wall would be to seriously explore the solar paneled option.

The WSJ reported that two lawmakers who attended the meeting told them that Trump said the solar panels could offset the exorbitant costs in erecting such a border wall. This can be effectuated by collecting revenue from the sale of solar power that the panels would generate. Those funds could be earmarked to assist in offsetting the projected multi-billion dollar cost in construction.

The WSJ has also reported that Trump’s idea for the use of solar panels to build a wall separating the US and Mexico came after the Department of Homeland Security issued a solicitation of proposals a few months ago from engineering firms and other construction companies  for their blueprints. Read more ..

The Race for Autonomous Cars

Why Israel Is A Fast-Moving Force In Smart Transportation

June 3rd 2017

Israeli battery vehicle MIA

In June 2013, 250 Israeli smart-transportation visionaries flocked to the inaugural EcoMotion “unconference” to share their crazy fantasies about the future of moving people from one place to another.

Only four years later, leaders of the global automotive and transportation industry were among 1,500 participants at the fifth annual EcoMotion Main Event at the Peres Center in Jaffa last month.

It hasn’t taken long for Israel to emerge as a significant source of innovation for autonomous  and connected vehicles, navigation, public transportation,  alternative fuels, super-efficient engines, urban parking and environment-friendly personal and mass transportation. Read more ..

The Race for Batteries

Graphene and Nanotubes Triple Lithium Metal Battery Density

May 22nd 2017

Graphene carbon mesh

Researchers at Rice University in the US have used a combination of graphene and carbon nanotubes to build a rechargeable lithium metal battery with three times the capacity of commercial lithium-ion batteries.

The Rice battery uses an anode built of a hybrid of graphene and carbon nanotubes. The 3D surface provides more area for lithium to inhabit and approaches the theoretical maximum for storage of lithium metal while resisting the formation of damaging dendrites.

These dendrites are lithium deposits that grow into the battery's electrolyte and if they bridge the anode and cathode and create a short circuit, the battery may fail, catch fire or even explode.

Led by chemist James Tour, the researchers found that when the new batteries are charged, lithium metal evenly coats the highly conductive carbon hybrid in which nanotubes are covalently bonded to the graphene surface.


The Race for Alt Energy

Germany Could Be a Model for How We’ll Get Power in the Future

May 4th 2017

Green Mtn wind farm

Hamburg knew the bombs were coming, and so the prisoners of war and forced laborers had just half a year to build the giant flak bunker. By July 1943 it was finished. A windowless cube of reinforced concrete, with seven-foot-thick walls and an even thicker roof, it towered like a medieval castle above a park near the Elbe River. The guns protruding from its four turrets would sweep Allied bombers from the sky, the Nazis promised, while tens of thousands of citizens sheltered safely behind its impenetrable walls.

Coming in at night from the North Sea just weeks after the bunker was finished, British bombers steered for the spire of St. Nikolai in the center of the city. They dropped clouds of metallic foil strips to throw off German radar and flak gunners. Targeting crowded residential neighborhoods, the bombers ignited an unquenchable firestorm that destroyed half of Hamburg and killed more than 34,000 people. Towering walls of fire created winds so strong that people were blown into the flames. Church bells clanged furiously.


The Race for Batteries

Separator Layer Can Make Lithium-ion Batteries Fireproof

April 15th 2017


Lithium-ion batteries, though being considered as the power source of choice for today’s electric vehicles, are having a significant disadvantage: They are not fireproof. Even worse, they tend to catch fire under overload and short circuit conditions which can occur as a consequence of accidents. Researchers from the Stanford University have developed a potential solution.

The reason why lithium ion batteries can start burning so easily is that the electrolytes necessary to enable the exchange of electrons between cathode and anode are flammable and highly reactive. Though battery manufacturers have tried to minimize this risk through internal protective covers or by adding flame retardants, the risk persists, acknowledged Stanford researcher Kai Liu. In addition, these measures have side effects: They reduce the energy density and ion mobility which in turns reduces the battery performances.


The Race for EVs

Electromobility: The Big Leap has Yet to Come

April 14th 2017

Electric car Israel

The annual Electromobility Index from consultancy Roland Berger and the fka automotive technology research institute (Aachen, Germany) certifies Germany and France the leading positions in terms of technology. Though the market shows growth in all regions, the market share for electric vehicles is still very low.

