Archive for the ‘battery’ Category

South Australia is fueling energy storage investment

November 27th, 2018
Man assembling Sonnen batteries

Enlarge / An employee working for the manufacturer of solar batteries, Sonnen GmbH, in the Bavarian village of Wildpoldsried in southern Germany is pictured on July 5, 2016. (credit: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

In September, South Australia confirmed a plan to set up an AU$100 million (USD $72 million) fund to help households purchase home energy storage batteries. Households could receive subsidies of up to AU$6,000 (USD $4,300) on a purchase of a battery that would store electricity either from a solar-panel system or from the South Australian grid. The electricity could then be used during an emergency or a blackout.

After a year as the home of the world's largest grid-tied battery (built by Tesla), South Australia is becoming a hub for battery investment.

Other, non-Tesla battery makers are taking note. This week, German battery maker Sonnen started producing batteries at an old GM Holden factory in Elizabeth, South Australia. Sonnen has long experience in the home energy storage market, deploying batteries for German households before Tesla announced its Powerwall. Now, it intends to use its Elizabeth factory to produce batteries not only for South Australians who hope to take advantage of the government's new subsidies but also to ship home storage batteries to other places in the Asia market, according to PV Magazine.

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Posted in battery, Biz & IT, Energy, home battery, science, Sonnen, South Australia, Tesla | Comments (0)

Battery idea: Hydroelectric pumped storage, but with bricks

November 18th, 2018

A company called Energy Vault has proposed a new utility-scale battery that is both old and new at the same time. The "battery" is mechanical, rather than chemical, and stores energy much like pumped hydro does, but it does it with bricks.

If you're not familiar with pumped hydro, it works like this. The system pumps water from a lower elevation to a higher elevation when electricity is plentiful and cheap. When electricity becomes more expensive, operators release that water through a hydroelectric turbine to give the grid some extra juice. Similarly, Energy Vault wants to build a system of six cranes, which will electrically stack heavy bricks into a tower when electricity is cheap and plentiful. When electricity becomes more scarce and expensive, the cranes will release each brick and harvest the energy from their fall.

This system solves an important problem inherit to pumped hydro: it requires a pretty specific kind of topography and often causes environmental concerns.

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Posted in battery, bricks, Energy, pumped storage, science | Comments (0)

Tesla battery will power unusual community storage project in Western Australia

November 7th, 2018

A community storage pilot project using Tesla batteries went live this week in Western Australia, three months ahead of schedule. The 105KW/420KWh pooled storage will act as a sort of locker for excess power produced by homes with solar panels.

The project is an unusual one because it pools battery capacity for homes with solar panels. It was funded by energy company Synergy and government-owned Western Power, which sought 52 customers with solar panels on their homes as participants. The 52 shares of the project were snapped up in two weeks, far more quickly than expected, which accelerated the project's timeline.

Participants will each be allotted 8kWh of storage, which they will "fill" with excess power created by their rooftop solar panels during the day. (This is in theory, of course. Solar-generated electricity can flow back onto the grid, but there's no guarantee that the battery will be charged with solar-generated electrons.) In the evening, customers will "be able to draw electricity back from the PowerBank during peak time without having to outlay upfront costs for a behind-the-meter battery storage system," says a press release from the government of Western Australia.

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Posted in battery, Biz & IT, cars, Storage, Tesla | Comments (0)

If weight isn’t an issue, nickel-hydrogen battery chemistry looks promising

October 31st, 2018
Cylinder containing nickel and hydrogen

A prototype Nickel-Hydrogen battery testing cell. (credit: Wei Chen, Yang Jin, Jie Zhao, Nian Liu, and Yi Cui )

Battery technology is extremely important for a world that uses more and more renewable energy. Renewable energy is variable—no electricity can be produced while the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing—so being able to store excess electricity that's made when those renewable sources are producing is key to putting more of it on the grid.

The problem is that very large batteries can be expensive. A lot of research has been devoted to making batteries lighter and smaller, given how focused we've been over the last several decades on consumer technology. But now researchers are relaxing size and weight constraints and trying to find battery chemistries that are cheap and are extremely long-lasting instead.

Researchers from Stanford and the Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) are suggesting a new configuration of a nickel-hydrogen battery that could be cheap enough for mass-adoption on the grid. Traditional nickel-hydrogen batteries can last for up to 30,000 cycles and are extremely reliable and durable, which makes them great for grid use. But they often rely on a platinum catalyst that can make them prohibitively expensive for large installations.

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Posted in battery, Energy, grid, grid storage, nickel-hydrogen, science | Comments (0)

Orkney Islands routes are front-runners for first commercial electric flights

October 18th, 2018
Eight-seater two-engine propellor plane on a runway.

