The case for optimism on climate change - "I'll finish with this story. When I was 13 years old, I heard that proposal by President Kennedy to land a person on the Moon and bring him back safely in 10 years. And I heard adults of that day and time say, 'That's reckless, expensive, may well fail.' But eight years and two months later, in the moment that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, there was great cheer that went up in NASA's mission control in Houston. Here's a little-known fact about that: the average age of the systems engineers, the controllers in the room that day, was 26, which means, among other things, their age, when they heard that challenge, was 18." (via; previously) [more inside]
In the boreal forests of northern Ontario, aerial photography revealed groups of 'rings' of stunted tree growth. The Ontario Geological Society[PDF] conducted research and found the rings are from 'reduced chimneys' forming enormous electrochemical cells.
Tesla Powerwall Battery Economics: Almost There - "Elon Musk announced Tesla's home / business battery today. [video] tl;dr: It'll get enthusiastic early adopters to buy. The economics are almost there to make it cost effective for a wide market... That said, for large scale grid deployment (outside of the home), it still looks like flow batteries and advanced compressed air are likely to be far cheaper in the long run." [more inside]
There are a number of grid energy storage methods, including flow batteries, which have the potential to be scaled up with increased tank sizes, but that would be expensive due to the cost of metals involved in the process. Enter a research team from Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who have developed an organic mega-flow battery that utilize quinones, similar to those found in rhubarbs. The quinones serve as charge-carriers in chlorophyll during photosynthesis, with minimal degradation during the process, which is ideal for batteries used in large-scale energy storage and distribution. Some day, energy may be stored in "rhubarb batteries." (Abstract on Nature, paywalled article).
uBeam - the wireless charging platform that uses ultrasound to send electricity to devices through the air.
Installed solar capacity is growing by leaps and bounds, led by Walmart and Apple, and helped by bonds backed by solar power payments,[*] which have sent industry stocks soaring, even as molten salt and new battery technologies come on line to generate storage for use when the sun doesn't shine. Of course we could always go to geostationary orbit -- or the moon -- as well we may (if politics allow it) as thirst from the developing world grows beyond the earth's carrying capacity. [more inside]
A few nights ago MIT scientist Donald Sadoway (Time 100) was on Colbert Report to discuss a new cheap high-capacity liquid-metal battery that could be the holy grail for solar and wind power to store electricity for on-demand use. The Colbert show is an intro but sort of dumb (by design), the TED talk gives some more detail, or the company page Ambri has more info.
As far as we are aware, this is the largest scale discharge test of consumer batteries that has been performed. Battery Showdown!
$40,000 is what you'll pay to have the battery replaced if you leave your Tesla Roadster, a $100K electric car, unplugged long enough that the battery discharges completely. Reportedly, the problem will also plague the upcoming Model S coupe, a $50K downmarket model. Owners cannot insure against this loss, it is not covered by warranty, and the car cannot be driven, recharged, or easily towed if so "bricked".
iPhones, laptops, the Chevy Volt, and airplanes all have something in common - fires caused by lithium batteries. [more inside]
How a Security Researcher Discovered the Apple Battery ‘Hack’ - How to destroy Hardware with Software.
The First World Problems Rap (SLYT)
Electronics companies all over the world are increasingly reliant on certain rare metals, most of which are mined in China, which controls 97 per cent of the global supply. The Chinese government has promised to slash export quotas to ensure future sustainability of the world's supply of rare metals. China will drop its quota by 35 per cent in the first half of this year as compared with the same time last year. But despite its escalating consumption of rare metals and the need for future sustainability, the West's electronics industry is mistrustful of China's motives and claims that the move has more to do with the mainland's desire to dominate electronics manufacturing than ensuring the future sustainability of the world's supply of rare metals. ~ Greening conscience or resource checkmate? The rare earth trilogy covers eWaste harvesting, restarting interest in mines and dithering around trade regulations, all in one neat package. [more inside]
Man, they said we better accentuate the positive... eliminate the negative... latch on to the affirmative....
Microsoft introduces "an amazingly obvious tweak to battery tech that should save us some headaches, as well as several trillion hours of head-scratching and peering into dark holes." The innovation, called "Instaload" is a simple, low-tech battery contact design that allows cylindrical batteries (disposable and rechargeable) to be inserted in either direction, so users don't have to worry about which end is positive or negative. How? It puts a set of positive and negative contacts at both ends of a battery compartment. (From Microsoft: Press Release / Overview / Technology Brochure (pdf)) [more inside]
Chemically Driven Carbon-Nanotube-Guided Thermopower Waves (VIDEO) are "a new scientific area for research" and may be able to provide 100 times more energy by weight than a standard lithium-ion battery.
From the successful conversion of a Porsche 914 into a battery electric vehicle (BEV), MIT's Electric Vehicle Team are now working on the conversion of a Mercury Milan Hybrid into a quick-charging BEV. Instead of the typical 10 to 12 hours for a full charge, the MIT team is looking at an 11 minute charge-time for their BEV, dubbed "elEVen," and they're blogging in detail about their progress. (via) [more inside]
Pics of the new Tesla S-Model have been leaked. With an anticipated price tag of 50K and a potential 45-minute recharge time, will this finally kick-start a true replacement to the internal combustion engine? And if so, where will the electricity come from? What future is there for the fuel-cell vehicle, or will fuel cells remain stationary? Is that really it for hydrogen? [more inside]
Meta-efficiency is the analysis of efficiency at a more comprehensive level. Metaefficient Review assesses products considering not only their energy efficiency but also the embodied energy, toxicity, affordability, and usability. [more inside]
I'm not sure what the exact definition of geek is, but I think "enjoys recharging batteries" has to be very high on that list.
Betavoltaic Batteries are supposed to last 30 years, run cool, and be inert and harmless when depleted. The batteries, which generate electricity from radioactive decay, have a 50-year development history, but breakthroughs at the U.S. Air Force Research Lab are said to make the batteries practical for use in consumer applications. So why doesn't the Air Force lab's website feature this discovery? Maybe because it's a hoax, or a scam.
Due to recent fires, Dell is recalling over four million laptop batteries manufactured by Sony and sold worldwide in the past two years. Pictures of computers on fire (as well as their charred remains) circulated widely online, not allowing the company to easily dismiss the problem as an isolated incident. Other companies claim their products aren't affected by the same issues, but the nightmare might not be limited to Dell. The future of laptops on airplanes is not looking so good.
Los Alamos whistleblower "Tommy Hook is still hospitalized today after being brutally assaulted over the weekend," the Project on Government Oversight is saying. "A group of three to four assailants threatened Hook to keep silent, in apparent reference to his upcoming Congressional testimony on fraud at Los Alamos."
We've all, I'm sure by now, seen the movie two brothers made about thier iPod's "unreplaceable battery" and them broadcasting the movie they made of thier tech support call, and their defacing apple posters, to the four winds. We may have even read the article that came out over the weekend giving/taking credit for the introduction of the battery replacement program for ipods from Apple as a result of thier movie. (Here's one for 1/2 the price from other people that you can do yourself). So why doesn't the brother's movie site have this info? Are they just out for the publicity? This series of emails seems to prove that, as well as proving the pair of being ungrateful bastids.
Yet another case of zero intelligence. Two days after Tiffani Ann Alvera notified her public housing resident manager that she had obtained a restraining order against her husband for domestic violence, she received a notice to vacate the apartment within 24 hours. The notice said, "You, someone in your control, or your pet, has seriously threatened immediately to inflict personal injury, or has inflicted substantial personal injury upon the landlord or other tenants," and specified her husband's assault.