Earth, Air, Water and Jet Fire

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince The SOLAR-JET project (Solar chemical reactor demonstration and Optimization for Long-term Availability of Renewable JET fuel. or SOLAR-JET) pulls carbon dioxide from the air, mixes it with water and exposes the mix to 1,500 degree (Centigrade) concentrated solar energy and makes a synthetic natural gas, with oxygen as the only exhaust.  Attempting to produce a useable fuel from CO2 has been an obsession for many over several decades.  Attempts to capture and store CO2 are expensive and usually only hide the carbon, ostensibly for eternity. SOLAR-JET explains its objectives …

Silicon, Sulfur and 3D graphene Makes High-Performance Battery

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Lithium-sulfur batteries display winning qualities, such as low production cost, environmental friendliness, and high energy density.  Researchers usually give up, or look elsewhere, when the materials’ poor cycle life and loss of active materials on both anode and cathode show up. Researchers at Beihang University in Beijing report developing “a new Li-sulfur battery using honeycomb-like sulfur copolymer uniformly distributed onto 3D graphene (3D cpS-G) networks for a cathode material and a 3D lithiated Si-G network as anode.”  They report “a high reversible capacity of 620 milli-Amp hours per gram, [and an] ultrahigh energy density of 1,147 Watt-hours per kilogram (based on the total mass of cathode and anode), good high-rate capability and excellent cycle performance over 500 cycles (0.028% capacity …

Turning Over a New Leaf at JCAP

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The blog has covered Professor Daniel Nocera’s “artificial leaf,” a means by which a flat panel in water and exposed to sunlight would generate clean water and hydrogen.  But that promising development has been set aside by the startup company Catalytix that attempted commercial development of the leaf for now.  Instead, the company is now pursuing the design of a practical low-cost flow battery for grid storage. Researchers at Berkeley’s Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), though, may have found a different approach to the artificial leaf that will overcome many shortcomings in its predecessors.  Gary Moore, a chemist and principal investigator with Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division, found that in his artificial leaf, “nearly 90-percent of the electrons generated …

Nanopaper Solar Cells – Finest Wood Pulp in the World

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Nanopapers are, like the paper we use daily, made from wood pulp, but in this case reduced to nano-sized lengths and formed into “a network of nanofibrillated (tangled) cellulose (NFC).” This tangled network, a seemingly impenetrable mass, is surprisingly transparent, and the paper’s increased light scattering makes it 90 to 95-percent transparent (a counter-intuitive thought).  Earlier discoveries showed that coating the paper with carbon nanotubes “made the paper very strong and highly conductive, which could allow it to be used for printed electronics (such as circuit boards) and in products that require a lightweight construction.” Extracting NFC from ordinary paper fibers is a time and energy intensive process, so the next batch of  nanopaper won’t use these fibers, instead “detangling” …

Better Batteries: Wrap It in Seaweed

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

MIT’s Technology Review reported last September that researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Clemson University had formulated a way to keep silicon anodes in lithium batteries from cracking under the strain of expending and contracting while they charge and discharge. They added a “binding agent and food additive derived from algae” that is in turn derived from seaweed. This enables the anode to charge and discharge at an eight times greater rate than an equivalent carbon anode without breaking down, a common problem for “raw” silicon. Environmentally friendly, the manufacturing processes for this type of anode are claimed to be clean and inexpensive. According to the Technology Review, “Lithium-ion batteries store energy by accumulating ions at the anode; …