Stanford sodium-based battery could be more cost-effective than lithium

October 18, 2017 by  
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The quest for the best battery is of vital importance as the world transitions to renewable energy . Now a Stanford University -led team has designed what they think might offer a cheaper alternative to lithium – a sodium -based battery. While it’s not the world’s first sodium ion battery, the Stanford design costs 80 percent less than a lithium-ion battery , and it is capable of storing the same amount of energy . Lithium-ion batteries may currently reign supreme, but according to Stanford, sodium-ion batteries could compete in terms of cost-per-storage. They said lithium costs around $15,000 per ton to mine and refine, while the “widely available sodium-based electrode material” they utilized in their new battery costs a fraction of that at $150 per ton. It’s a significant difference as materials comprise around one quarter of the price of a battery. Related: Researchers successfully made a battery out of trash Stanford chemical engineer Zhenan Bao said in a statement, “Nothing may ever surpass lithium ion in performance. But lithium is so rare and costly that we need to develop high-performance but low-cost batteries based on abundant elements like sodium.” The sodium-based electrode is made up of a positively charged ion, sodium, and a negatively charged ion, myo-inositol. You may not be familiar with myo-inositol, but Stanford says it’s in baby formula, and derives from rice bran “or from a liquid byproduct of the process used to mill corn.” Like sodium, it too is naturally abundant. While the researchers think they have shown sodium-based batteries can be cost effective compared to lithium ion batteries, they aim to keep working on the design . They’ve optimized the charging cycle and cathode, according to Stanford, but engineer Yi Cui says optimizing the phosphorous anode could improve the battery. The journal Nature Energy recently published the study online . Stanford University engineers collaborated on the project with a researcher from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory . Via Stanford University and New Atlas Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Stanford sodium-based battery could be more cost-effective than lithium

MIT battery that inhales and exhales air can store power for months

October 12, 2017 by  
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Could this air-breathing battery help solve energy storage woes? 10 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers developed the battery capable of storing electricity for months for around one fifth of the cost of comparable technologies. MIT professor Yet-Ming Chiang said, “This battery literally inhales and exhales air , but it doesn’t exhale carbon dioxide , like humans – it exhales oxygen .” MIT says their air-breathing battery could help renewable energy , like solar and wind, be more practicable for the grid . Their rechargeable flow battery costs a fraction of current technology, and can store power for long periods of time, with zero emissions and few location restraints. Related: Former Tesla executives to produce battery “with significantly lower carbon footprint” Sulfur dissolved in water comprises the battery’s liquid anode. What MIT described as an aerated liquid salt solution in the liquid cathode brings in and lets out oxygen. According to the institute, “Oxygen flowing into the cathode causes the anode to discharge electrons to an external circuit. Oxygen flowing out sends electrons back to the anode, recharging the battery.” The cost of the anode, cathode, and electrode materials in the battery is around 1/30 that of lithium-ion batteries , according to MIT. If the battery system was scaled up, it could store electricity for around $20 to $30 per kilowatt-hour – compare that against today’s batteries, which are around $100 per kilowatt-hour, at least. Right now, the prototype is about as big as a coffee cup. But Chiang said flow batteries are highly scalable. This new technology could compete with pumped hydroelectric storage systems, though, since the MIT system is more compact, it could be deployed in more locations where renewable energy is being generated. As solar and wind energy production can be intermittent, the battery could store the energy they generate to offer a reliable source of power. The journal Joule published the research this week. Via MIT News Images courtesy of the researchers and Felice Frankel

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MIT battery that inhales and exhales air can store power for months

Former Tesla executives to produce battery "with significantly lower carbon footprint"

