New battery concept could give electric vehicles a 621-mile range

May 9, 2017 by  
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One of the biggest limits of electric vehicles is range. The cleanly-powered cars can only go so far on today’s batteries without recharging, but German research institute Fraunhofer is testing a new battery design that could afford drivers the peace of mind they have in gasoline-fueled vehicles. The researchers are working towards a range of 1,000 kilometers, or 621 miles. The batteries in electric cars today are comprised of hundreds or thousands of battery cells, and each one requires its own housing and terminals and cables to connect it to the vehicle. Sensors for monitoring take up space too. These added components use up 50 percent of the battery pack space. Fraunhofer’s design, called EMBATT, frees up space. They decided to stack large cells on top of each other, eliminating housing and contacting so more batteries can fit in the vehicle. They’ve run some initial tests in the laboratory, and so far it looks like this new design could offer electric cars almost double the range they have today. Related: Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car The researchers took inspiration from bipolar plates in fuel cells. The plates cover fuel cells on both sides and collect the electricity the cell generates; one plate side acts as a cathode and the other as an anode. Fraunhofer decided to replace battery housings and connectors with plates similar to those in fuel cells. This new design is simpler and makes more electricity accessible faster. It also reduces the resistance caused by electrical connections in today’s car batteries. Fraunhofer’s bipolar plates are comprised of metallic tape coated with ceramic storage materials on both sides. Project manager Mareike Wolter says they are easy to manufacture and have a long life. Fraunhofer is working on the battery with ThyssenKrupp System Engineering and IAV Automotive Engineering . The researchers hope to start testing the batteries in cars by 2020. Via New Atlas and Fraunhofer Images via Wikimedia Commons and © Fraunhofer IKTS

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New battery concept could give electric vehicles a 621-mile range

Google requested to label anti-fracking websites as fake news

May 9, 2017 by  
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Following the results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election , search engine website Google rewrote its engine algorithm to bury “fake news.” They were consequently blamed for Hillary Clinton’s loss and the “propaganda” which supposedly defamed President Trump . Since then, the phrase “ fake news ” has been a readily-used one. And, members of the industry-funded Texans for Natural Gas are taking advantage of it by urging Google to include anti- fracking websites in its list of sources that lack integrity and accuracy. In an open letter to Google which was published on Monday, the group wrote , “We believe many of the most prominent anti- fracking websites have content that is misleading, false, or offensive – if not all three. As a result, we urge you to consider purging or demoting these websites from your algorithm, which in turn will encourage a more honest public discussion about hydraulic fracturing , and oil and natural gas development in general.” Bloomberg reported in April that due to immense pressure to eliminate fake news , or what the company calls “low-quality” content, Google raters now “assess search results — to flag web pages that host hoaxes, conspiracy theories and what the company calls ‘low-quality’ content.” The process in question is hydraulic fracturing ( fracking ), which involves injecting large amounts of water, mixed with sand and an assortment of chemicals, deep into the ground to unlock reserves of oil and natural gas . The drilling technique is responsible for igniting the energy boom, but many environmentalists view it as a threat to the planet. This is because the process may contaminate groundwater, pollute the air and threaten wildlands. Additionally, some scientists believe fracking causes earthquakes, as Inhabitat previously reported . Related: EPA finally admits fracking contaminates drinking water Though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did announce in 2015 that no widespread evidence was found proving that fracking contaminates groundwater, it later reversed its decision. In late 2016, the EPA concluded that there is evidence that fracking has contaminated drinking water in all stages of the process. Because of these findings, many citizens are adamant that they deserve the right to be skeptical of the process, especially considering the country’s reliance on fossil fuels is propelling climate change . Texans for Natural Gas believe otherwise, however. The group wrote to Google, “Claims made by the radical environmentalist campaign against hydraulic fracturing are protected by the First Amendment.” “Groups that wish to peddle misleading information about oil and natural gas are fully within their rights to do so. Many of the groups engaging in anti-fracking advocacy have devoted significant resources to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and as a result they receive significant web traffic,” they added. “But that is no reason for Google to reward such misinformation with its powerful search engine. We urge you consider adding these groups’ websites to your review of fake news and the kinds of content that you do not wish to promote.” Via The Daily Signal Images via Bloomberg

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Google requested to label anti-fracking websites as fake news

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