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NTSB: Plane batteries not necessarily unsafe

February 6, 2013 12:20 pm | by JOAN LOWY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The use of lithium ion batteries to power aircraft systems isn't necessarily unsafe despite a battery fire in one Boeing 787 Dreamliner and smoke in another, but manufacturers need to build in reliable safeguards, the nation's top aviation safety investigator said Wednesday.

Japan 787 probe finds thermal runaway in battery

February 5, 2013 2:37 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Japan's Transport Safety Board says the lithium ion battery aboard a Boeing 787 flight in Japan last month found evidence of the same type of "thermal runaway" seen in a similar incident in Boston. The board said in a report Tuesday that CAT scans and other analysis found damage to all eight cells in the battery that overheated on an All Nippon Airways 787 on Jan. 16, prompting an emergency landing.

Self-powered nanoscale devices never need new batteries

February 4, 2013 8:59 am | by Adam Piore, Columbia University | News | Comments

Researchers at Columbia University are attempting to build self-powered systems using nanoscale devices that can transmit and receive wireless signals using so little power that their batteries never need replacing. Some of the chips built so far are 100 times more energy efficient than most standard technologies, and they rely on tiny bits of ambient solar energy to recharge themselves.

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AP Exclusive: 787 grounded, but batteries can fly

February 3, 2013 4:34 am | by JOAN LOWY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

At the time the government certified Boeing's 787 Dreamliners as safe, federal rules barred the type of batteries used to power the airliner's electrical systems from being carried as cargo on passenger planes because of the fire risk. Now the situation is reversed.

Japan to send investigators to US for 787 probe

January 31, 2013 10:55 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Japan's Civil Aviation Bureau is sending investigators looking into problems with Boeing 787 batteries to Seattle, where the aircraft are assembled. The Transport Ministry said members of the team working on the investigation would leave Tokyo on Sunday for Seattle. It provided no further details.

License will lead to faster-charging batteries

January 31, 2013 7:58 am | News | Comments

An enhanced battery technology that can potentially reduce the time it takes to charge cell phones, electric vehicles, and other battery-powered devices from hours to minutes is the subject of a commercial license agreement between Battelle and Vorbeck Materials Corp. The agreement will allow Vorbeck to bring lithium batteries incorporating Vor-X graphene technology to market for use in consumer portable electronic and medical devices, tools, and electric vehicles.

Exotic chemical compound could be useful in batteries

January 24, 2013 2:08 pm | News | Comments

Northwestern University graduate student Jonathan Barnes had a hunch for creating an exotic new chemical compound, and his idea that the force of love is stronger than hate proved correct. He and his colleagues are the first to permanently interlock two identical tetracationic rings that normally are repelled by each other. Many experts had said it couldn't be done.

Research paves way for larger, safer lithium-ion batteries

January 24, 2013 7:45 am | News | Comments

Looking toward improved batteries for charging electric cars and storing energy from renewable but intermittent solar and wind, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed the first high-performance, nanostructured solid electrolyte for more energy-dense lithium-ion batteries.

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What holds energy tech back? The infernal battery

January 23, 2013 10:10 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

As 21st century technology strains to become ever faster, cleaner and cheaper, an invention from more than 200 years ago keeps holding it back. It's why electric cars aren't clogging the roads and why Boeing's new ultra-efficient 787 Dreamliners aren't flying high. And chances are you have this little invention next to you right now and probably have cursed it recently: the infernal battery.

Researcher uses snail teeth to improve solar cells, batteries

January 16, 2013 2:13 pm | News | Comments

An assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering is using the teeth of a marine snail found off the coast of California to create less costly and more efficient nanoscale materials to improve solar cells and lithium-ion batteries.

Engineer develops rechargeable batteries with layered nanomaterials

January 16, 2013 10:14 am | News | Comments

A Kansas State University researcher is developing more efficient ways to save costs, time, and energy when creating nanomaterials and lithium-ion batteries. Gurpreet Singh and his research team have published two recent articles on newer, cheaper, and faster methods for creating nanomaterials that can be used for lithium-ion batteries.

Egg-cellent world-record battery performance

January 9, 2013 7:59 am | News | Comments

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University scientists have set a world record for energy storage, using a clever "yolk-shell" design to store five times more energy in the sulfur cathode of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery than is possible with today's commercial technology.

Researchers seek longer battery life for electric locomotive

January 4, 2013 9:34 am | News | Comments

Norfolk Southern Railway No. 999 is the first all-electric, battery-powered locomotive in the United States. But when one of the thousand lead-acid batteries that power it dies, the locomotive shuts down. To combat this problem, a team of Penn State University researchers is developing more cost-effective ways to prolong battery life.

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PNNL recognized for transferring innovations to the marketplace

December 21, 2012 9:21 am | News | Comments

The Federal Laboratory Consortium announced this week that the Department of Energy national laboratory in Richland is receiving three 2013 Excellence in Technology Transfer awards in recognition for creating technologies or processes that can store large amounts of renewable energy until it's needed, fight cancer and detect explosives, and then moving the innovations to the marketplace.

Artificial intelligence helps sort used batteries

December 19, 2012 12:07 pm | News | Comments

Research at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology has resulted in a new type of machine that sorts used batteries by means of artificial intelligence (AI). One machine is now being used in the U.K., sorting one-third of the country's recycled batteries.

New factor could limit life of hybrid and electric car batteries

December 13, 2012 8:02 am | News | Comments

A new study of the batteries commonly used in hybrid and electric-only cars has revealed an unexpected factor that could limit the performance of batteries currently on the road. Researchers led by Ohio State University engineers examined used car batteries and discovered that over time lithium accumulates beyond the battery electrodes—in the "current collector," a sheet of copper which facilitates electron transfer between the electrodes and the car's electrical system.

A madder way to cultivate green batteries

December 12, 2012 7:58 am | News | Comments

Here's a reason to be glad about madder: The climbing plant has the potential to make a greener rechargeable battery. Scientists at Rice University and the City College of New York have discovered that the madder plant, aka Rubia tinctorum, is a good source of purpurin, an organic dye that can be turned into a highly effective, natural cathode for lithium-ion batteries.

Study: Wind, solar, and energy storage could power electric grid

December 11, 2012 9:49 am | by Teresa Messmore, University of Delaware | News | Comments

According to new research by the University of Delaware, renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9% of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses. The study’s authors developed a computer model to consider 28 billion combinations of renewable energy sources and storage mechanisms, each tested over four years of historical hourly weather data and electricity demands.

DOE awards up to $120 million for battery hub

December 3, 2012 8:25 am | News | Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that a multipartner team led by Argonne National Laboratory has been selected for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub. The Hub will combine the R&D firepower of five DOE national laboratories, five universities, and four private firms in an effort aimed at achieving advances in battery performance.

James' bond: Team creates seamless graphene/nanotube hybrid

November 27, 2012 12:57 pm | News | Comments

Led by Rice University chemist James Tour, researchers have successfully grown forests of carbon nanotubes that rise quickly from sheets of graphene to astounding lengths of up to 120 μm. That translates into a massive amount of surface area, the key factor in making things like energy-storing supercapacitors. The 3D structure connects graphene to nanotubes with covalent bonds, resulting in a stable structure.

Study offers new insights into catalytic activity of copper

November 9, 2012 12:38 pm | News | Comments

Catalysis is an incredibly valuable tool in the field of chemistry, but it typically requires precious metals that are both expensive and potentially harmful to the environment. Researchers in Sweden say they have discovered that copper, which is not typically known for its catalytic properties, had unexpectedly been responsible for catalytic activity as part of research into iron catalysts.

Researchers develop effective thermal energy storage system

November 9, 2012 7:52 am | News | Comments

Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a thermal energy storage system that will work as a viable alternative to current methods used for storing energy collected from solar panels. Incorporating the researchers' design into the operation of a concentrated solar power plant will dramatically increase annual energy production while significantly decreasing production costs.

Improving lithium battery performance

November 8, 2012 8:50 am | News | Comments

Lithium batteries are used in many devices such as cell phones, computers, and cameras, among others. University of Delaware doctoral student Wei-Fan Kuan is investigating ways to improve membranes used in lithium batteries by capitalizing on the innate properties of block copolymers.

New device could allow your heartbeat to power pacemaker

November 5, 2012 3:29 pm | News | Comments

An experimental device invented at the University of Michigan is able to convert energy from a beating heart, enough to provide electricity to power a pacemaker. The innovation, which relies on piezoelectricity, could eliminate the need for surgeries to replace pacemakers with depleted batteries.

Team boosts silicon-based batteries

November 5, 2012 9:24 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice University have refined silicon-based lithium-ion technology by literally crushing their previous work to make a high-capacity, long-lived, and low-cost anode material with serious commercial potential for rechargeable lithium batteries.

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