The Electromobility Index periodically compares the competitive positions of the seven most important automotive geographies China, France, Germany Italy, Japan South Korea and USA in terms of technology, industrialization and market.

According to the study, Germany currently holds the technology pole position in the race about electromobility – a little bit surprising, given the success of Tesla in the US and the relatively high market penetration of electric vehicles in France. Wolfgang Bernhardt, Roland Berger Partner and expert for automobile markets, explains why.


The Race for Nuclear

A Bankruptcy of Nuclear Proportions

April 14th 2017

Nuclear Reactors

On March 29, Westinghouse Electric Co., a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Toshiba, filed for bankruptcy. The U.S.-based nuclear power company has been building two state-of-the-art nuclear power plants in Georgia and South Carolina, but it has been plagued by delays and cost overruns. The filing sent Toshiba scrambling to cut its losses by March 31, the end of Japan's fiscal year. The Japanese conglomerate ended up writing down over $6 billion on its nuclear reactor business. But Toshiba's troubles don't end there; the firm is also working to sell off a portion of its chip manufacturing holdings.

The U.S. government is worried about what the sale of Westinghouse could mean for the future of traditional nuclear power in the United States and for nuclear power in China, which is keen to learn the secrets of a Western firm such as Westinghouse. The Japanese government, meanwhile, is wary of how Beijing could benefit in the long term, should a Chinese firm acquire Toshiba's semiconductor unit. Read more ..

The North Korean Threat

Trump Surprises Progressives and North Korea with Coal Sales to China

April 13th 2017

Coal Train

Rather than accepting their cargo of essential coking coal, China sent away a flotilla of 12 North Korean freighters to their home ports, according to an exclusive Reuters report. China has relatively few natural resources for such a large population and landmass, and relies on coal for its power plants and steel-making facilities. In the meantime, China placed a huge order for American coal from American producers. 
Reuters cited as its source for the news to be at the Dandong Chengtai Trade Co., which is the biggest buyer of North Korea's coal. According to Dandong Chengtai, there were 600,000 tons of North Korean coal waiting at several ports, while there are now 2 million tons of coal stranded at Chinese ports that must be returned to North Korea.
On February 26, China publicly committed itself to punishing North Korea for furthering its ambitions of producing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Nearly half of North Korea’s source of foreign trade comes from coal sold to China. Targeting by China of coal will produce a dramatic economic impact. In February, China declared that it was banning North Korean imports for the rest of this year.
China is North Korea's largest source of trade and aid and targeting coal imports are meant to produce a dramatic economic result.
China will increase the amount of coal it buys from U.S. producers, marking a significant change. Between late 2014 and 2016, no coking coal from the U.S. was exported to China. But in February, coal shipments from the U.S. to China amounted to more than 400,000 tons.

The Race for Nuclear

Westinghouse bankruptcy Puts $8.3B in Federal Loan Guarantees for Vogtle Plant at Risk

April 4th 2017

nuke tower

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of Toshiba’s Westinghouse unit is raising concerns among many stakeholders. Not the least of them are Trump administration officials worried about the fate of federal loan guarantees extended for the construction of the Vogtle plant in Georgia.

If Westinghouse halts construction on the nuclear power project, it could jeopardize the completion of the entire plant, triggering repayment of the $8.3 billion loan from Southern.

A Department of Energy spokesperson said the agency is "keenly interested" in Westinghouse's bankruptcy proceedings and that the administration expects all companies to "honor their commitments" to finish the project.  Read more ..

The Trump Era

Will Trump’s Border Wall Be a Self-Sufficient Solar-Paneled Energy Producer?

March 22nd 2017

Solar panels


The Race for Natural Gas

Israel and Lebanon on Gas Tender Collision Course

March 21st 2017

Med Natural Gas

Israel has asked the US and the UN to pressure Lebanon to change the oil and gas exploration tenders being planned by the latter in five maritime blocks. Three of these blocks are within Israel's marine border and overlap the 800 sq.km. of marine territory disputed by the two countries. At the same time, the Ministry of Justice is promoting a marine areas bill that has been proposed for years, which among other things determines Israel's marine territory, including the disputed area.

