Lithium-Sulfur Battery Could Quadruple Battery Life

Researchers at Australia’s Monash University have developed what they’re calling “the world’s most efficient lithium-sulphur (Li-S) battery,” an ultra-high-capacity design that could quadruple camera battery life and run a smartphone for 5 consecutive days without a charge.

The Monash team, led by Dr. Mahdokht Shaibani, has reason to be optimistic. Their design already has an approved patent, prototypes have already been manufactured in Germany, and “some of the world’s largest producers of lithium batteries” have apparently expressed interest in upscaling production.

…The new Li-S design seems to offer the best of all worlds: boasting four-times the performance of the best Li-Ion batteries on the market while significantly decreasing the environmental impact of manufacturing. And while the main examples given in the announcement are phones (5 day battery life) and electric cars (1000km/621-mile range), the potential applications in all consumer electronics…are obvious.

I’m waiting, I’m waiting!

Thanks, Honeyman

Tesla getting ready to introduce million-mile electric vehicle battery

Battery on wheels

❝ Battery research revealed earlier this month and affiliated with Tesla could suggest that the company is well on its way to bringing a million-mile battery to market.

The result could last three times as long as Tesla’s current cells—6,000 cycles, across a wide temperature range—and be the electric-car brand’s “secret sauce” as it moves to prove its vehicles as high-mileage self-driving workhorses.

❝ The work was presented by pioneering lithium-ion battery researcher Jeff Dahm, and focused on a new “single crystal nickel metal hydride (NMC)/artificial graphite” chemistry.

“We conclude that cells of this type should be able to power an electric vehicle for over 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) and last at least two decades in grid energy storage,” the paper’s authors outline…

❝ Research presented in the paper, published September 6 in Journal of The Electrochemical Society, was supported by Tesla Canada and included years of testing…

Notable in other articles/interviews with Dahm is that Musk isn’t trying to hold the technology secret. Building the EV industry as a whole is also beneficial to Tesla. After all, they’ll still probably be first on the street with this tech.

The Electric Vehicle Takeover

Click to enlarge

❝ Do you want the big thing or the new thing?…More importantly: Do you want to invest in the big thing or the new thing?

It’s a question that haunts any industry vulnerable to disruption, which is pretty much all of them these days.

❝ Take the automotive business. Bloomberg New Energy Finance just released its latest long-term outlook for electric vehicles. It posits, startlingly, that sales of all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will overtake those using internal combustion engines within roughly two decades…

The late 2030s may sound like a long way away. But they aren’t when put in the context of an automotive industry that’s only been around for a century or so.

❝ Looked at differently, BNEF’s projection suggests electric vehicles account for all the growth in global vehicle sales within a decade from now…

Based on BNEF’s projections, global sales of vehicles will rise by 1.67 million in the year 2026. But sales of electric vehicles are forecast to rise by 2.06 million, while the number of vehicles using internal combustion engines will fall slightly, by around 400,000. To be clear, absolute sales of electric vehicles in that year are expected to be just over 10 million, versus almost 87 million for their traditional counterparts…

❝ And while it is tough for incumbents to pivot to a new business, it is not impossible…it was critical for Facebook that, even as it was launching its IPO in 2012, it was also overhauling its business to focus on smartphones rather than its desktop PC product — despite the latter accounting for 89 percent of the company’s advertising revenue that year…

Facebook’s desktop product dominated its advertising revenue in 2012 — but all the growth potential was in smartphones.

More examples dot the financial map. VW planning on investing $10 billion into electric vehicle manufacture – mostly in the United States for global distribution. The Brits announced, today, legislation to end registration of diesel or gasoline-powered motor vehicles in the UK by 2040.

Those drops of water appearing under your front door look like the beginning of a flood to me.

Li-air battery could make oil obsolete in ten years

Scientists have developed a working laboratory demonstrator of a lithium-oxygen battery which has very high energy density, is more than 90% efficient over its discharge-recharge cycle, and can be recharged more than 2,000 times.

Lithium-oxygen, or lithium-air, batteries have been touted as the ‘ultimate’ battery due to their theoretical energy density, which is ten times that of a lithium-ion battery.

Such a high energy density would be comparable to that of gasoline – and would enable an electric car with a battery that is a fifth the cost and a fifth the weight of those currently on the market to drive 400 miles on a single charge – from London to Edinburgh, or from Boston to Washington DC.

Although the energy density remains lower than for oil, the electrical energy is used far more efficiently with very low losses. Typical cars and trucks today waste 75% of fuel energy in heat. Also there is no need for the heavy engines and transmission systems required in oil-powered vehicles.

