Lighter, More Powerful, Cheaper. Can J-CESR Bring Us Better Batteries?

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 0 Comments

$70,000 is a sizable base price for a car.   That sum for the simplest of Tesla S sedans makes a bigger than average debt load for most of us, probably more than most can responsibly assume.   Even the much anticipated model “E” at half that price is more stunning than the average sticker shock these days.  What if, by some act of art or science, that $70,000 could be slashed to $14,000 for an electric vehicle that could travel 265 miles on a charge?  That tall order is the order of the day for the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, started two years ago under Dr. Steven Chu, who was then U. S. Secretary of Energy.  He and his …

A Billion-Hole Battery

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Battery companies and academic researchers keep finding ways to make ions flow quickly and efficiently within batteries. One way is to reduce the size of a cell so that the ions don’t have to travel far.  University of Maryland researchers may have achieved a miniaturization that boggles the mind. Their claim, that they’ve created a “single tiny structure that includes all the components of a battery that they say could bring about the ultimate miniaturization of energy storage components, comes from a story by Martha Heil in UMD Right Now. The structure is based on a nanopore, an incredibly tiny hole in a ceramic sheet 80,000 times thinner than a human hair.  The holes can hold electrolyte that carries a …

EAS VIII: Avetik Haryutunyan and Lithium Storage Capacity in Large Nanostructures

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Although “large nanostructures” may sound like the same kind of oxymoron as “jumbo shrimp,” such things are relative even at the smallest of scales.  Dr. Avetik Haryutunyan, Chief Scientist in the Materials Science Division of Honda Motors in Columbus, Ohio, shared a small part of the knowledge contained in his numerous publications and patents with the audience at the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium last April.  He reviewed experimental approaches to creating high lithium storage in carbon nanostructures, with the ideal of providing scientists and commercial developers usable materials and products. He reviewed the many experimental approaches to enhancing energy storage with lithium, attempting to achieve reproducibility and irreversibility, two touchstones of scientific validation. Dr. Haryutunyan explained that with 14 …

Angela Belcher Continues Making Batteries with Viruses

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Three years ago, in one of our earliest entries, this blog reported on the blending of biology and chemistry in a bionic battery created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Angela Belcher. She was honored with a press briefing with President Obama, MIT President Susan Hockfield and her prototype battery, and used the occasion to encourage federal funding for such ventures.  In a later visit to her laboratory, the President accepted a business card with the periodic table, saying he would consult it periodically. She has turned her bionic battery research to improving the chances for lithium-air batteries to reach that magic 500-mile figure ( or at least 550 kilometers or 341 miles), and has explained her approach and progress …

I’ll Take Manhattan

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

While much of battery research goes into crafting the ultimate anode, cathode or electrolyte, there seem to be few efforts, at least to outside observers, of integrated approaches to making a better total battery.  That may change soon, with the Department of Energy announcing formation of a new Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (J-CESR, or J-Caesar).   Dr. Steven Chu, U. S. Secretary of Energy, has established the Center at Argonne National Laboratory with a budget of $120 million over five years to create a battery five times more powerful and five times cheaper than today’s norms – all within five years. For those of us who’ve grown wary of those “breakthough” announcements that almost always include the line, …