Tesla patent reveals plans for a new battery-swapping machine

September 20, 2017 by  
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In the not-so-far future when  electric vehicles (EV) rule the road, don’t expect to sit around in line waiting for your battery to charge. That’s because electric automaker Tesla recently filed a patent for a mobile battery swapping technology that could replace a depleted battery in under 15 minutes. In 2013, the company toyed with the idea of building stationary rigs that can replace a car’s battery pack. However, that idea never took off. Now, the EV maker is improving on the concept and has filed a patent application for a more compact, mobile version that would be placed in strategic locations where Superchargers aren’t always available. As Elektrek reports, Tesla’s original system was designed to be autonomous, while the newer one can be operated by technicians. Additionally, the original battery swap service claimed a 90-second swap, whereas the new one says “less than fifteen minutes” is more plausible. Says the patent application, “In some implementations, the battery swap system is configured for use by one or more technicians, who will monitor certain aspects of the system’s operation and make necessary inputs when appropriate. For example, the battery -swapping system can be installed at a remote location (e.g., along a highway between two cities) and one or more technicians can be stationed at the location for operating the system. This can reduce or eliminate the need for the system to have vision components, which may otherwise be needed to align the battery pack or other components. Using techniques described herein it may be possible to exchange the battery pack of a vehicle in less than fifteen minutes.” As can be seen from the application figures, the patent application references swapping Model S and Model X battery packs. Both vehicles’ battery packs have been designed to be easily swappable. Model 3’s battery pack is not, on the other hand. Because the company aims to expedite the process in 15 minutes or less, it is unlikely the system will apply to more complicated swaps. Related: Tesla to TRIPLE number of Superchargers by end of 2018 When Tesla CEO Elon Musk last mentioned the battery swap system, he said it would likely be developed to support commercial fleets — if pursued at all. Now that plans for Tesla’ all- electric Semi-Truck have been shared, Musk’s vision is coming into focus. + Tesla Via Elektrek Images via Tesla , Pixabay

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Tesla patent reveals plans for a new battery-swapping machine

Researchers successfully made a battery out of trash

June 14, 2017 by  
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If there’s one thing that abounds on planet Earth , it is man-made trash . Fortunately, researchers have developed a method of using discarded goods to create sodium-ion batteries. Made from recycled materials and safer than lithium variants, the battery is the latest step in renewable energy storage. To create batteries out of trash, the scientists accumulated rusty, recycled stainless steel mesh. Then, they used a potassium ferrocyanide solution — the same solution used in fertilizers and in wine production — to dissolve the ions out of the rust layer. Ions such as nickel and iron then bonded with other ions in the solution. This created a salt that clung to the mesh as scaffolded nanotubes that store and release potassium ions. As Engadget reports , “The movement of potassium ions allows for conductivity, which was boosted with an added coating of oxidized graphite.” Related: ‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars More often than not, lithium batteries are used for renewable energy storage. However, the type of battery is expensive and exists in limited amounts. Additionally, lithium batteries have been known to explode. Not only are the new sodium-ion batteries safer, they boast a high capacity, discharge voltage, and cycle stability. Developing the battery was step one of testing the concept. Now that scientists have successfully created renewable energy from trash, the battery can be improved upon to maximize its potential. Via Engadget Images via Pixabay

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Elegant Australian home shows the beauty and toughness of rammed earth

June 14, 2017 by  
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Rammed earth may be an ancient building material, but the modern homes that use compact earth are anything but old-fashioned. One such example is Robson Rak Architects and Interior Designers’ recently completed Layer House, a robust and elegant home in Victoria, Australia that keeps naturally cool with rammed earth walls. Made from local materials by local artisans, the rammed earth is paired with timber to create a beautiful palette that will last the test of time. Built to last generations, the large 470-square-meter Layer House was designed with an eye for detail and quality. The home derives its name from the intersecting zones and private vistas created from an asymmetrical layout that wraps around a series of courtyards . Rammed earth and timber are the two main building materials in the Layer House. The architects write: “The sand component of the rammed earth is locally sourced and built by local artisans. Rammed earth is a sustainable, honest, and efficient building material that requires no maintenance and ages gracefully. The timber will be allowed to grey off and age with time.” A few vibrant pops of color, such as the green tiled island bench and blue sofa, provide contrast to the pale color palette. Related: Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower The low-maintenance rammed earth walls provide a thermal mass for passive cooling in summer and heating in winter. Energy efficiency is further improved with double glazed and thermally broken aluminum doors and windows. Louvers control the flow of cross ventilation, while hydronic heating is embedded into the concrete floors. + Robson Rak Architects and Interior Designers Via ArchDaily Images © Shannon McGrath