In fact the Li-air batteries could even be light enough to propel aircraft – weaning the world off one of the most intractable uses of fossil energy as aviation fuel.

This is the first time that any battery technology has even come close to challenging the energy density of petroleum fuels, and therefore represents a major tipping point in the world’s energy choices in coming decades.

However, as is the case with other next-generation batteries, there are several practical challenges that need to be addressed before lithium-air batteries become a viable alternative to gasoline.

Now researchers from the University of Cambridge have shown how some of these obstacles may be overcome, and developed a lab-based demonstrator of a lithium-air battery which has higher capacity, increased energy efficiency and improved stability over previous attempts…

Their demonstrator relies on a highly porous, ‘fluffy’ carbon electrode made from graphene (comprising one-atom-thick sheets of carbon atoms), and additives that alter the chemical reactions at work in the battery, making it more stable and more efficient.

While the results, reported in the journal Science, are promising, the researchers caution that a practical lithium-air battery still remains at least a decade away.

A decade’s worth of technology development seems forever in a world where geologic time has already been challenged, corrupted by industrial chapters passing. But, tech time can indeed move faster than we are used to. The confidence expressed by Professor Clare Grey of Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry is appreciated…”We haven’t solved all the problems inherent to this chemistry, but our results do show routes forward towards a practical device”

Maybe it sounds overly optimistic for a cranky old geek like me to make a note to track her progress over the next decade. After all, the actuarial tables back when I retired noted I should be dead by my birthday next year – and I don’t plan on that happening. I don’t act like it either. 🙂

Removable tattoo doubles as a battery — Huh? Wha?

Scientists continue to unveil impressive innovations at the American Chemical Society’s annual conference, currently being held in San Francisco. The latest is a removable tattoo that doubles as a miniature battery — turning human sweat into storable electricity.

The device is meant to be worn during a trip to the gym. It can monitor a person’s progress during exercise routines while simultaneously powering a small electronic device, like an iPod.

The mini tattoo tracks athletic performance by measuring levels of lactate in sweat secreted by the exerciser…

Currently, lactate testing is done via blood samples. But by installing a lactate sensor in a temporary tattoo, researchers found a way to track performance in a much less evasive way. They also found a way to produce electricity. As the sensor processes the lactate in the sweat, it strips the lactate of electrons.

Engineers designed the sensor so it could pass the stripped electrons from an anode to a cathode, just like a battery.

UC nanoengineering professor Dr. Joseph Wang said the device is “the first example of a biofuel cell that harvests energy from body fluid.”

There must be some way to make money from sex – using this discovery.

Thieves get to fatal crash in Carlsbad, NM, before coppers — steal the victim’s tires, rims

If you’re coming to visit the Carlsbad Caverns – try not to have an accident on the way

When Carlsbad police heard of a fatal car crash Wednesday morning, they weren’t expecting what they saw when they arrived on the scene. Parts of the victim’s car were missing – an indication that someone had not only found the man hours earlier, but had also stolen from him in what were perhaps his last moments.

Steven Roy Reese, 26, of Carlsbad, was reportedly traveling southbound on the dirt road adjacent to the irrigation canal between Lea Street and Boyd Drive when he lost control of his vehicle, according to a press release from the Carlsbad Police Department. Officers believe Reese overcorrected to regain control, causing his 1996 Ford Explorer to flip two times and land on top of him. Reese was dead when police arrived on the scene, and a report from the Office of the Medical Investigator revealed Reese had been dead for approximately 8-12 hours before police found him…

Some time during the night, an unknown person reportedly removed Goodyear Wrangler tires, two Ford factory aluminum wheels and the battery from Reese’s 1996 Ford Explorer. This behavior is certainly unusual, Carlsbad police Lt. Jennifer Moyers said, and extremely insensitive.

The area in which the accident happened, about half a mile south of Lea Street, is not well traveled, so it’s not unusual that the police weren’t called immediately after the crash took place, Moyers said.

“But typically when we have something like this happen, people call in right away. It’s terrible,” she said of the thief who she believes may have found the car lying on its side during the night.

Moyers said the person who stole the parts from Reese’s car could definitely face criminal charges. “There could be a couple of charges – theft and failure to give notice of the accident,” she said.

If the person tries to sell the stolen items, that would be an additional offense as well, Moyers said.

Life in the American West?

Scientists create Borg cockroach that produces its own electricity

An insect’s internal chemicals can be converted to electricity, potentially providing power for sensors, recording devices or to control the bug, a group of researchers at Case Western Reserve University report.

