Tesla batteries are powering an energy revolution

SolarCity generator

Tesla Motors lithium-ion battery packs aren’t just powering electric luxury sports sedans for wealthy any more. They’ve started appearing in a small number of California homes to store electricity generated by rooftop solar panels, and SolarCity, the Silicon Valley solar installer, will start providing Tesla batteries for businesses that want to cut their utility bills.

 

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Replacing batteries with super capacitors: Volvo’s quest to create the ultimate electric vehicle

The battery is the biggest limitation for electric vehicles (EV).  Tesla, General Motors, Nissan and others install heavy batteries that limit vehicle range and performance. The batteries take up as much as 15% of the vehicle’s total weight.

 

 

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Researchers develop cheaper, longer-lasting futuristic copper foam batteries

Prieto Battery’s copper foam.

Power plants, wind farms, and smartphones all suffer from the same basic ailment — they lack cheap, reliable, long-life batteries to store large amounts of energy for when the sun goes down, the wind stops blowing, or the device is unplugged for a long time.

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Tesla patents next-gen battery that will last 400 miles

One common problem with electric cars is there is a lack of charging stations to charge the cars on long drives. “After you run out of battery power, a small four-cylinder engine runs a generator to extend the range of the car for another 300 or 400 miles, and you can always just keep putting more gas into it to keep on going,” writes Evan Ackerman.

 

 

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Molten Air batteries have the highest storage capacity ever seen

High energy capacity, cost effective batteries are urgently needed for a wide range of medical, transportation and power generation devices, including in greenhouse gas reduction applications such as overcoming the battery driven “range anxiety” of electric vehicles, and increased capacity energy storage for the electric grid. Now there is a new class of battery that uses a molten electrolyte, are quasi-reversible (rechargeable), and have amongst the highest intrinsic battery electric energy storage capacities.

 

 

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Worldwide there are 633 energy storage projects now underway

Global energy storage market share chart via Navigant Research

Due to government funding, energy storage technology is seeing serious returns on investments around the world with distinctly focused industries taking shape in Europe, North America, and Asia.

 

 

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Scientists create battery using wood

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htkm6cw94x8[/youtube]

University of Maryland engineers are currently working on a battery made of wood, an innovative, low-cost, environmentally friendly idea. The research team used tiny wood fibers from yellow pine trees to make test batteries — and we mean seriously tiny, the tree fibers are a thousand times thinner than a piece of paper. They use sodium rather than lithium, so the team imagines this battery working best in a large-scale environment, like for storing solar energy at a power plant.

 

 

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New battery design efficiently stores solar and wind energy

 Lab demonstration of the group’s new lithium-polysulfide flow battery contained in a simple flask.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University scientists have developed a relatively cheap, long-life “flow” battery that can be used to mitigate power fluctuations from solar and wind energy plants, therefore enabling them to become major suppliers to the electrical grid.

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New battery technology offers 30 times more power and charges 1,000 times faster

An illustration of a high power battery technology from the University of Illinois.

Over the last ten years, battery technology has improved, but now scientists claim they have made a giant leap in power storage, giving lithium-ion batteries 30 times more power and the ability to recharge 1,000 times faster “than competing technologies.”

 

 

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A chip that can turn body heat into electric energy

 Body-powered devices eliminate the toxic waste generated by the heavy metals used in the billions of batteries we currently use each year.

A startup in Corvallis, Oregon, has developed a small chip that can turn body heat into electric energy. The chip absorbs heat directly from the skin and then channels energy through a thermoelectric generator that converts it into electric power. In the  future, the chip will enable us to power and recharge our handheld and wearable electronic devices with our own bodies.

 

 

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New silicon battery technology could store 9x as much energy as lithium ion batteries

Grant Norton

Washington State University Professor Grant Norton

Most batteries today are lithium ion batteries, and employ carbon as the anode. Other materials perform much better than carbon, and could substantially increase battery capacity. Tin anodes could potentially triple energy density, and silicon anodes might be able to hold 9 times as much charge as carbon. Such advances could lead to tablet computers and laptops that run for days before battery depletion, and to miniature, battery powered UAVs able to remain aloft for up to an hour.

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IBM’s oxygen powered battery

IBM-Supercomputer-builds-batter

IBM has built a battery that needs oxygen to live.

In an effort to build a battery capable of powering a car for 500 miles, IBM has designed a battery that produces power by taking in oxygen and then recharges by expelling oxygen. Such a battery can be significantly smaller and lighter than traditional lithium ion batteries, providing a much longer life per square inch since it is driven by the outside air. (Video)

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