Enlarge / A Britten Norman Islander plane, similar to the kind used in the Orkney Islands to shuttle people short distances. (credit: Britten Norman)

Up in the remote northeast of Scotland, residents of the Orkney Islands use small island-hopping aircraft to commute around the archipelago. The longest flight in the area is 15 minutes, traveling 33 miles from the city of Kirkwall to the island of North Ronaldsay. The shortest flight takes an average of 80 seconds to travel 1.7 miles between the islands of Westray and Papa Westray. That flight holds the Guinness World Record as the shortest commercial flight route in the world.

Now, Scottish airline Loganair and aircraft modifier Cranfield Aerospace Solutions are working together in the hopes of turning the Orkney Islands' 10 inter-island routes all-electric, perhaps even establishing the world's first all-electric commercial flight routes.

Electric planes are still something of a pipe-dream for environmentalists and technologists. Jet fuel is extremely energy-dense compared to batteries, and flight requires a lot of energy at little additional weight. Electric flight startups are either developing hybrid battery/jet-fuel planes or banking on the continuous improvement of batteries to make their visions viable years down the road. While the most optimistic see the advent of lithium-air batteries and engine efficiency improvement as a path to commercial electric flight, others have focused on decarbonizing jet-fuel synthesis.

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Posted in battery, cars, electric, electric plane, Energy, jet fuel, Policy | Comments (0)

Reuters: Tesla looking to start testing autonomous semi in “platoon” formation

August 9th, 2017

Enlarge (credit: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in April that the company is working on pushing a long-haul electric semi truck to market, which is set to be formally revealed in September. Now, Reuters has viewed e-mail correspondence between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles that indicate that the company has discussed testing semi trucks on the state’s roads.

The Reuters report also mentioned that the semis would be outfitted with autonomous functions, so they could traverse the nation’s highways without a driver in the front seat. The e-mails seemed to indicate that Tesla’s semis would “platoon,” that is, drive in a formation such that a number of trucks could follow a lead vehicle. It’s unclear whether the lead vehicle would have a driver, or operate autonomously with a person in the front seat to monitor safety.

The idea of “platooning” autonomous semis is an old one. More than a year ago, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment held an autonomous truck platooning demo that involved automakers such as DAF Trucks, Daimler, IVECO, MAN, Scania, and Volvo. The advantages of platooning is that it’s theoretically safer—if the lead truck slows down, the rest automatically follow. It also offers most of the trucks decreased wind resistance, which could help increase an EV semi’s range—a major concern given the weight freight companies load semis with. Of course, there are social ramifications too. Platooning reduces the number of drivers that a shipping company would have to employ.

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Posted in autonomy, battery, Biz & IT, cars, electric, semi, Tesla | Comments (0)

News in brief: 1984 tops bestseller charts; Alexa pleases Trekkies; HP extends battery recall

January 25th, 2017

Your daily round-up of some of the other stories in the news

Posted in alexa, amazon, battery, Donald Trump, echo, echo dot, George Orwell, Law & order, news in brief, Star Trek, White House | Comments (0)

News in brief: smart toys ‘threaten kids’ security’; Samsung battery teardown; HP turns off Telnet

December 6th, 2016

Your daily round-up of what else is in the news

Posted in battery, Hello Barbie, HP printers, news in brief, Samsung, Security threats, Vulnerability | Comments (0)

BMW boosts i3 battery capacity by 50 percent—and it’s retrofitable

May 2nd, 2016

(credit: BMW)

When we reviewed the BMW i3 back in 2014, the little rear-wheel drive city car left us quite impressed. However, the i3 has always had a couple of flaws in comparison with other electric vehicles out there; it costs too much and the range isn’t very good, even if you go for the optional two-cylinder range-extending engine. It appears BMW has decided to address the latter issue, because from this summer the i3 will now come with a 33kWh battery in place of the current 22kWh unit.

Battery technology—and the amount of kilowatt-hours a dollar buys—keeps getting better each year. Certainly it improves measurably over the lifespan of a car, and the fact that BMW has seen this and bumped the battery spec for the i3 is a promising sign for the industry. That probably sounds like we’re damning with faint praise, but technology now moves too rapidly for OEMs to stick their old cycles of refreshing cars every four years. If BMW wants to sell any i3s once the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 start shipping, a range boost is the bare minimum it needs to do.

The new battery is 50 percent bigger, so more than 100 miles (160km) should be possible on a full charge. The gas tank for the range extender engine will also grow by 25 percent; expect to stop for gas every 75 miles if you try road-tripping. These range tweaks should help boost the i3’s appeal, but before long the Bolt and Model 3 are going to make people expect 200+ miles from their EV as a bare minimum.

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Posted in battery, BMW, BMW i3, Cars Technica, electric vehicle, EV | Comments (0)

Why Hoverboards Are Catching Fire and How To Avoid It?

December 20th, 2015

By Uzair Amir

For over a week, we all have been watching news

This is a post from HackRead.com Read the original post: Why Hoverboards Are Catching Fire and How To Avoid It?

Posted in battery, gadgets, Hoverboards, Laptops, smartphones, Technology News | Comments (0)