After many years of preparations and postponements, the Lebanese government published six weeks ago a call to oil and gas exploration companies to submit their candidacy for the preliminary stage of the new tender. The filing deadline for the preliminary stage is the end of March. If it goes ahead, it will be the first such tender for Lebanon. Read more ..

The Race for EVs

Recharge EVs from Under the Roadway

March 16th 2017

Traffic Jam

As more and more electric vehicles hit urban streets across the world, better battery-recharging solutions are desperately needed to improve range, keep costs low and boost user confidence.

Oren Ezer (CEO) and Hanan Rumbak (CTO) cofounded ElectRoad in 2013 to develop their unique twist on the concept of underground electric coils that recharge vehicles as they travel on the road.

In a few months, ElectRoad’s dynamic wireless electrification system is beginning a pilot project in Tel Aviv involving a short public bus route.

“The idea of electrifying vehicles from the road is trendy right now and you can see several companies trying to do a similar concept to us, but our technology is totally different, from the coils under the asphalt to the transfer of energy to the bus,” Ezer tells ISRAEL21c. Read more ..

The Race for Solar

Molecular 'Leaf' Harvests Sunlight Without Solar Cells

March 13th 2017


An international team of scientists have engineered a molecule that uses light or electricity to convert the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide that could replace solar cells.

The team, led by Liang-shi Li at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) with researchers from Nanchang University and the University of Science and Technology of China, used a nanographene-rhenium complex connected via an organic compound known as bipyridine to trigger a highly efficient reaction that converts carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide.

"If you can create an efficient enough molecule for this reaction, it will produce energy that is free and storable in the form of fuels," said Li, associate professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Chemistry.


The Race for EVs

Bosch Takes Big Leap towards Electromobility

March 9th 2017

Toyota Prius PHEV

In anticipation of the electromobility breakthrough, automotive supplier Robert Bosch GmbH has announced to reorganize its powertrain activities. Expecting production of almost 20 million hybrid and electric cars in 2025, Bosch has launched a business unit dedicated to electromobility – and to combine it along with existing combustion engine activities in the new Powertrain Solutions business field which will be launched 2018.

The idea is offering all technologies related to any type of powertrain through one central entity. To prevent the impression of disruption, the company assures that it will continue to further develop conventional powertrain technology, because even in 2025, internal combustion engines will be mainstream; Bosch expects combined production of diesel and gasoline engines in the area of 85 million units. Read more ..

The Race for EVs

Suppliers Battle to Supply Largest Battery Power Stations

February 7th 2017

Electric car Israel

AltaGas and AES are battling for the title of the largest battery power station in the US with systems launching this week.

AltaGas has opened its 20MW Pomona Energy Storage Facility at the site of its existing Pomona generation facility in the East Los Angeles Basin of Southern California, while AES is opening a 30MW system at Escondido in San Diego.

AES will deploy its Advancion 4 storage system to provide 30MW of power for four continuous hours and serve as a 75 MW of flexible resource to the grid, and the company claims this will be the largest system in the US. Altagas claims to provide 80MWh from its 20MW of storage, also claiming the crown. Read more ..

The Race for EVs

E-trucks with Overhead Power Lines on Autobahn

January 26th 2017

Volvo truck

The idea of overhead power lines for electric vehicles is not new – after all, in the railway industry it is rather common. For electric trucks, it also has been considered for a while. Now the German government plans to test the technology on public highways.

The project, to be managed by innovation agency VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik, aims to test the technology in a real-world environment with real traffic. Starting point of the considerations around this technology is the question how the growing roadbound freight transport can be coped with without unreasonable impact to the environment. The German federal government estimates that by 2030 the railway system can transport only about 20% of the additional goods that need to be carted. Which in turn allows the conclusion that the lions’s share of these goods will be transported on roads. Electrified trucks could be a solution that meets both the requirement for mass transport capability and environmental friendliness, at least as the electric energy used is generated by renewable sources.


The Race for Flying Cars

Airbus Develops Flying Car, Prototype Is Coming Soon

January 19th 2017

Broken Road

As recently as past week, Volvo futurologist Aric Dromi predicted that before mankind will see completely autonomous vehicles driving around in cities, they will see flying cars. Now someone no less than the CEO of the Airbus Group banged on the same drum.

