Yet Another Soy Battery

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The Blog recently reported on the brilliant work of twin high school students involved with the Brookhaven Institute in creating catalysts with a molybdenum-soy base (MoSoy) that could lead to inexpensive energy storage. Now we learn of efforts at Washington State University at Pullman in eastern Washington state to develop batteries with greater energy and prevent battery fires using the humble soy bean as a base material. Grant Norton, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, is proud of his new lab, designed to build and test lithium battery materials in commercial sizes.   “The new laboratory allows us to scale up our research to work that is commercially relevant.’’ Norton works on tin-based electrodes, among other things, while …

Solid, Man! Electrolytes Go Granular

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Most liquid battery electrolytes that conduct ions between anode and cathode also carry with them a flammability problem, especially as chemists try to pack more power into smaller batteries.  Recent fires which have grounded all Boeing 787s in the world highlight the danger. The blog has noted before the dangers of overcharging lithium batteries and especially of leaving even model airplane sized packs lying about unattended during charging. Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers claim to have demonstrated safety advantages with a nanoporous electrolyte, according to a January 23, 2013 release.  ORNL’s Chengdu Liang says, “To make a safer, lightweight battery, we need the design at the beginning to have safety in mind.  We started with a conventional material that is …

NASA Adds Some Numbers to Green Flight Challenge

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

NASA’s Mark Moore sends this link to NASA’s press release on the recent NASA Centennial Challenge Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google.  The CAFE Foundation organized and managed the event. “Today we’ve shown that electric aircraft have moved beyond science fiction and are now in the realm of practice.” – Chief technologist at NASA Joe Parrish. The lead quote is informative, as are some figures from the release.  “The competition resulted in the world’s most efficient aircraft, beating the state of the art of approximately 100 pmpg (passenger miles per gallon) which is achieved by the newly released Boeing 787 airliner.  Essentially this contest showed the ability of small aircraft to achieve twice the efficiency of the most efficient production automobiles today, …