New “Leaf” Turns Over More Energy

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Scientists have been working on imitating nature’s ability to photosynthesize the sun’s energy, much as plants turn that energy into food for their health and growth.  Daniel Nocera, for instance, created an artificial leaf that split water into oxygen and hydrogen that could fire up a small fuel cell and run an electric light.  According to a Science Pub lecture your editor recently attended, an eight-ounce glass of water can power a 60-Watt bulb for 20 hours.  Nocera, in a Pop! Tech talk, claims an Olympic-size swimming pool could supply all the world’s energy needs. Nocera now works at Harvard, but researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), his former home, are taking his work further, detailing all the limitations …

Crushed, Rolled, or Slivered, Silicon Boosts Batteries

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Two different Rice University research teams are applying different but related approaches to using silicon in lithium batteries to make them more energy dense and longer-lived. One team recently came up with a paint-on lithium battery, announced a way to use otherwise waste silicon by crushing it and spreading it on anodes in their test batteries. This has implications for manufacturing because of the simplicity of the process. Dvice.com gives one hint as to why this might be good. “In lithium-ion batteries, for example, the anode is usually graphite, because it works well and is cheap. “You know what else is cheap? Silicon. The Earth is 28% silicon, making it the second most abundant crustal element by mass after oxygen. …