Bank of 1,440 lithium-ion batteries to make power grid smarter

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 31, 2013   View Article

A bank of lithium-ion batteries big enough to supply about 500 U.S. homes with electricity during a power outage went online today to demonstrate the future of smart grid technologies.

The 5-megawatt battery is a piece of a larger, government-backed $178 million research project in the Pacific Northwest to make the electric grid more efficient and friendly to additional loads of renewable energy such as wind and solar, which fluctuate depending on the weather and time of day.

Stretchable batteries are here! Power to the bendy electronics

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 26, 2013   View Article

The next frontier in electronics are the flexible, stretchable kind. Yes, that means a rubber, bouncy smartphone (eventually), but it also means heart monitors threaded into cardiac tissue. For devices like that to work, they require flexible, stretchable batteries. And such batteries are here, according to researchers who just published their work.

‘Nano-shish-kebabs’ are a recipe for better lithium-ion batteries

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 20, 2013   View Article

Powerful energy storage devices of the future may trace their roots back to a research lab that cooked up “nano-shish-kebabs” out of germanium sulfide, a semiconductor material.

Unlike the skewered meats and assorted veggies grilled on backyard barbeques, these kebabs are single, three-dimensional structures that consist of sheets of the semiconductor material grown along a nanowire. Each wire is about 100 nanometers long.

Wind-powered car crosses Australia on $15

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 8, 2013   View Article

A lightweight carbon-fiber car packing high-tech lithium-ion batteries and a portable wind turbine cruised 3,000 miles across Australia using just $15 worth of electricity from the grid. For an added boost, the drivers used a giant kite to pull the car down the road when the wind blew in the right direction.

“They were able to supplement their lithium-ion battery power with kite power about 10 to 15 percent of the time,” Bill Bunting, a senior scientist with Evonik Industries in New Jersey, told NBC News.

Battery aging reversed to keep electric train chugging along

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 4, 2013   View Article

Researchers have written an algorithm that reverses aging in rechargeable lead-acid batteries, a breakthrough that will let them keep their all-electric train chugging along longer.

“To be able to rejuvenate anything is pretty remarkable,” Christopher Rahn, a mechanical engineer at Pennsylvania State University, told NBC News. “I mean, how many times in life do you actually reverse aging?”

Can 500-mile lithium-air car battery make gas obsolete?

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 3, 2012   View Article

The days of gas-guzzling cars may come to an end before we run out of oil if technologies such as 500-mile-per-charge lithium-air batteries become a real and affordable option. A company that customizes carbons at the molecular level believes it can help us get there.

Along the way, the same process the company employs to manufacture carbons for prototype lithium-air batteries is being used to improve the efficiency of batteries in gasoline and hybrid-electric vehicles, making a dent in carbon emissions.

Big ‘Green’? IBM works on 500-mile-per-charge battery

Publication:   Date: April 20, 2012   View Article

An electric car that can go from Boston to Detroit on a single charge could hit showroom floors sometime in the next decade, if all continues to go smoothly for IBM.

Yes, IBM. The company, best known these days for its trivia-champ computer Watson, is making a risky bet on the development of lithium-air battery technology in a bid to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach