Battery

Liquid batteries to pour on green energy?

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 15, 2012   View Article

Banks of scorching hot batteries filled with molten metals may be the long-sought silver bullet to make large-scale adoption of wind and solar energy a practical, purely green reality.

Such a storage solution is needed because, as we know, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine where and when it’s needed.

Energy storage breakthroughs on the horizon

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: November 18, 2011   View Article

Breakthroughs in energy storage technologies are on the horizon that could turn vast swathes of the world’s sun-soaked deserts and windy plains into sources of clean, renewable energy, according to experts focused on our energy future.

No one technology — ranging from storing a portion of the sun’s energy collected during the day in molten salt to run solar thermal generators at night to banks of lithium-ion batteries scattered around neighborhoods — will be the solution.

Rather, “there is going to be a portfolio of energy storage” options, Bruce Dunn, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles, told me Thursday.

‘Artificial leaf’ makes real fuel

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 30, 2011   View Article

It doesn’t look like the leaves changing colors and piling up on the lawn, but a nature-inspired “artificial leaf” technology has taken a notable step toward the goal of producing storable and clean energy to power everything from factories to tablet computers.

The leaf is a silicon solar cell coated with catalytic materials on its side that, when placed in a container of water and exposed to sunlight, splits the H2O into bubbles of oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen can be stored and used as an energy source, for example to power a fuel cell.

The era of e-bikes is upon us

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 27, 2011   View Article

Bikes with an electric-motor assist are beginning to change the way people get around town, according to experts who declare the age of the e-bike is upon us.

E-bikes look and operate similar to their traditional pedal-powered equivalents, but contain a battery-powered motor that kicks on when, for example, pedaling up a menacing hill.

Can EVs solve wind power puzzle?

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 13, 2011   View Article

Electric vehicles outfitted with a $10 computer chip can help streamline the addition of wind power to the electric grid, according to a study that shows how the two types of technology could piece together the puzzle of our green energy future.

One of the biggest hurdles utilities face with the addition of wind power and other renewable sources of energy to the grid is where and how to store excess generation for use when people actually need it. Until that happens, if the wind blows when nobody needs electricity, for example, the energy is wasted.

Shoes redefine ‘power walking’

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: August 24, 2011   View Article

Going on a power walk could soon do more than blow off steam; it could recharge your cell phone and other portable electronics, according to engineers working on a new way to harvest the mechanical energy in the human gait.

The concept is called reverse electrowetting. It uses a micro-fluidic device consisting of thousands of micro-droplets that move past a novel nanotechnology-based thin film. This motion of the droplets is converted into an electrical current.

“The normal way of using the harvester would be couple it with a tiny, rechargeable battery not unlike the ones which we have in cell phones,” Tom Krupenkin, an engineering researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, explained to me on Tuesday.

An electric plane you can (almost) buy

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: July 29, 2011   View Article

A single-passenger electric airplane that you can (almost) buy is waiting for its day in the sun at an air show in Wisconsin where it hopes to showcase the future of zero-emissions aviation.

Torrential rains at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh earlier this week has created a backlog of flights, delaying a demonstration of the Elektra One, officials said.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach