Valuable Materials and Fuels from Trash

Dean Sigler Announcements, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Aircraft Materials, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The Earth we inhabit struggles in an ever-tightening race between being overcome with its own trash and cleaning up after itself.  Two stunning approaches to turning trash and waste into valuable materials and fuels could help us win that race. Graphene Dreams in a Flash Bigthink.com leads with the news that, “Graphene typically costs $200,000 per ton. Now, scientists can make it from trash.”  This “insanely useful” product is difficult to produce, making it a luxury for many applications – until now. Graphene is insanely useful, but very difficult to produce — until now.  Dr. James Tour and his Rice University students have created a way to produce graphene in large quantities in a literal flash.  This technique, Flash Joule …

Flexibly Keeping Batteries from Blowing their Cool

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Meltdown – not a term one wants to hear when confronting an obstinate boss or while levitating in his or her new Tom Swift Electric Octo-copter.  But it is a real specter confronting electric vehicle users, and one amplified to positive levels of terror in flight. Two groups of researchers have come up with novel ways of quelling that terror and getting rid of the normally flammable electrolyte that helps make lithium battery fires truly memorable. If researchers at Chapel Hill and Washington State University are successful in their research, that acid electrolyte can be replaced with something safer and as a bonus in both cases, batteries using these new substances will perform better and longer. Researchers at the University …

Yet Another Soy Battery

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The Blog recently reported on the brilliant work of twin high school students involved with the Brookhaven Institute in creating catalysts with a molybdenum-soy base (MoSoy) that could lead to inexpensive energy storage. Now we learn of efforts at Washington State University at Pullman in eastern Washington state to develop batteries with greater energy and prevent battery fires using the humble soy bean as a base material. Grant Norton, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, is proud of his new lab, designed to build and test lithium battery materials in commercial sizes.   “The new laboratory allows us to scale up our research to work that is commercially relevant.’’ Norton works on tin-based electrodes, among other things, while …