At the DLD digital technology conference in Munich, Airbus Chief Executive Office Tom Enders said the company is in the process of developing flying cars – and a prototype will be available before the end of the year. The self-piloted flying car could be seen as a way of avoiding gridlock on city roads, Enders said according to media releases.


The Race for EVs

Tesla Gigafactory Starts Vattery Production

January 9th 2017

Better Place EV charging

Tesla (Palo Alto, CA) and Panasonic (Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, Japan) have started production of lithium ion battery cells at Tesla's 'Gigafactory' in Nevada.

The factory started production of cylindrical 2170 cells that will be used for battery packs in Tesla's Powerpack and Powerwall home energy storage systems (above). Cells for the Model 3 electric vehicles will follow in Q2 of 2017.

The cells are jointly developed by the two companies and are 21mm in diameter and 70mm high, giving the 2170 designation, with a capacity of 5175mAh. This is wider and longer than the previous cells that have been used in Tesla systems from third party suppliers. 


The Race for Smart Rail

Being Smart About Smart Rail

January 5th 2017

New-Train S. Korea

Between the drive towards smart cities, new high speed rail links and increased rail travel across the UK, the pressure is on to make sure our railways can keep up. Progress is not without its challenges, and as the world struggles to balance being more connected there is a real risk that power quality could be affected.

Did you know that Milton Keynes is well on its way to becoming a fully functional smart city? The MK:Smart initiative is partly funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and led by The Open University, and it aims to develop innovative solutions to support economic growth in Milton Keynes.

One such solution, targeted at supporting transport links within the city, is MotionMap. This tool uses information gathered by a sensor network around the city to feed updates about congestion and car park occupancy to a mobile app. Any smart city will inherently be reliant on smart systems like this, which in turn rely on data and energy transfer.


The Race for Alternative Fuels

Recapping My Decade of Using and Experimenting With Alternative Fuels

December 19th 2016

Sugar Cane

I first learned about the potential of alternative engine fuels in the late 1970's while doing some unrelated marketing research in the giant New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. I came across a book that described turning corn and other farm crops into ethanol and methanol.

For a guy who grew up primarily in Brooklyn and Queens, farming was as alien to me as the dark side of the moon. Nevertheless, the story was riveting because it presented economic possibilities that made my head spin: replacing foreign petroleum oil fuels with domestically produced fuels from crops...WOW!

With the 1970's oil crisis still very much on my mind (and on the minds of most Americans), it was a thrilling discovery. But as I was busy trying to build an advertising agency the last thing I could focus on was where to build silos in NYC to house all the harvested crops needed to produce biofuels. Read more ..

The Race for Hydrogen

Germany Plans Hydrogen Drives

December 15th 2016

Honda Clarity with refueler

While battery electric vehicles in the past months take center stage in the media, the hydrogen fuel cell technology is far from being dead. The German government plans to set up a multi-million funding program to foster this alternative to batteries.

Within the two years to come, the Germans plan to invest € 250 million into research programs around the hydrogen fuel cell technology with the goal of increasing their competitiveness. Another focus is on establishing a hydrogen filling station network. “With electromobility as well as with automated and connected driving, we are facing the largest revolution of mobility since the invention of the automobile,” said Alexander Dobrindt, minister of transport in an interview with daily paper “Die Welt”.


The Race for Solar

Large-area Organic Solar Cells see Record Efficiencies

December 8th 2016

Solar Array

Researchers at the University of Surrey (Guildford, UK) have analyzed how low-cost materials combine to achieve a record power conversion efficiency of 6.7% for large-area organic solar cells. Such cells are flexible, lightweight, and environmentally-friendly and have the capacity to be printed in different colors and shapes allowing commercial applications such as integration into building façades etc.

The research is part of a four-year European Commission FP7 programme called SMARTONICS that is aimed at developing large-scale pilot lines for the fabrication and printing of organic polymer solar cells. Led by the University of Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), the four year project includes Oxford University in the UK, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece), and University of Stuttgart in Germany and finishes this month.

The research looks at the dependencies between the chemical and physical properties of the photoactive layer's building blocks within organic solar cells to determine the efficiency of these solar cells.


The Race for Cold Fusion

Do Cold Fusion Experiments Create Energy When None Should Exist?

