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

Lithium-ion batteries made from recycled glass bottles store almost 4x more energy

April 24, 2017 by  
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A team of researchers at UC Riverside developed a low-cost way of turning disgarded glass bottles into lithium-ion batteries that store almost four times more energy and can last much longer than conventional batteries. This could mean significantly fewer charges for laptops, cell phones and electric cars, not to mention reducing waste. The team, led by Cengiz Ozkan, professor of mechanical engineering, and Mihri Ozkan, professor of electrical engineering at UC Riverside, asked themselves whether silicon dioxide found in waste beverage bottles would be able to provide high purity silicon nanoparticles that can be subsequently used for lithium-ion batteries. The three-step process of producing the anodes starts by crushing and grounding glass bottles into fine white powder, silicon dioxide is then converted into nanostructured silicon, followed by coating the silicon nanoparticles with carbon. Related: 94-year-old inventor of lithium-ion cells develops new battery that can store 3 times more energy According to lab test, coin cell batteries that were made using the glass bottle-based silicon anodes considerably outperformed conventional batteries and demonstrated excellent electrochemical performance. The team expect these high-performance batteries to not only extend the range of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles, but also provide extra power with fewer charges to laptops, cell phones, and other gadgets. Photos via University of California, Riverside

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Lithium-ion batteries made from recycled glass bottles store almost 4x more energy

Hacienda San Jose Lavista is a fairytale retreat in San Miguel Allende

April 24, 2017 by  
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Set in the hills overlooking San Miguel Allende, the striking Hacienda San Jose Lavista is a beautiful retreat surrounded by expansive vineyards, lakes, and fields of wild flowers. Designed by architects Jose Seoane Castro and Pedro Urquiza to be a romantic getaway, the idyllic hotel pays respect to traditional building practices – including using adobe as the primary building material. Looking to colonial Mexican architecture for inspiration, Castro and Urquiza used traditional adobe as a primary building material. Adobe allowed the architects to forgo common structural elements, instead creating 50-centimeter thick walls to support the building’s mass. Related:Casa Xixim is an eco-friendly, self-sustaining resort in Mexico Castro and Urquiza reportedly designed the complex to be romantic retreat. In addition to the luxury suites, a picturesque chapel sits on a small pond, creating a picture-perfect setting for weddings or baptisms. Hotel guests can also enjoy various interior and exterior patios, game rooms, a pool and plenty of private nooks that look out over the gardens. Multiple pieces of local art and traditional furniture were used in the hotel’s interior design – another nod to the area’s long artisan history. + Hacienda San Jose Lavista Images via Hacienda San Jose Lavista

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Hacienda San Jose Lavista is a fairytale retreat in San Miguel Allende

Tesla opens the Gigafactory’s doors for a first look

July 27, 2016 by  
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Tesla opened its sprawling Gigafactory to members of the press on Tuesday for an exclusive tour, as well as a chat with CEO Elon Musk . Reporters got a sneak peek at the factory’s progress, now two years in construction, just two days before the facility’s official grand opening party on July 29. The factory, just outside Reno, Nevada, is around 14 percent complete, with some sections already bustling with robotic assembly machines. Once the plant is up and running at full capacity, Musk says it will cut the cost of the lithium-based car batteries by 30 percent. Construction on the massive battery factory is ongoing with an ambitious goal to reach completion by 2020. Then, the Gigafactory is expected to wind up being the largest building in the world at a whopping 5.8 million square feet. Part of the factory, called Section A, is already operational; giant robotic arms are taking battery cells manufactured at one of Tesla’s other facilities and assembling them into battery packs for the company’s electric cars. Reporters on the tour noted that Sections D and E will soon have floors poured, suggesting that things are moving right along. The factory’s current output isn’t clear, but once the entire plant is up and running with two or three floors of robotics, it is projected to nearly double the world’s production of lithium-based batteries. Related: Tesla’s Gigafactory to host grand opening party on July 29 The Gigafactory is a $5 billion project and Panasonic, the Japan-based electronics company that already makes Tesla’s battery cells, invested $2 billion to make it happen. Reporters on the tour weren’t allowed to see or photograph any of that company’s equipment, though. It, like much of the other equipment already installed inside the factory, is still something of a secret. During the event, Musk talked about the Gigafactory’s progress, as well as his broader vision for the future of the company. The entrepreneur is known far and wide for his ambitious goals and wild ideas. With his hands on the wheel of the world’s most successful private space exploration company SpaceX and Tesla’s recent offer to purchase SolarCity , in addition to pushing Tesla forward into battery country, it’s a wonder the man has any time left to come up with new ideas. But he does. “I believe we are on track to meet the half million by 2018,” Musk told reporters during a Q&A session, when asked about Tesla’s ramped-up car production goals . The company had originally planned to hit the half million mark by 2020, but recently accelerated the already ambitious goal by two years. In an effort to hit that target, the Gigafactory will eventually employ up to 10,000 people, which is 4,000 more than initially estimated. For those of us not lucky enough to visit the Gigafactory in person, journalists from Wired put together a video with some glimpses inside the enormous manufacturing plant, which can be viewed here . Via Phys.org and BBC Images via Tesla Motors

