Researchers achieve a 10x supercapacitor energy density breakthrough

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This flexible graphene supercapacitor design can store 10 times more energy than comparable existing technology

Supercapacitors can charge almost instantly, and discharge enormous amounts of power if needed. They could completely erase the Achilles heel of electric vehicles – their slow charging times – if they could hold more energy. And now Chinese and British scientists say they’ve figured out a way to store 10 times more energy per volume than previous supercapacitors.

A team split between University College London and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has released a study and proof of concept of a new supercapacitor design using graphene laminate films and concentrating on the spacing between the layers, the researchers discovering that they could radically boost energy density when they tailored the sizes of pores in the membranes precisely to the size of electrolyte ions.

Using this design, the team says it’s achieved a massive increase in volumetric energy density. Where “similar fast-charging commercial technology” tends to offer around 5-8 watt-hours per liter, this new design has been tested at a record 88.1 Wh/l. The team claims it’s “the highest ever reported energy density for carbon-based supercapacitors.”

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3D printing gets bigger, faster and stronger

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HARP in action as it vertically and continuously prints a large 3D object.

Research advances are changing the image of a once-niche technology.

A resin printer from Chad Mirkin’s lab at Northwestern University in Illinois can create structures as large as a person in hours (image sequence sped up). Credit: Northwestern University

As a metal platform rises from a vat of liquid resin, it pulls an intricate white shape from the liquid — like a waxy creature emerging from a lagoon. This machine is the world’s fastest resin-based 3D printer and it can create a plastic structure as large as a person in a few hours, says Chad Mirkin, a chemist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The machine, which Mirkin and his colleagues reported last October1, is one of a slew of research advances in 3D printing that are broadening the prospects of a technology once viewed as useful mainly for making small, low-quality prototype parts. Not only is 3D printing becoming faster and producing larger products, but scientists are coming up with innovative ways to print and are creating stronger materials, sometimes mixing multiple materials in the same product.

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Hydrogen-fueled Drones Will Inspect U.S. Gas Pipeline

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Public-safety drone consultancy Skyfire Consulting has announced a partnership with UAV company Doosan Mobility Innovation and hydrogen-fuel service provider ReadyH2 to tackle a pipeline-inspection project for an unnamed American company.

Doosan will deploy a hydrogen-powered octocopter. The drone sports a hydrogen-powered generator fueling two hours of flight time per mission over nearly 50 miles.

ReadyH2, in cooperation with parent company Fortress UAV, will be responsible for providing a ready supply of hydrogen gas for the project.

The six-month mission will establish inspection procedures for a domestic gas pipeline.

“Distances like that are simply not possible on battery technology,” Skyfire CEO Matt Sloane said.

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Construction completed on largest 3D-printed building in the world

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Largest 3D-printed municipality building in Dubai

At 31 feet tall and 6,900 square feet, a new building in Dubai is the largest 3D-printed building in the world — and the first two-story structure of its kind.

The most impressive part of the project? U.S. company Apis Cor built the structure using only three workers and one printer.

Proving that the printer could handle a harsh environment, Apis Cor did the printing outdoors where there was no temperature or humidity control.

However, there was a logistical issue the printer did have to tackle: The square foot area of the building was larger than the printing area of the stationary machine. To solve this technological obstacle, a crane moved the 3D printer around the site.

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What is the most profitable movie ever?

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‘Avatar’? ‘Blair Witch Project’? ‘Star Wars’? The Hollywood Reporter crunches the numbers to see which film has earned the most hard cash.

What’s Hollywood’s most profitable movie ever? The answer depends on how you define “profitable.”

If you think of profit purely as a ratio of production cost to box office gross, 1999’s The Blair Witch Project and 2007’s Paranormal Activity run neck and neck.

Blair Witch involved an initial outlay of $35,000 — but that was just for the shoot; once postproduction was completed, the real budget was over $200,000 (and may have been as much as $500,000), including a sound remix and a transfer to 35mm. Artisan Entertainment’s Bill Block bought the picture for just over $1 million and (after a hefty marketing spend of $6 million to $8 million domestically alone) it earned $249 million globally.

Paranormal only cost $15,000 to make. Later, however, its sound was redone for an additional $150,000; and producers Oren Peli and Jason Blum spent an extra $50,000 to reshoot the ending at Steven Spielberg’s request, bringing the total budget to $215,000. As a return on investment (ROI), looking at the initial outlay alone, that beats Blair Witch — unless you also factor in the marketing costs, in which case Blair is in pole position.

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This is the world’s largest 3D-printed house

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Largest ‘permitted 3D-printed home’ was built at an incredible pace

SQ4D has just 3D-printed an impressively large home, and indeed is claiming that the 1,900 square foot abode is the ‘largest permitted 3D-printed home in the world’, no less.

While larger buildings have been constructed with 3D printing – including this two-storey affair in Dubai, which at almost 7,000 square feet holds the official world record – this is certainly one of the biggest houses we’ve heard about, and it was created at an impressive lick of speed.

