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 …

Hybrid Batteries in Hybrid Vehicles?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Frances White of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) reports that a new anode quadruples the life of a test lithium-sulfur battery and could lead to much lower costs for electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage. This blog has noted that many researchers focus on development of better cathodes, or anodes, or electrolytes exclusively, neglecting a more holistic, or whole battery approach to their delving.  PNNL scientists have a reason for focusing on anodes, having found that a “battery with a dissolved cathode can still work.” What dissolves the electrodes in a battery?  “Unwanted side reactions,” according to PNNL, cause the battery’s sulfur-containing cathode to disintegrate slowly and form polysulfide molecules that dissolve into the battery’s electrolyte liquid.  This becomes …

Wollongong Cites Battery Breakthrough

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Professor Zaiping Guo at the University of Wollongong’s Institute for Superconducting & Electronic Materials is working on improving lithium-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles, as well as portable devices like mobile phones, and her school proclaims a breakthrough. Her team has developed a novel nanostructured Germanium (Ge)-based anode material for high-powered rechargeable lithium batteries. Professor Guo, an Australian Research Council (ARC) QEII Fellow, said the development of this inexpensive manufacturing technique is a breakthrough that will provide a significant improvement in battery technology, which can be used to power the next generation of clean-tech electric cars. “The novel anode materials are very simple to synthesize and cost-effective,” she said. “They can be fabricated in large-scale by industry, therefore have …

Avoiding Propeller Strikes on Electric Aircraft

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

At last year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium, Ron Gremban, developer of the Prius plug-in hybrid, shared several questions about promoting safety in electric aircraft.  One aspect that provoked deep thought was that of safety for those working around an electric airplane, whose propeller could start quietly and possibly strike an unaware bystander.  During the Green Flight Challenge, it was noteworthy that unlike their gasoline-powered counterparts which idled while awaiting takeoff, the Pipistrel G4 and e-Genius awaited their turn to launch with propellers at rest, only spinning when commanded – and very quietly at that. The question of avoiding prop strikes found at least one answer at EAS VII.  Karl Kaser demonstrated, in model form, his ePropeller Safety Device (eSD), noting “the …

Alternair, X-Caps™ Teaming Up From Sky to Parking Lot

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Stephen Boutenko, founder of Alternair, LLC and Karl Young, founder of Extreme Capacitors have found common cause in analyzing how best to make an electric Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) a possibility.   Alternair’s Amp LSA was featured in a blog entry last year, and Karl Young’s work with ultracapacitors was the subject of his presentation at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium. Alternair has recently established a temporary design department in Prescott, Arizona (in association with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University) and is moving his manufacturing facility to Ashland, Oregon, where he hopes to begin production of the highly-sophisticated Amp. Although Amp will be developed around existing lithium-polymer battery technology, Young reports that his creation of high power/high energy ultracapacitors has demonstrated, …

Two Great (Mostly) Gasless Road Trips

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

A group of Italian engineers is embarking on a 13,000 kilometer (8,000 mile) road trip from Italy to Shanghai, China, retracing Marco Polo’s route.  The vehicles are central to this adventure, though – two pairs of bright orange Piaggio Porter vans, (mostly) driverless and running on stored electricity and sunlight.  With sensors and cameras nestled under their solar panel roof racks and control by a Vislab system, the two pairs of vehicles will be as autonomous as possible, even though a human will be in the driver’s seat to take over in an emergency and another technician will be on board to help with repairs.   Another pair of guide vehicles will lead the way for each pair of autonomous vehicles, and several other support …