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Tesla opens the Gigafactory’s doors for a first look

Elon Musk sponsors helpful robot who may one day do your chores

July 27, 2016 by  
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Ever wished for a robot to do your chores? OpenAI , the open-source research organization sponsored by Elon Musk , is working on software that would allow robots to teach themselves the best way to accomplish chores. OpenAI is using robots developed by Fetch Robotics that, through a process of trial and error, could soon learn the best way to fold laundry or wash dishes. Fetch Robotics mainly makes robots that can help out in a warehouse, following workers around and collecting items to help save time. They also design their robots to work as a “platform for research and development.” When stretched out, their Fetch robot is 58.75 inches – that’s close to five feet tall. Equipped with a robotic arm with ” seven degrees of freedom ,” 3-D depth sensors, and a 2-D laser scanner, the robot could open up vast new possibilities for anyone who’s trying to save time. Related: MIT is 3D printing functional robots that could walk right off the printer OpenAI is finding that rather than programming a robot to clean the house, it is better to let robots learn how to do a chore. OpenAI’s software is designed to allow robots to develop a ” neural network ” as they learn the best way to accomplish a task, sometimes over thousands of attempts. According to MIT Technology Review, the focus on software rather than hardware indicates OpenAI may think software innovations will be the way to advance robotics, more than creating a shiny new robot. Imperial College London statistical machine learning lecturer Marc Deisenroth told MIT Technology Review, “If this goal can be achieved, then there will be economic and industrial benefits. Imagine a Roomba not only cleaning your floor but also doing the dishes, ironing the shirts, cleaning the windows, preparing breakfast.” Via Forbes and MIT Technology Review Images via Fetch Robotics

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Elon Musk sponsors helpful robot who may one day do your chores

ByFusion turns all types of ocean plastic into eco-friendly construction blocks

July 27, 2016 by  
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The problem of ocean waste, particularly the plastic variety , is a big one, and many creative people are working on ways to clean it up. Finding ways to repurpose the plastic debris  collected from the ocean is one component of that, and the U.S.-based startup ByFusion has responded with technology that recycles ocean plastic into durable construction blocks. This way, the plastic waste can be repurposed permanently, rather than being used to create another disposable plastic item that might wind up right back in our precious waterways. https://vimeo.com/167375932 The technology is based on a genius idea from New Zealand-based inventor Peter Lewis, who is a principal engineer with the company. His process involves a modular platform that compresses plastic debris into blocks of various shapes and densities, based on custom settings. The result is called RePlast, the company’s name for the recycled plastic building material. The RePlast system is portable, designed to run on gas or electric, and doesn’t require the plastic to be sorted or washed. Related: New report says plastic trash to exceed fish in the sea by 2050 ByFusion describes RePlast on its website as a “nearly 100-percent carbon neutral, non-toxic manufacturing process,” and says the bricks can help improve the eco-friendly status of building projects and contribute to LEED certification . So far, the recycled plastic blocks have been designed to be used in walls and road barriers, but the company is open to customizing the building material for use in other types of projects as well. Needing no glue or adhesives, RePlast blocks could represent the next wave of sustainable construction, since they are completely recycled from collected waste plastic (with no discrimination for plastic type) and have 95-percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional concrete block. Due to the nature of plastic debris, the blocks are a lot more colorful, too. Via Sustainable Brands Images via ByFusion

