Battery 500 Consortium – A Budget Program with Potentially Big Payback

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The federal government is creating yet another round of incentives to “spark” development of “significantly smaller, lighter and less expensive batteries.” A consortium of researchers led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will receive up to $10 million a year over five years to perk up battery performance, with the goal of creating a 500 Watt-hour per kilogram battery pack, about three times that of currently available commercial offerings.  The new batteries should be “reliable, safe and less expensive,” according to consortium director and PNNL materials scientist Jun Liu.  Research will come from partners nation-wide, including: Brookhaven National Laboratory Idaho National Laboratory SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Binghamton University (State University of New York) Stanford University University of California, San Diego …

Cheap and Dirty Fuel Cells – Good News for Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Hydrogen fuel cells would be just about the most wonderful power producers in the world if they weren’t so expensive and so finicky about their diet of hydrogen.  Their catalysts, usually made of costly platinum, can be destroyed by impurities in the gas.  Making high-purity hydrogen is an exacting task and adds to the expense of operation. Two studies by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory; one in conjunction with researchers at South Korea’s Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER), show that it may be commercially possible to make less expensive catalysts with available materials, and in one case, use “dirty” hydrogen that would otherwise destroy fuel …

Soy Beans – Not Just for Tofu Anymore

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Shilpa and twin sister Shweta Iyer have been working on splitting water to extract hydrogen for many years.  In November, 2012 the Port Jefferson Station high school students won regional finalist honors in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, and netted $1,000 each.  They were awarded the Grand Prize in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair in March, and were sent to Phoenix, Arizona in May to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, where they won fourth place and $500 each.  Their winnings go into college funds which they will invest in the fall. What has won these young women international recognition?  Perhaps it’s their work in creating a catalyst for the production of …

Chew on This: How a Snail Might Teach Us How to Make Better Batteries

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Radula: A flexible tonguelike organ in certain mollusks, having rows of horny teeth on the surface. [Latin r dula, scraper, from r dere, to scrape] freedictionary.com The Gumboot Chiton is not pretty, and is downright ugly when turned over.  The rows of molars on its underside are wonderfully suited though, to scraping algae off rocks, and the hardness of its dentures is something materials scientists study closely.  The Chiton, described as a “wandering meatloaf” because of its hump of leathery brown upper skin, may not have an alluring personality, but is teeth are magnetic, leading to University of California, Riverside assistant professor David Kisailus’ attraction to them. Kisailus, specializing in chemical and environmental engineering, and his fellow researchers may have found …