A Milestone on the Road to Dr. Cui’s 10X Battery

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Seeing the Amprius web site, one would never know that some “dramatic improvements” promised in the terse announcement might mean so much in terms of true breakthroughs. Neatly centered, Amprius’ total web site is a few  lines of discrete text. Amprius is a leading Lithium-Ion battery developer Amprius’s silicon technology was originally developed at Stanford University and enables dramatic improvements in the energy density and specific energy of Lithium-Ion batteries. Amprius is backed by some of the world’s leading investors, including Trident Capital, VantagePoint Venture Partners, IPV Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Dr. Eric Schmidt. Amprius, Inc., 225 Humboldt Ct. Sunnyvale, CA 94089 But the battery manufacturer has two first-generation product offerings with volumetric energy densities of 580 …

Peel-and-Stick Solar Cells Make Debut

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The U. S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Stanford University have teamed up to create what may be the thinnest of thin solar cells – a peel-and-stick decal. One micron thick, the decal-like  peel-and-stick, or water-assisted transfer printing (WTP), technologies were developed by Stanford researchers and have been used for nanowire based electronics.  Meeting at a conference where both made presentations, Stanford’s Xiaolin Zheng talked about her peel-and-stick technology, and NREL principal scientist Qi Wang spoke on his team’s research in thin-film amorphous solar cells. Zheng realized that the NREL had the type of solar cells needed for her peel-and-stick project, according to the NREL announcement. The NREL press release explains, “The university and NREL showed …

Battery Optimization: Working Smarter, Not Harder

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We’re often told that we use only a small part of our brains – easily demonstrated in your editor’s case.  What if we’re only using a small part of the battery power that’s available to us?  Fixing that would lead to smaller batteries working more efficiently, a significant step toward lighter power packages. Hybridcars.com shares this kind of thinking in two recent postings, the first about a $4 million contract beween  PARC, a Xerox company, its partner LG Chem Power and the U. S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy (ARPA-E) as part of the Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) program.     According to hybridcars’ Philippe Crowe, the partners will,  “Develop a fiber …

Carbon Free or Carbon Neutral – Could New Fuels Save Us?

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Three companies – Air Fuel Synthesis, Cool Planet Energy Systems, and Joule Unlimited – are generating comment and controversy for their approaches to creating different kinds of biofuels. They all promise extreme reductions in carbon emissions and lower prices at the pump. Their output could use existing infrastructure for delivery, making them all desire able commodities if their promise can be achieved. Cool Planet  Cool Planet Energy Systems claims to be, “The only company producing carbon negative fuels using plant photosynthesis to remove CO2 from our atmosphere.” Its now patented approach recycles its solid products back into the soil, and using more of the liquid fuel products cleans the air more quickly, according to the firm’s web site. The company’s …

Hope or Patience? Ennui or Exuberance?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

EV-World.com first stymied this editor’s hopes, and then gave cause to hope at an elevated level.  Two articles in jousting juxtaposition explored this dichotomy. Anthony Ingram took a jaundiced view of present battery progress and the hopes for a more energy-dense future. He noted that, “There’s kind of a running joke within the electric car world that the next generation of batteries is just a decade away. And the next time you ask, it’s still a decade away. Even a decade later. “Well, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the next generation of usable battery technology is – wait for it – around ten years away.” He explains that today’s EVs are running on ten-year-old technology, and that the …

Algae Biofuels Producers, NASA Combine Forces

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

OriginOil and Algasol are two algae–to-oil producers who’ve joined forces to cultivate and harvest micro algae that can perhaps “reach a tipping point and compete with petroleum.” Algasol’s process perhaps most closely resembles that shown by NASA scientist Dr. Johnathan Trent, which he presented at the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium.  His OMEGA, “Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae” relies on water motion and sunlight to churn treated wastewater that otherwise would be literally dumped into the ocean into a refineable algae.  Waste CO2 can also be used to generate algae, another “two-fer” that would clean up the environment while providing a literally green fuel source. In their joint press release, the two firms explain, “Algasol’s floating bags or photobioreactors …