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

New rooftop cooling tech beams excess heat into outer space

September 5, 2017 by  
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Heat rises, and, with a little help from scientists, can soar as high as outer space. A team at Stanford University has created a roof-mounted system which cools buildings, without the need for electricity, by incorporating solar panel-like machines that beam heat into the cold expanse of space. This system, known as radiative sky cooling, is seen as an early step to developing a full strength system to cool buildings without the need for an external energy source. This could prove enormously beneficial in dealing with the impacts of climate change (a warmer planet) while reducing its causes (lowering emissions). Shanhui Fan, professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, and his team have been working on radiative sky cooling since 2013. Their recent research has demonstrated that the radiative sky cooling system is capable of lowering the temperature of flowing water to below that of the air around it. While Fan and his team have specifically harnessed radiative sky cooling for air conditioning purposes, this process is something that occurs naturally. “If you have something that is very cold – like space – and you can dissipate heat into it, then you can do cooling without any electricity or work. The heat just flows,” explained Fan. “For this reason, the amount of heat flow off the Earth that goes to the universe is enormous.” Related: Massive new data center to be built in chilly Norway to offset energy use The primary obstacle to achieving a net-temperature decrease through radiative sky cooling is the heat received from the sunlight. To solve this problem, the radiative sky cooling system at Stanford incorporates panels that are coated with a multilayer optical film, which has the ability to reflect up to 97 percent of the incoming sunlight . Using data gathered from small-scale testing, the Stanford team projected that a full-scale radiative sky cooling system would result in an 18 to 50 percent reduction in the amount of energy needed to cool a building. To further develop the concept, the team has started a company called SkyCool Systems and plans to incorporate their system into refrigeration and air conditioning models, with a particular focus on cooling massive data centers . Via New Atlas Images via  Norbert von der Groeben and Aaswath Raman

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New rooftop cooling tech beams excess heat into outer space

Stanford students take on dangerous superbugs

August 10, 2016 by  
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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or “ superbugs ,” are one of the biggest challenges of the medical community. They are popping up at faster rates as antibiotic use increases, causing serious alarm among professionals familiar with their power. A few undergraduate students from Stanford University believe they may be on to a revolutionary idea that could kill off some of the most dangerous superbugs out there. Last fall, students Zach Rosenthal, Christian Choe and Maria Filsinger Interrante entered a Stanford University competition to provide solutions for major healthcare problems. Their idea of developing a set of proteins to annihilate antibiotic-resistant bacteria won them a $10,000 grant to test their hypotheses. “As soon as I started to read literature about multidrug-resistant bacteria, I decided it was a huge need area and interestingly neglected by the pharmaceutical industry,” said now-graduated Filsinger Interrante. She says that a smaller market size, lower profitability, and seeming inevitability of drug resistance lowers manufacturers’ enthusiasm about producing new antibiotics . Related: Dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in food products for the first time The specifics of their project are being kept secret, yet Rosenthal explains the mechanism of their attack, “We target something that’s essential to bacterial survival.” Preliminary reports of their tests are successful and the team hopes to continue working toward finding the Achilles heel for Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii , two of the most drug-resistant and fatal superbugs existing today. Via NPR , Stanford News Images via Pexels, Stanford University

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Stanford students take on dangerous superbugs

Ancient crystals may hold a “signature of life” 300 million years older than previously thought

October 20, 2015 by  
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Each time scientists announce a new discovery on the origins of life, they have to do so with a grain of salt because a future finding may expand on what we think we know about our planet’s early history. This time, it’s the age of ancient crystals found near Perth, Australia, that have researchers questioning earlier held assessments of the beginnings of life on Earth. Read the rest of Ancient crystals may hold a “signature of life” 300 million years older than previously thought

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Ancient crystals may hold a “signature of life” 300 million years older than previously thought

Brilliant Stanford invention makes hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars even greener