September 28, 2017 by  
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Tesla is attempting to shake up the car and energy industries with their battery -producing Gigafactory – and two past employees hope to bring the revolution to Europe. Former Tesla executives Peter Carlsson and Paolo Cerruti aim to build Europe’s biggest lithium-ion battery factory with startup Northvolt in Sweden . Carlsson said, “We will produce a battery with significantly lower carbon footprint than the current supply chains.” The $4.5 billion Northvolt factory in Sweden will pump out batteries for electric cars , ships, trucks, and snowmobiles. They’ll source materials like nickel and graphite from Swedish deposits, and cobalt from a Finland refiner. They’ll power the factory with renewable energy from Sweden’s hydropower dams. They’ll reuse waste heat and recycle old batteries. Northvolt just this week announced a “wide-ranging supply and technology partnership” with company ABB . Related: Tesla executives start mysterious new recycling company Northvolt batteries will have an almost zero carbon footprint, according to Carlsson. He said, “Right now the flow of batteries to Europe would mainly come from Asia. If you take the [ coal -powered] energy grids of China or Japan, both of their carbon footprints are pretty high. When you accumulate that into a battery pack for a vehicle, that’s a significant footprint.” Northvolt will be able to differentiate themselves using hydropower. They’ll also create their own anode and cathode chemical mixes rather than purchasing them from Asian or European manufacturers. Is Northvolt making a run for Tesla’s business? According to Wired, Carlsson said he’s not competing with old boss Elon Musk . He said, “Tesla is a very challenging culture, but it’s also a very rewarding culture. There’s one thing that nobody can take away from Elon; he has always put his mission above everyone else. Hopefully we can spread that kind of culture also within Northvolt.” The 32 gigawatt hour plant could begin production in 2020. + Northvolt Via Wired Images via Northvolt

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Former Tesla executives to produce battery "with significantly lower carbon footprint"

Why hydrogen fuel cells are a boon for the military

September 27, 2017 by  
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About a decade ago, the United States federal and state governments began experimenting with hydrogen fuel cells, said Stan Osserman, director of the Hawaii center for advanced transportation technologies. The push was driven by high oil prices at the time. As the prices tapered, however, the development kept going. “The prices have come down and the weight has come down on [hydrogren fuel] equipment,” said Osserman. “Lots of companies are realizing this is a good business case on its own.” 

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How Tech Giants Are Going Eco

September 25, 2017 by  
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After Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently announced his company would … The post How Tech Giants Are Going Eco appeared first on Earth911.com.

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New lithium-ion battery from Japan could double electric vehicle range

August 10, 2017 by  
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Most electric vehicles can’t yet travel as far as gas-fueled vehicles on one battery charge, but they could edge much closer thanks to a new lithium-ion battery from Japan . The battery technology company GS Yuasa claims their potentially game-changing battery could double the driving range of small EVs, and the company plans to start mass producing them in around three years. Asian publication Nikkei reported the lithium-ion battery will be developed through a joint venture with Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Motors under the name Lithium Energy Japan. The batteries could give electric cars the ability to drive further on one charge; for example, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV subcompact can currently travel around 170 kilometers, or around 105 miles, per charge, but with the new battery could drive for 340 kilometers, or around 211 miles. The companies also intend to offer the new battery at prices comparable to those of today’s batteries. Related: Hyundai reportedly working on next-gen solid-state batteries for electric vehicles According to Nikkei, GS Yuasa is the fourth largest supplier of automotive lithium-ion batteries in the world. Nikkei said Japanese companies such as Panasonic have thus far led the field in terms of quality and performance, but need to keep innovating if they want to stay ahead of Chinese and South Korean firms trailing closely behind. Reuters said the announcement of the new battery prompted GS Yuasa’s shares to spike by as much as 15 percent during early trade. The lithium-ion batteries will be manufactured at Mitsubishi Motors’ Shiga Prefecture plant for carmakers in the country and in Europe. GS Yuasa could begin mass producing the battery as soon as 2020. With batteries offering a longer range, electric car owners wouldn’t need to worry quite as much about the current lack of charging infrastructure in many areas of the world. Via Nikkei Asian Review and Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Will giant batteries lead to giant emissions cuts?

July 10, 2017 by  
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States are betting on battery storage facilities, such as Tesla and PGE, to even the flow of renewable power and replace the fossil fuel-based grid.

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Hyundai reportedly working on next-gen solid-state batteries for electric vehicles

