A group of Rice University mechanical engineering students are getting a charge out of having the coolest new shoes on campus. As their capstone project that is required for graduation, four seniors created a way to extract and store energy with every step. Their PediPower shoes turn motion into juice for portable electronics and, perhaps someday, for life-preserving medical devices.
Technology created an energy revolution over the past decade—just not the one we expected. By now, cars were supposed to be running on fuel made from plant waste or algae—or powered by hydrogen. Electricity would be generated with solar panels and wind turbines. Fossil fuels? They were going to be expensive and scarce. But in the race to conquer energy technology, Old Energy is winning.
Japan's transport minister says the government is poised to allow Japanese carriers to resume flying the Boeing 787 once they complete repairs to problematic lithium ion batteries. Transport Minister Akihiro Ohta says in a statement on the ministry's Website that the approval could come as early as Friday night following an expected official safety order from U.S. federal regulators.
Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have designed a low-cost, long-life battery that could enable solar and wind energy to become major suppliers to the electrical grid. The developers believe their new membrane-free battery, based on lithium and sulfur, may be the best yet designed to regulate alternative energies.
Nanotechnology typically describes any material, device, or technology where feature sizes are smaller than 100 nanometers in dimension. However, this new and uncharted direction in research provides a large spark for new product and drug delivery development. To achieve these discoveries, scientists must rely on specialized instruments and materials to drive their experiments and analysis.
As airlines prepare to begin flying Boeing's beleaguered 787 Dreamliners again, federal investigators are looking at how regulators and the company tested and approved the plane's cutting-edge battery system, and whether the government cedes too much authority to aircraft makers for safety testing.
Though they be but little, they are fierce. The most powerful batteries on the planet are only a few millimeters in size, yet they pack such a punch that a driver could use a cellphone powered by these batteries to jump-start a dead car battery—and then recharge the phone in the blink of an eye. Developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the new microbatteries out-power even the best supercapacitors.
As an energy-storage material for batteries and capacitors, manganese dioxide has a lot going for it. However, chemical capacitors made with manganese dioxide have lacked the power of the typical carbon-based physical capacitor. A Michigan Technological University theorized that the situation could be improved if the manganese dioxide were made into nanorods, which are like nanotubes, only solid instead of hollow.
Once they've finished powering electric vehicles for hundreds of thousands of miles, it may not be the end of the road for automotive batteries. Five used Chevrolet Volt batteries are at the heart of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's effort to determine the feasibility of a community energy storage system that would put electricity onto the grid.
A new chemical process can transform waste sulfur into a lightweight plastic that may improve batteries for electric cars, reports a University of Arizona-led team. The new plastic has other potential uses, including optical uses. The team has successfully used the new plastic to make lithium-sulfur batteries.
Taking a significant step toward improving the power delivery of systems ranging from urban electrical grids to regenerative braking in hybrid vehicles, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have synthesized a material that shows high capability for both the rapid storage and release of energy.
More powerful batteries could help electric cars achieve a considerably larger range and thus a breakthrough on the market. A new nanomaterial made from tiny tin crystals, deployed at the anode of lithium-ion batteries, has been developed in the labs of chemists in Europe and enables considerably more power to be stored in these batteries.
Researchers in Switzerland have used X-ray tomography to screen lithium-ion battery electrodes and have reconstructed these microstructures in high resolution. The flow behavior of the lithium ions, they have found, can be described by what is known as tortuosity. To put it simply, the more twisted the path of the ions through the electrode, the more slowly the battery is charged or discharged.
The shrinking size and increasing capacity of batteries in the past few decades has made possible devices that have transformed everyday life. But small isn't the only frontier for battery technology. As the world enters its most energy-intensive era, the search is on for bigger, cheaper, and safer batteries that can capture, store, and efficiently use sustainable energy on a large scale. To determine how best to meet those large-scale energy needs, researchers are probing small-scale, off-the-shelf D-cell batteries.
Electric cars are still an iffy proposition for most consumers because of the limited range offered by lithium-ion battery. A promising avenue of research is the lithium-sulfur battery, which is significantly more powerful and less expensive than the better-known lithium-ion battery. Although their short lifespan has made them unsuitable before now, this may be about to change if development work in Germany is successful.
Certain bacteria can breathe iron like we breathe oxygen. Understanding how they do so will help researchers use the microbes for cleaning up soil contaminants, for trapping carbon dioxide, or for making batteries out of bacteria. Now, a team of researchers report that proteins on the surface of bacteria produce an electric current by simply touching a mineral surface, allowing them to breathe the iron in the rock.
A Boeing 787 with a redesigned battery system made a 2-hour test flight on Monday, and the company said the event "went according to plan." The test flight was an important step in Boeing Co.'s plan to convince safety regulators to let airlines resume using the plane, which the company calls the Dreamliner.
According to recent research at Rice University, vanadium oxide and graphene may be a key new set of materials for improving lithium-ion storage. Ribbons created at Rice from these two materials are thousands of times thinner than a sheet of paper, yet have potential that far outweighs current materials for their ability to charge and discharge very quickly. Initial capacity remains at 90% or more after more than 1,000 cycles.
Boeing's comments about the smoldering batteries on its 787 have annoyed the National Transportation Safety Board. Boeing gave its own account of two battery incidents, which included a fire, at a detailed press briefing in Tokyo last week. The problem is that the NTSB is still investigating the incidents. Boeing is a party to the investigation, meaning it provides technical experts and, in effect, gets a seat at the table as investigators try to sort out what happened.
Boeing CEO Ray Conner has met with Japan's transport minister and other officials in Tokyo to explain his company's proposal for resolving problems with the 787 Dreamliner's lithium-ion batteries that have kept the aircraft grounded for over a month.
Northwestern University’s Yonggang Huang and the University of Illinois’ John A. Rogers are the first to demonstrate a stretchable lithium-ion battery—a flexible device capable of powering their innovative stretchable electronics. Their battery continues to work—powering a commercial light-emitting diode (LED)—even when stretched, folded, twisted and mounted on a human elbow. The battery can work for eight to nine hours before it needs recharging, which can be done wirelessly.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and California Lithium Battery Inc. (CalBattery), a Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator portfolio company, announced that they have signed a licensing agreement for an Argonne-developed, silicon-graphene composite anode material for high-energy lithium batteries.
Japanese investigators have identified the causes of fuel leaks and other problems with Boeing's 787 but are still investigating the more serious battery problem that forced an emergency landing in January and the worldwide grounding of the jets. The Transport Ministry on Friday released the results of its investigation into problems that occurred with 787 Dreamliner jets in January.
While the demand for ever-smaller electronic devices has spurred the miniaturization of a variety of technologies, one area has lagged behind in this downsizing revolution: energy storage units, such as batteries and capacitors. Now, a team from University of California, Los Angeles may have changed the game by developing a groundbreaking technique that uses a DVD burner to fabricate microscale graphene-based supercapacitors.
A probe into the overheating of a lithium ion battery in an All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 found it was improperly wired, Japan's Transport Ministry said Wednesday. The Transport Safety Board said in a report that the battery of the aircraft's auxiliary power unit was incorrectly connected to the main battery that overheated, although a protective valve would have prevented power from the APU from doing damage.