SQ4D printed the house in 48 hours, albeit spread across eight days, and it was created right there on-site. That’s quick when you compare it to previous projects such as the 3D-printed houses in Mexico which were 500 square feet and took 24 hours to make.

Furthermore, SQ4D pegs the cost of the construction materials at less than $6,000 (around £4,600). The building work was carried out by the company’s Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS).

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Rolls-Royce ACCEL all-electric plane prepares to set a world record

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Rolls-Royce wants to create the ‘fastest electric plane ever,’ a goal that falls under its Accelerating the Electrification of Flight (ACCEL) initiative. The project is part of Rolls-Royce’s mission to advance aviation with the electrification of flight, opening the door for green air travel. The company is backed by government funding in this effort.

Assuming everything goes according to plan, ACCEL will usher in the fastest all-electric airplane in the world. The company announced last week that it has taken ‘an important step’ in this project by officially unveiling the electric model at the Gloucestershire Airport.

The company explains that its team is starting work on the ACCEL plane’s electrical propulsion system, specifically on integrating this system ahead of the record-breaking flight currently planned for next spring. Rolls-Royce expects the electric plane to reach or exceed 300 MPH.

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Micro-angelo? This 3D-printed ‘David’ is just one millimeter tall

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3D printing has proven itself useful in so many industries that it’s no longer necessary to show off, but some people just can’t help themselves. Case in point: this millimeter-tall rendition of Michelangelo’s famous “David” printed with copper using a newly developed technique.

The aptly named “Tiny David” was created by Exaddon, a spin-off company from another spin-off company, Cytosurge, spun off from Swiss research university ETH Zurich. It’s only a fraction of a millimeter wide and weighs two micrograms.

It was created using Exaddon’s “CERES” 3D printer, which lays down a stream of ionized liquid copper at a rate of as little as femtoliters per second, forming a rigid structure with features as small as a micrometer across. The Tiny David took about 12 hours to print, though something a little simpler in structure could probably be done much quicker.

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Toronto to Montreal Hyperloop Train in under 40 minutes

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Toronto to Montreal Hyperloop Train – Would you like to get from Montreal to Toronto in 39 minutes, in a futuristic vehicle propelling you through a low-pressure tube at up to 1080 kilometers per hour? Well, that soon may very well be possible with the Toronto to Montreal Hyperloop Train.

Toronto and Montreal are finalists in Hyperloop One’s global competition to build the first ‘hyperloop high-speed transportation system’. The Toronto to Montreal route is one of their top choices. The two cities are major contenders where the company would build one of their first routes in the world.

The proposed route would connect Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto and would travel 2-3 times faster than high-speed rail and magnetic levitation trains and 10-15 times faster than traditional rail.

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Chinese scientists create ‘game-changer’ methanol battery that keeps drone in the air for 12 hours

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Developers of FY-36 say they overcame ‘tons of problems’ to create alcohol-fuelled battery that allows 15kg (33lb)6 drone to fly for up to 12 hours

With 15 test flights under their belt, Chinese team achieve methanol-powered flight before German company

Scientists working on a drone development programme created a “game-changing” methanol-powered fuel system that kept their UAV in the air for 12 hours.

It took them more than two years to get the FY-36 unmanned aerial vehicle to the flying prototype stage, said Zhang Wenyu, general manager of Feye UAV Technology, a Tianjin-based drone manufacturer that collaborated with the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in northeastern Liaoning province.

At 15 kilograms (33 pounds), the low-noise FY-36 can be lifted by an adult or transported in a pickup truck, and designers said its hybrid aerodynamic shape – with four vertical propellers – can allow it to cruise at speeds as high as 90km/h, or 56mph.

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Jet-powered VTOL drone is like a quadcopter on steroids

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The current AB5 JetQuad prototype has a claimed top speed of 250 mph (402 km/h)FusionFlight

While propeller planes certainly do have their place, sometimes the extra speed and thrust of a jet engine is what’s really needed. Dallas, Texas-based FusionFlight has applied that sort of thinking to quadcopter-style drones, resulting in the AB5 JetQuad.

According to the company, the AB5 is “the world’s smallest and most powerful jet-powered drone with vertical take-off and landing [VTOL] capabilities.”

Instead of the usual four electric motors and propellers, the current prototype has four diesel-powered microturbine jet engines which produce a combined 200 horsepower (149 kW) at full throttle. Thanks to a proprietary vectoring system known as the H-Configuration, the thrust from these engines can be directed either to move the drone vertically when taking off and landing, or horizontally while in flight.

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The world’s most valuable company

After multiple delays, Saudia Arabia is finally making it happen.

A much-watched step in the country’s goals to modernize and privatize parts of its economy, its state-owned oil business, Saudi Aramco, raised $25.6 billion in the world’s largest IPO ever after pricing 3 billion shares at 32 riyals ($8.53) apiece.

The raise beats the largest yet—that of Alibaba’s in 2014—by about $600 million. It also crowns the company as the most valuable among publicly-traded companies right now.

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