Even as technology advances at a mind-boggling rate, batteries always seem to lag behind. It often hinders the development of novel devices and gadgets simply due to their bulky size or limited storage capacity. Continue reading… “3D, high-capacity soft batteries created using trees”
“I thought it was a student prank,” professor Donald Sadoway remembers chuckling at an e-mail in August 2009 from a woman claiming to represent Bill Gates. The world’s richest man wondered if he could meet the guy teaching popular MIT course, Introduction to Solid State Chemistry, that Gates had taken online. Continue reading… “Better batteries: A $5 billion race”
SolidEnergy, a new startup, has developed a new kind of lithium-ion battery that stores far more energy, that could let portable electronics such as smartphones and smart watches last twice as long between charges. Continue reading… “New battery for portable electronics that lasts twice as long”
Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser
The head of Volkswagen’s powertrain development, Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser, thinks that electric cars with over 300 miles of range aren’t too far off. The foundation of his argument is that the energy density of electric car batteries has been improving rapidly and will continue to do so.
The new lithium-ion battery technology charges faster, lasts longer and outputs more power than current lithium-ion batteries.
A University of Alberta research team may have made a breakthrough that will ultimately lead to dramatic improvements in the batteries that power everything from laptops and smartphones to medical devices and tools. The lithium-ion battery technology the team is currently developing charges faster, lasts longer and outputs more power than current lithium-ion batteries, according to lead researcher Xinwei Cui.
Some newer clean energy sources are becoming mainstream industries with low prices and established financing models like solar panels and wind turbines. But even in this era of emerging predictable clean energy, there are some pretty weird, experimental and ambitious energy projects under development. And they’re trying to move out of the lab and off of research papers, and into actual production.
Tesla Motors, the electric car maker, hasn’t just blazed its own trail when it comes to designing and building a hot electric car. It’s also made breakthroughs in many aspects of the automotive business (the sales channel, the servicing, the over-the-air-software updates) and now it’s doing the same thing for the core part of the electric car: the battery.
When you hear the name Bluetooth, it brings back bad memories of the wireless cell phone earpiece that was more personal statement than practical tool. But Bluetooth has come of age. It has become the muse of several start-ups and established companies that are finding new and creative ways to take advantage of Bluetooth’s drastic uptick in efficiency, from the Nike Fuelband to the Pebble Smartwatch, which we previously featured on “This Could Be Big.”
The top five most disruptive technologies in 2012 include energy storage technology no one thought would ever work, gesture-based interfaces that will make touch screens look as quaint as floppy disks, and computers and connectivity so cheap they’re adding billions more people to the internet. For a technology to make it onto this list, it didn’t have to be invented in 2012; in many cases, it’s enough that there was a significant development this year in its journey toward rewriting our relationship with machines and each other.
Large batteries could be used for storing excess power from the electrical grid for future use.
New Stanford University research could point the way to large-scale, long-lasting power grid batteries. These kinds of batteries would be especially useful for making technologies like solar and wind power more practical, allowing vast amounts of storage to be stored for periods of time in which the skies are calm or overcast.
The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant in Þingvellir, Iceland.
In absolute terms, lithium is not particularly rare on Earth. It’s the 25th most abundant element, close to nickel and lead. Bolivia alone is estimated to have enough lithium to make batteries for 4.8 billion electric cars, and since lithium is not destroyed in use – unlike fossil fuels – old batteries can be recycled into new ones, or used to smooth out the output of wind farms.
So the question isn’t: Will we have enough lithium? Rather, it’s more like: As demand for it explodes, can we ramp up production rapidly enough, at a low enough cost, and while keeping it as environmentally-friendly as possible. It’s still probably going to be much better to make a battery once and then use it for years with progressively cleaner electricity (as the grid incorporates more and more renewable energy) rather than fill up a gas tank with non-renewable fossil fuels from halfway around the world every week, but even in that scenario, it’s going to be better if we can get the lithium cleanly and close to where we’ll use it. That’s where geothermal power plants enter the picture…
Nissan says it has developed a 10-minute charge for electric cars.
Current charge times take up to eight hours for most electric vehicles. But charging an electric car may soon be as quick and easy as refueling at the pump.