The finding is yet another in a growing list from universities across the country that could bring the creation of insect cyborgs – touted as possible first responders to super spies – out of science fiction and into reality. In this case, the power supply, while small, doesn’t rely on movement, light or batteries, just normal feeding…

“It is virtually impossible to start from scratch and make something that works like an insect,” said Daniel Scherson, chemistry professor at Case Western Reserve and senior author of the paper. “Using an insect is likely to prove far easier,” Scherson said. “For that, you need electrical energy to power sensors or to excite the neurons to make the insect do as you want, by generating enough power out of the insect itself.”

Scherson’s team…developed an implantable biofuel cell to provide usable power…

The researchers found the cockroaches suffered no long-term damage, which bodes well for long-term use.

The researchers are now taking several steps to move the technology forward: miniaturizing the fuel cell so that it can be fully implanted and allow an insect to run or fly normally; investigating materials that may last long inside of an insect, working with other researchers to build a signal transmitter that can run on little energy; adding a lightweight rechargeable battery.

“It’s possible the system could be used intermittently,” Scherson said. “An insect equipped with a sensor could measure the amount of noxious gas in a room, broadcast the finding, shut down and recharge for an hour, then take a new measurement and broadcast again.”

Or photograph a famous politician having illicit sex.

RTFA for the technology and science.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

IBM is developing an air battery for 500-mile range electric cars

One nagging issue with electric vehicles is range. While today’s lithium-ion batteries are much better than yesterday’s nickel-metal hydride batteries, they still don’t offer enough energy storage to take an EV much further than 100 miles without a lengthy recharge. Even if the Li-ion batteries were up to the challenge, there is still the awkward problem of where to pack 1,000 pounds (or more) of bulky storage cells into a vehicle’s chassis.

IBM thinks it has a solution with a promising new lithium-air battery. According to the technology giant, a typical Li-air battery cell has a theoretical energy density more than 1,000 times greater than today’s industry-standard Li-ion battery cell. Even better, Li-air batteries are one-fifth the size and they offer a lifespan at least five times as long.

So, what has been holding IBM back? It appears that there was a problem with the the original Li-air automotive application, as frequent recharging cycles compromised battery life. However, the engineers have recently found alternative electrolyte compounds that look very promising. The team’s goal is to have a full-scale prototype ready by 2013, with commercial batteries on sale by the end of the decade.

Bravo! I’m afraid we’ll have to replace my wife’s decades-old Volvo before an affordable EV is actually available on the car lots of New Mexico. But – I keep watch on projects like this, anyway. Maybe, we’ll get the opportunity to buy one, yet.

Wrongly jailed – Why must this woman sue for justice in Atlanta?

When Teresa Culpepper called Atlanta police to report her car stolen, the last thing she expected was to land behind bars for 53 days in a case of mistaken identity.

Mistaken for a woman of the same first name who was wanted on a battery charge, Culpepper is now trying to return her life to normal after the ordeal cost her home and her car. Her attorney said none of it would have happened if police had followed basic procedures…

Culpepper’s saga started August 21, whe she called police to report that her car was stolen, attorney Ashleigh Merchant said. An officer took information from her, but never filed a report. Shortly after, police dispatchers called out a bulletin, alerting officers to look out for a woman named Teresa Gilbert who was suspected of aggravated battery.

Police returned to Culpepper’s house and arrested her. And the differences between the two women didn’t stop at their last names, Merchant said.

“The birth dates didn’t match. The addresses were different. The description didn’t match. Other than the name Teresa, nothing matched,” Merchant said. “All they had to do was show a picture of Teresa to the victim and none of this would have happened…”

Weeks later…the battery victim came forward in court and cleared Culpepper’s name. Released on October 12, Culpepper found herself homeless and her car in the impound lot.

“After investigating this matter thoroughly and discussing it carefully with the Atlanta Police Department, we have concluded that the wrong person was arrested,” District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. said in a written statement to CNN affiliate WSB. “The fact that both of the women in question had the same first name and lived in the same police beat led the officer to believe Ms. Culpepper was responsible … Unfortunately, the officer never presented a picture or any form of identification to the victim.”

Culpepper is seeking legal action against the Atlanta police, Merchant said.

“It is scary, really,” Merchant said. “Because it is not like Teresa is an uncommon name. It makes you feel that it could have happened to anybody.”

Well, at least anybody who is Black and named Teresa – in Atlanta.

An untold tale of September 11th


I’ve mentioned before that I grew up subsistence fishing on the New England coast. I come from island people – on my father’s side of the family.

Prince Edward Isle up in Canada. South Uist in the Outer Hebrides before that. And no matter what you do for a living the sea is an integral part of your life.

These are the some of the people who work on the water – who helped folks on the morning of 9/11.

Thanks, Ursarodina