June 26, 2015 by  
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In the next few years hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars are going to become more readily available thanks to new models from Toyota, Honda and Hyundai. While automakers have labeled the fuel-cell vehicles as the ultimate green vehicle, since they only emit water, there’s a dirty secret that isn’t talked about. The process to produce hydrogen isn’t very green, but a new invention from Stanford University could change that. Read the rest of Brilliant Stanford invention makes hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars even greener Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electric vehicle , fuel cell vehicle , green car , green transportation , Honda , hydrogen , hydrogen vehicle , HYUNDAI , stanford university , Toyota Mirai

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Brilliant Stanford invention makes hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars even greener

Old Alpine barn is revitalized into a beautiful and modern loft apartment in Slovenia

June 10, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Old Alpine barn is revitalized into a beautiful and modern loft apartment in Slovenia Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: adaptive reuse , Alpine Barn Apartment , Alpine Barn Apartment by OFIS Architects , barn loft , barn loft apartment , barn restoration , barn transformation , ofis architects , Slovenia

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Old Alpine barn is revitalized into a beautiful and modern loft apartment in Slovenia

Rammed earth makes a Zen splash at Stanford’s Windhover Contemplative Center

February 6, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Rammed earth makes a Zen splash at Stanford’s Windhover Contemplative Center Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Art , artwork , calm , calm space , contemplate , contemplation , contemplation center , contemplation garden , meditation , meditation garden , Meditation Space , Pond , rammed earth works , reflective pool , stanford , tranquil , tranquility , Windhover Contemplation Center , zen , Zen garden

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Rammed earth makes a Zen splash at Stanford’s Windhover Contemplative Center

KaliPAK is a portable solar generator that goes wherever you do

February 6, 2015 by  
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Whether a natural disaster wipes out the power in your city or you just need a weekend to get away from it all, it’s nice to have your own source of power . But generators can be bulky, not to mention a nightmare for the environment. Enter KaliPAK, a portable solar-powered generator that fits on your back so that you can take it wherever you go. Portable, lightweight and self-sustainable, KaliPAK gives you the power to charge your devices with 4 USB charging ports and can easily be managed using your smartphone. There’s also room in the pack for your first-aid supplies and other necessities. Check out KaliPAK on Kickstarter , where you can get one below retail as an early adopter. + KaliPAK + Kalisaya 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! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: KaliPAK , KaliPAK solar charger , kickstarter campaigns , personal solar chargers , portable solar charger , portable solar charging , reader submission , solar charger , solar chargers , Solar Power

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KaliPAK is a portable solar generator that goes wherever you do

Can Ford’s new Palo Alto research center make self-driving cars accessible to everyone?

January 26, 2015 by  
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It looks like  Ford is making a big leap into the autonomous vehicle game, as the automaker recently announced the opening of its new Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California. The center will employ a total of 125 researchers, engineers, and scientists, all of whom will be working to help Ford accelerate its development of technologies and experiments in connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles. Ford’s goal? To make autonomous cars accessible to everyone – not just luxury vehicle owners. Read the rest of Can Ford’s new Palo Alto research center make self-driving cars accessible to everyone? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autonomous car , ford , Ford autonomous vehicle , ford fusion , Ford self-driving car , green car , green transportation , palo alto , Research and Innovation Center , San Francisco , self driving vehicle , self-driving car , silicon valley , stanford

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Can Ford’s new Palo Alto research center make self-driving cars accessible to everyone?

VIDEO: Stanford Team Successfully Tests Earthquake-Resistant House

October 17, 2014 by  
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A team of Stanford engineers have built and tested an earthquake-resistant house that sits on top of sliding “isolators” to ride out tremors. The test house, which also makes use of heavy-duty reinforcing, withstood an earthquake simulation that was three times the intensity of the Bay Area’s devastating 1989 Loma Prieta quake. The team says the modifications are inexpensive and could easily be used in new home construction where their costs would soon be offset by reduced earthquake insurance premiums. Read the rest of VIDEO: Stanford Team Successfully Tests Earthquake-Resistant House Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: disaster preparedness , earthquake , earthquake resistant house , earthquake-resistant design , engineering , house on slide resists earthquake , natural disaster , San Francisco , seismic isolator , stanford

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VIDEO: Stanford Team Successfully Tests Earthquake-Resistant House

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