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ByFusion turns all types of ocean plastic into eco-friendly construction blocks

Neglected London bakery transformed into beautiful luxury housing

July 27, 2016 by  
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Originally built in 1898, the newly renovated Bakery Place comprises a 12,000-square-foot Victorian-era site with three main buildings: the Bake House, the Lodge House, and the Coach Houses. Jo Cowen Architects transformed the buildings into 11 unique residential units that blend the buildings’ original history with comfortable modern living. Exposed brickwork, cast-iron columns, and cobblestone are paired with bright white-painted walls, light herringbone timber floors, and contemporary minimalist furnishings with an industrial-style twist. Related: MVRDV moves into an iconic post-war monument with their new colorful offices “Our vision for the scheme offers a contemporary and distinctive living environment that celebrates the history of the original buildings,” write the architects. “Our design blends the old and new with carefully selected and positioned materials used to draw attention to the detail and craftsmanship of the original.” A major element of the revamped buildings is the increased access to natural light , which pours through modular glazed screens and skylights. Double-height spaces draw daylight to the ground floor and create a spacious and airy feel. Interior designer Amelia McNeil and lighting firm Studio 29 also collaborated on the interior design. + Jo Cowen Architects Via Dezeen Images via Jo Cowen Architects

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Neglected London bakery transformed into beautiful luxury housing

Playful Blauhaus residence in North Carolina powered by geothermal energy

July 27, 2016 by  
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Blauhaus has a gabled roof section and a flat roof section joined together by an elevated roof deck . It is clad in cementitious siding and standing seam metal panels with red elements that accentuate the orthogonal geometry of the building. Its interior, filled with natural light, features bamboo floors and an open plan layout. Related: Apple Set to Build its Third Enormous Solar Farm in North Carolina The most entertaining part of the 3,700-square-foot house is a small “gargoyle” placed on the roof that creates a waterfall leading to the nearby creek. Blauhaus references the owner’s old home in Germany and uses geothermal energy for heating and cooling. The project has won the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Matsumoto Prize Awards organized by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH). + STITCH Design Shop + North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) Via Architect Magazine Photos by Adam Sebastian

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Playful Blauhaus residence in North Carolina powered by geothermal energy

Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and others accused of using battery parts mined with child labor

January 20, 2016 by  
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The cobalt in your smartphone’s battery could have been sourced with child labor, according to a new report from Amnesty International . The human rights organization traced the sale of cobalt, a main component in lithium-ion batteries, back to mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo and found that children as young as seven are working there to unearth the valuable mineral. Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Sony and automakers Volkswagen and Daimler are among the tech giants named in the report , which claims those companies have not been thorough enough when it comes to understanding who is mining cobalt for their products. Read the rest of Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and others accused of using battery parts mined with child labor

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New Battery Could Charge 70 Percent in Two Minutes and Last 20 Times Longer

October 14, 2014 by  
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We use rechargeable batteries for practically everything these days, from our toothbrushes to our cars , so when a battery runs down, it can put a damper on our daily routine. Now imagine instead of waiting for an hour for your phone to charge up, you only had to wait two minutes. Now imagine that same quick-charging battery can last 20 years. That battery will soon be a reality thanks to a team of researchers who developed a lithium-ion battery that can charge 70 percent in just two minutes and lasts 20-times longer than a battery today. Read the rest of New Battery Could Charge 70 Percent in Two Minutes and Last 20 Times Longer Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Battery Charging , better batteries , electric vehicles , lithium battery lifespan , lithium ion battery improvements , lithium-ion batteries , rechargeable batteries

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New Battery Could Charge 70 Percent in Two Minutes and Last 20 Times Longer

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