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New super batteries could charge phones in seconds and electric cars in minutes

December 7, 2016 by  
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A scientific breakthrough at the University of Surrey could completely change how we charge our devices. Researchers developed a new material that could be used to create supercapacitors 1,000 to 10,000 times more powerful than conventional batteries . The new super batteries would also be safer, faster charging, more efficient, and greener. The breakthrough is made possible by a special type of polymer that is, surprisingly enough, adapted from the principles used to make soft contact lenses. Supercapacitors have long been considered a superior alternative to batteries – able to charge and discharge energy incredibly quickly. However, until now, the materials used for these devices have had a poor energy density that limited their usefulness. This new, denser polymer could change all that. This groundbreaking new technology could allow electric cars to finally become competitive with conventional vehicles. Cars equipped with the new supercapacitors could be charged in minutes, taking no longer than the time it takes to fill a normal vehicle with gasoline. It could also completely transform our household devices and appliances, allowing phones and laptops to charge in mere seconds. Related: MIT’s new carbon-free supercapacitor could revolutionize the way we store power The development seems to confirm what Elon Musk has been predicting for years : that supercapacitors are likely the future of electric transportation. With this new breakthrough, it’s only a matter of time before faster-charging EVs capable of traveling far longer distances hit the market. Via The Daily Mail Images via Myrtle Beach TheDigitel and Pixabay

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New super batteries could charge phones in seconds and electric cars in minutes

How magnets could bring us closer to energy-free refrigeration

September 28, 2015 by  
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There are all sorts of ways to make a home more eco-friendly, but did you ever think magnets could help? Specifically, the magnetocaloric effect could play a role in futuristic refrigerators that wouldn’t need industrial coolants to run, which would be a boon in the fight against climate change . Sign me up. Read the rest of How magnets could bring us closer to energy-free refrigeration

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FurniQi’s stylish furniture will wirelessly charge your smartphone

September 7, 2015 by  
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The motion-powered Million Mile Light is a runner’s dream come true

August 24, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. Runners all face a similar dilemma when exercising after dark: how to stay visible and safe while pounding the pavement. The designers at the Million Mile Light saw this dilemma as an opportunity – and they’ve developed a lightweight flashing light that is 100% powered by a runner’s movement. Their Kickstarter campaign launches today, bringing runners one step closer (pun intended) an environmentally-friendly safety light that will never run out of juice. Read the rest of The motion-powered Million Mile Light is a runner’s dream come true

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Solar-powered Eagle View safari eco-lodge overlooks Kenya’s beautiful landscapes

August 24, 2015 by  
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Africa is well-known for its breathtakingly beautiful and pristine landscapes, which makes the country a popular destination with travelers who want to experience nature at its unspoiled finest. The solar-powered Eagle View eco-lodge lets visitors enjoy the best of the Kenya safari. Located in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, the safari lodge is built from durable Kebony wood and recycled steel. The lodge provides a base from which guests can enjoy bush activities such as safari walks and drives, night time excursions, and engage with the local Masai community . This eco-lodge is a prime example of a burgeoning ethical travel culture; those seeking adventure off the beaten track in the African bush need no longer choose between high-end accommodation and a guilt-free conscience. + Eagle View The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Solar-powered Eagle View safari eco-lodge overlooks Kenya’s beautiful landscapes

How BioLite camping stoves are saving lives in developing countries

February 23, 2015 by  
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Approximately 3 billion people around the world lack access to modern energy , and cook over open flames that billow smoke and cause severe cardiac and respiratory illnesses. BioLite HomeStoves are clean-burning, efficient, and low-cost biomass cookstoves that use twigs and branches as fuel, and burn as hot as gas stoves without creating any smoke. They also generate electricity as they burn , allowing those in developing countries to gain access to green energy as they cook. Read the rest of How BioLite camping stoves are saving lives in developing countries Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , “sustainable energy” , BioLite , BioLite camping stoves , biolite home stove , Biolite HomeStove , BioLite stoves , camping stove , camping stoves , clean fuel , cooking food , cooking fuel , cooking stove , developing countries , developing world , fuel , generating electricity , home stove , HomeStove , kickstarter , renewable energy , The BioLite BaseCamp Stove

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Sol Design Lab Installs Awesome Solar Charging Stations At UT Austin

July 7, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Sol Design Lab Installs Awesome Solar Charging Stations At UT Austin Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: austin , Austin Jorn , Beth Ferguson , Dallas Swindle , Eric Swanson , green technology , Megan Archer , Sol Design Lab , solar powered charging station , solar-powered devices , texas , University of Texas at Austin , University of Texas at Austin installs solar powered charging stations

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