April 6, 2017 by  
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Major car companies like Hyundai have toyed with both hydrogen and electricity for clean fuel sources, but now it seems the Seoul, South Korea -based manufacturer may be taking a major step towards improving technology for their electric cars with solid-state batteries . An April 5 report from The Korea Herald says the car company has pilot-scale battery production facilities in which they’re developing the battery technology that could store more energy  and be a game changer for the industry. Hyundai may be working on solid-state batteries in their facilities they own, according to information obtained by The Korea Herald from who they described as sources close to the matter. They quoted this source as saying, “Hyundai is developing solid-state batteries through its Namyang R&D Center’s battery precedence development team and it has secured a certain level of technology.” Related: 2017 Hyundai IONIQ will be offered in EV, plug-in hybrid and hybrid versions Hyundai is apparently developing the technology without help from Korean battery manufacturers like LG Chem or Samsung SDI . The source compared Hyundai’s approach to Toyota’s – they also own production facilities according to the source. Industry sources told The Korea Herald Hyundai might be able to mass produce solid-state batteries around 2025. LG Economic Research Institute analyst Choi Jung-deok told The Korea Herald “…if automakers are able to succeed the mass production of next-generation batteries, the paradigm of batteries in the future may be shifted.” As solid-state batteries carry less risk of explosion they are considered safer than conventional batteries. According to Electrek, no company has yet been able to produce solid-state batteries at a large scale and at a price competitive with lithium-ion batteries. Along with Toyota, Ford has dabbled in the technology as well. Companies like Bosch and Dyson have also invested in the technology; the latter acquired a solid-state battery startup in 2015 for $90 million with plans to construct a $1 billion factory. Via The Korea Herald and Electrek Images via Jakob Härter on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Hyundai reportedly working on next-gen solid-state batteries for electric vehicles

Stanford researchers pioneer world’s first affordable urea battery

February 13, 2017 by  
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Stanford University researchers have designed a new battery that could revolutionize renewable energy storage . Using urea , an affordable, natural and readily available material found in mammal urine and fertilizers, their battery is notably more efficient than past iterations. The battery, developed by Stanford chemistry professor Honjie Dai and doctoral candidate Michael Angell, uses an electrolyte made from urea – a material already produced in mass industrial quantities for use in plant fertilizers. Non-flammable and made with electrodes from abundant materials like aluminum and graphite, the battery presents a low-cost way for storing energy from many sources – including renewables . “So essentially, what you have is a battery made with some of the cheapest and most abundant materials you can find on Earth. And it actually has good performance,” says Dai in a press release. “Who would have thought you could take graphite, aluminum, urea, and actually make a battery that can cycle for a pretty long time?” Dai and his team were the first to make a rechargeable aluminum battery in 2015, which charged in less than a minute, while lasting for thousands of charge-discharge cycles. And they’ve improved on both the performance and cost of their latest model, which is about 100 times cheaper than the 2015 battery, with a higher efficiency of 1,500 charge-discharge cycles and a charging time of 45 minutes. This is also the first time that urea has been used to make a battery. Related: MIT researchers invent ingestible battery powered by stomach acid Energy storage is a huge challenge for solar power and other renewables, as users need a reliable way to store power for when their systems aren’t producing energy. The batteries currently on the market, including lithium ion and lead-acid batteries tend to be quite costly and don’t last that long. But Dai and Angell believe their battery might be the solution to the conundrum of renewable energy storage. “It’s cheap. It’s efficient. Grid storage is the main goal,” says Angell. “I would feel safe if my backup battery in my house is made of urea with little chance of causing fire,” added Dai. The researchers have licensed their battery patents to AB Systems, a company founded by Dai, and a commercial version of the battery is on the way. They’re planning to work on increasing its life span down the road by further investigating its internal chemical processes. Via Stanford Images via Pexels , US Navy and Tea Horse Trade Guest House , Wikimedia Commons

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Playful KATRIS scratching post blocks fit together like Tetris for cats

February 13, 2017 by  
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Cat owners who find themselves hiding grubby scratching posts out of sight will love this awesome KATRIS set that combines feline fun with playful design. The modular system consists of scratchable blocks that double as flexible furnishings . All of the pieces are non-toxic, and they can be assembled in a variety of ways so that cats can enjoy an ever-changing feline playground. Featured on an episode of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell”, KATRIS is the result of extensive research into the best materials for feline furniture according to cat behavioral science. Each shred-resistant block is made with 200 sheets of FSC-certified heavy-duty paper , and they can support up to 300 pounds of weight. The blocks can be connected in a variety of ways using built-in straps. https://youtu.be/dHhO_CnZBjU Related: Architects turn a cramped apartment into a gorgeous loft where the owner’s cats can roam freely The blocks are manufactured using non-toxic ingredients, such as SGS-certified, non-toxic glue and eco-friendly branding ink made with non-toxic soybean inks. Not only is the whole system completely recyclable, but the blocks are designed to have an extremely long life cycle, further minimizing waste. + KATRIS Cat Via Curbed Images via KATRIS

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