Recharging Technique Makes Zinc-Air Batteries a Viable Alternative

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries face several problems: they are not making great leaps forward that we hope for, they occasionally burst into flame, and they weigh too much to be all that practical in a pure-electric airplane.  Researchers peer over the alternatives, magnesium, manganese, aluminum, and now, after several false starts in recent years, zinc. University of Sydney scientists claim to have found a three-stage method of charging zinc-air cells that promises greater energy density and longevity.  One selling point – the relative abundance and low cost of zinc, such cells are cheaper to produce than lithium equivalents.  They theoretically can store up to five times more energy than lithium-ion cells, are less prone to burst into flame, and are …

BASF NiMH Battery Rebirth?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

BASF, according to Wikipedia, “is the largest chemical producer in the world and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany.  BASF originally stood for Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik (English: Baden Aniline and Soda Factory). Today, the four letters are a registered trademark….” With ongoing research into increasing energy storage capabilities of nickel metal hydride (NIMH) batteries to rival or exceed that of lithium batteries, BASF could make breakthroughs in building a safer, lower-cost battery.  Using an Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) award of $3.8 million, the company is working on a project titled, “High Performance NiMH Alloy for Next-Generation Batteries.” Funding applies through February of next year. ARPA-E’s project description lists some of the anticipated benefits of “these new battery chemistries,” including better energy density allowing up to three times the driving range …

Transformative EV Range Expansion?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

In what may be eventual good news for future electric aviators, the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) will award approximately $36 million to 22 projects to develop transformational electric vehicle (EV) energy storage systems using innovative chemistries, architectures and designs.  ARPA-E also uses the term, “revolutionary.” The series of awards is part of the RANGE program (Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems), intended “to enable a 3X increase in electric vehicle range (from ~80 to ~240 miles per charge) with a simultaneous price reduction of > 1/3 (to ~ $30,000). If successful, these vehicles will provide near cost and range parity to gasoline-powered ICE vehicles, ARPA-E said.” “Transformational” comes straight from the CAFE …

Engineered E. coli Mass Produce Key Precursors to Potent Biofuels

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Hearing of E. coli outbreaks usually makes us reconsider our fast-food dining choices.  Other possible, friendlier uses for the pesky bacteria, though, could show the way to clean energy production, making a “gasoline-like biofuel,” according to Harvard Medical School and Wyss Institute researchers. According to Harvard’s news release, “New lines of engineered bacteria can tailor-make key precursors of high-octane biofuels that could one day replace gasoline, scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School report in the June 24 online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “’The big contribution is that we were able to program cells to make specific fuel precursors,’ said Pamela …