New Solar Energy Harvesting System Generates Power 24/7

A University of Houston professor is reporting on a new type of solar energy harvesting system called thermophotovoltaics (STPV) that breaks the efficiency record of all existing technologies. And no less important, it clears the way to use solar power 24/7.

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Electric Ice Cream Van

Nissan has partnered with the famous Mackies of Scotland to create a rather sweet concept vehicle. The electric vehicle pioneers and the ice cream brand have collaborated to create an all-electric ice cream van for “Clean Air Day” in the U.K. on June 20th, which demonstrates how a “Sky to Scoopapproach can remove carbon dependence at every stage of “the ice cream journey.”

Going green is nothing new for Mackies, which powers its family-owned dairy farm by renewable wind and solar energy, but most ice cream vans across Britain are powered by diesel engines which stay running even when the van is stopped to power the fridges and freezers onboard. In fact, some U.K. towns and cities are even looking to ban ice cream vans – which is a preposterous thought, even for someone like me who can’t eat ice cream. Nissan‘s new concept provides something of a solution to the impending doom of the good old ice cream van, reducing its carbon footprint while keeping kids happy and parents predictably out of pocket.

The ice cream van concept is based on Nissan‘s all-electric e-NV200 light commercial vehicle, which combines a zero-emission drivetrain, second-life battery storage and renewable solar energy generation for the home as well.

Ice cream is enjoyed the world over, but consumers are increasingly mindful of the environmental impact of how we produce such treats, and the ‘last mile’ of how they reach us,” said Kalyana Sivagnanam, managing director, Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd.

This project is a perfect demonstration of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility strategy, applying more than a decade of EV experience and progress in battery technology to create cleaner solutions for power on the go – in ways customers might not expect. “By eliminating harmful tailpipe emissions, and increasing our use of renewable energy, we can help make this a better world for everyone.”

Source: https://www.motor1.com/

New Cathode Triples the Energy Storage of Lithium-Ion Batteries

As the demand for smartphones, electric vehicles, and renewable energy continues to rise, scientists are searching for ways to improve lithium-ion batteries—the most common type of battery found in home electronics and a promising solution for grid-scale energy storage. Increasing the energy density of lithium-ion batteries could facilitate the development of advanced technologies with long-lasting batteries, as well as the widespread use of wind and solar energy. Now, researchers have made significant progress toward achieving that goal. A collaboration led by scientists at the University of Maryland (UMD), the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the U.S. Army Research Lab have developed and studied a new cathode material that could triple the energy density of lithium-ion battery electrodes

Lithium-ion batteries consist of an anode and a cathode,” said Xiulin Fan, a scientist at UMD and one of the lead authors of the paper. “Compared to the large capacity of the commercial graphite anodes used in lithium-ion batteries, the capacity of the cathodes is far more limited. Cathode materials are always the bottleneck for further improving the energy density of lithium-ion batteries.

Scientists at UMD synthesized a new cathode material, a modified and engineered form of iron trifluoride (FeF3), which is composed of cost-effective and environmentally benign elements—iron and fluorine. Researchers have been interested in using chemical compounds like FeF3 in lithium-ion batteries because they offer inherently higher capacities than traditional cathode materials.

The materials normally used in lithium-ion batteries are based on intercalation chemistry,” said Enyuan Hu, a chemist at Brookhaven and one of the lead authors of the paper. “This type of chemical reaction is very efficient; however, it only transfers a single electron, so the cathode capacity is limited. Some compounds like FeF3 are capable of transferring multiple electrons through a more complex reaction mechanism, called a conversion reaction.

The findings are published in Nature Communications.

Source: https://www.bnl.gov/

Gravity, An Alternative Energy

A Dutch architect has developed a new technique to generate free energy in a sustainable way at home, whereby energy is released by perpetually unbalancing a weight — offering an alternative to solar and wind technology.

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Gravity, an inexhaustible and always present source of power for harvesting energy from falling or tilting objects. 

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Intuitively, I thought that gravity must have something to offer, given that everything is drawn to earth,” co-creator Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Universe Architecture said. “By unbalancing a weight at the top that is only just stable, using little force, a large force is created at the bottom at a single point. The idea was that this should yield something.”

Scientists are calling the patent-pending technique a breakthrough.

Thanks to clever use of gravity, the energy yield from the so-called Piezomethod, which converts mechanical pressure into electrical energy, is increased from 20 to 80 percent,” said Theo de Vries, system architect and senior lecturer of the group Robotics and Mechatronics, associated with the University of Twente. “Ruijssenaars literally turned the method on its head, as a result of which we, as scientists, have started to look at this method in a new light. Everything that is currently offered as mechanical energy will actually be useful, thanks to the invention.

In situations where we cannot work sustainably with solar modules, we may well be able to use this new technique,” said Professor Beatriz Noheda, faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen who believes piezoelectric energy harvesting is a real part of the future.

Practical applications are being sought for the technique, such as the manufacture of a sustainable and, therefore, “cleanphone charger, or a generator for lighting in homes, among endless other possibilities.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/
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http://www.uco.es/