November 30th 2016

superconducting fibers

Howard J. Wilk is a long-term unemployed synthetic organic chemist living in Philadelphia. Like many pharmaceutical researchers, he has suffered through the drug industry’s R&D downsizing in recent years and now is underemployed in a nonscience job. With extra time on his hands, Wilk has been tracking the progress of a New Jersey-based company called Brilliant Light Power (BLP).

The company is one of several that are developing processes that collectively fall into the category of new energy technologies. This movement is largely a reincarnation of cold fusion, the short-lived, quickly dismissed phenomenon from the late 1980s of achieving nuclear fusion in a simple benchtop electrolysis device.

In 1991, BLP’s founder, Randell L. Mills, announced at a press conference in Lancaster, Pa., that he had devised a theory in which the electron in hydrogen could transition from its normal ground energy state to previously unknown lower and more stable states, liberating copious amount of energy in the process. Mills named this curious new type of shrunken hydrogen the hydrino, and he has been at work ever since to develop a commercial device to harness its power and make it available to the world.


The Race for Batteries

Recycling EV Batteries for Home Storage Probably 'Nonsensical,'

November 28th 2016

Lead batteries dump

The economics of reusing batteries from plug-in vehicles for home energy storage don’t make sense, says a new report from Lux Research.

Up to 65 GWh of second-life batteries are poised to enter the market by 2035 with the retirement of the first generation of plug-in vehicles, but reusing them for home storage is not economic says the report, “Reuse or Recycle: The Billion-dollar Battery Question,” from the Lux Research Energy Storage Intelligence service.

Reuse of batteries from electric vehicles will deliver questionable returns on account of reduced performance, limiting them to application with less frequent and shallower depth of discharge cycles. For example, an oversized 11.2 kWh residential system from second-life batteries will cost just over $4,600, compared with nearly $6,000 for a new 7 kWh system. The reduced efficiency and cycle life make residential units and other daily cycling applications a poor fit compared to some others.


The Race for Hi-Speed Rail

California Hits the Brakes on High-Speed Rail Fiasco

November 24th 2016

Shinkansen bullet train

California's high-speed rail project increasingly looks like an expensive social science experiment to test just how long interest groups can keep money flowing to a doomed endeavor before elected officials finally decide to cancel it. What combination of sweet-sounding scenarios, streamlined mockups, ever-changing and mind-numbing technical detail, and audacious spin will keep the dream alive?

Sold to the public in 2008 as a visionary plan to whisk riders along at 220 miles an hour, making the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a little over two and a half hours, the project promised to attract most of the necessary billions from private investors, to operate without ongoing subsidies and to charge fares low enough to make it competitive with cheap flights. With those assurances, 53.7 percent of voters said yes to a $9.95 billion bond referendum to get the project started. But the assurances were at best wishful thinking, at worst an elaborate con. Read more ..

The Race for Batteries

Scrap Metal Batteries Promise Energy Storage Innovation

November 7th 2016


A team at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) has created the world's first steel-brass battery - made from junkyard metal scraps - that can store energy at levels comparable to lead-acid batteries while charging and discharging at rates comparable to ultra-fast charging supercapacitors.

The key is anodization, a common chemical treatment used to give aluminum a durable and decorative finish. When easily available waste scraps of steel and brass are anodized using a common household chemical and residential electrical current, the researchers found that the metal surfaces are restructured into nanometer-sized networks of metal oxide that can store and release energy when reacting with a water-based liquid electrolyte.

The team determined that these nanometer domains explain the fast charging behaviour as well as the battery's stability. They tested it for 5,000 consecutive charging cycles - the equivalent of over 13 years of daily charging and discharging - and found that it retained more than 90 percent of its capacity.


The Race for EVs

Water Fuels Israeli Aluminum Battery EVs

November 3rd 2016

Electric car Israel

Israeli tech start-up Phinergy has produced a car that runs on metal, air and water. The technology significantly increases the driving range of current electric vehicles and should be in high demand when it hits the marketplace. 


Phinergy is a leading developer of breakthrough, zero emission, high energy density systems based on metal air energy technologies, mainly Aluminum-Air and Zinc-Air. Unlike conventional batteries that carry oxygen, these batteries freely breathe oxygen from the ambient air to release the energy contained in metals.

In the video,anyone can see the car in action, driving over 300 km. in one drive. Just refill the water and you’re good for another few hundred km. Read more ..

The Race for Solar

Panasonic Boost from Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwall

November 1st 2016

Sunrise or Sunset

Tesla, which is in the process of taking over Solar Cityin a $2.2bn deal, is using heterogeneous photovoltaic cells from Panasonic and adding its own tempered glass cover (below) to make the cells more rugged and attractive as roof tiles. The cells combine crystalline and amorphous silicon and provide an efficiency of 19%. The additional glass layer reduces the efficiency of the cell by only 2%, says Tesla.

The tiles include an option of a heater to clear snow so that the cells can still be used in winter and will be paired with the second generation of Tesla’s Powerpack. This uses lithium ion battery cells developed and manufactured by Panasonic. The Powerpack 2 combines two of Panasonic’s 14kWh battery packs with an integrated inverter designed and built by Tesla at its battery gigafactory in Nevada, US. Read more ..

The Race for EVs

Daimler the Latest to Establish Global Battery Production

October 26th 2016


In preparation its strategic shift towards electromobility, carmaker Daimler AG plans to invest 1 billion euros to quadruple its battery production capacity. Construction works for a second production facility at the company’s Kamenz campus have started.

The battery factory will be operated by Daimler subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive GmbH. The battery factory in Kamenz will cost about 500 million euros. Besides expanding the production capacity in Kamenz (Saxony), Daimler also plans to assign the role of a global battery competence center to that campus.


The Race for Energy Conservation

Vampire Power and the Saving Energy Little and Often

October 19th 2016

LED bulb

Jim Bird of Texas Instruments points out that "standby" may be a convenience in home electronics but it is also an energy drain. More needs to be done in saving energy on a global basis but small but ubiquitous changes can have a great impact.

Much time is spent discussing the need for more efficient use of limited energy resources, and with good reason. Energy demand continues to grow and the number of loads is predicted to climb exponentially as Internet of Things (IoT) deployment becomes real. In 2014, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published an enlightening (and somewhat sobering) document titled More Data, Less Power.

It’s a 170-page fact-laden discussion of global IT energy usage with recommendations for managing the predicted growth of worldwide power consumption over the next few decades. The list of contributors is impressive, including the U.S. Department of Energy, tier-one telecom manufacturers, big data, big network and everyone in-between.


The Race for EVs

High-current EV Charging at 400 Amps Gets Closer

October 17th 2016

Better Place

When Audi and Porsche recently put up to discussion their ideas of high-performance electric vehicles, they made clear that the charging infrastructure will be the main bottleneck – after all their vehicles engulf some 350 kW at the charging station. Now the first components for high-performance charging are falling in place.

Independently of one another, connector manufacturer ITT Cannon and cable systems provider Leoni introduced elements of a charging infrastructure capable of reducing the charging time to a few minutes. Leoni showcased the concept design of a charging station capable of charging an 85 kWh battery (like the one used in the Tesla S) within 15 minutes. Within three to five minutes, the battery can be charged for a range of some 100 kilometers. During charging, 400 amps at 1000 volts are carried over the cable. Since conventional cables, dimensioned for lower currents, would overheat during the process, Leoni enables the current-carrying parts to be cooled actively. The company however declined to specify the coolant.


The Race for Solar

Lower Cost Solar Cells - Just Add Water

October 15th 2016

solar power plant

Researchers at Japan's Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University's (OIST) Energy Materials and Surface Sciences Unit have discovered a method of making perovskite films with larger grain sizes that can result in lowering manufacturing costs of solar cells.

Earlier studies had concluded that exposing perovskite films to ambient air was detrimental because moisture reacted with perovskite, which degraded over time. As a result it was believed the material had to be prepared using a heat treatment called annealing in a water-free environment.

OIST researchers set out to investigate the effects of moisture on perovskite formation during 45 minutes of annealing, at temperatures between 105 and 125 degrees centigrade. The researchers grew a type of perovskite that has been shown to work better for solar cells.  Then, they compared the perovskite film's formation in a nitrogen atmosphere with its formation in humid air and found that the films actually receive a growth improvement resulting in larger grain sizes than usual in the presence of moisture. The film grows slowly, so larger grains can form.


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