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Alternative Energy / Fuel Cells

  • We Are On The Verge Of An Electric Car Battery Breakthrough

    Electric vehicles are cool. They’re inexpensive to operate, can make our air cleaner, and help reduce the amount of climate change-causing gases released into the atmosphere. But right now, they’re also mostly just for rich people. The initial cost of buying the car, combined with their limited availability, is just too much for most people to justify making the switch.That could soon change, though, because investment pundits think that Tesla Motors is on the verge of achieving something big: A battery cheap enough to make electric vehicles cost-competitive with conventional cars. Daniel Sparks at Motley Fool is reporting that the…

  • PLUG: Harness The Power Of A Steady Short Squeeze

    Five weeks ago, fuel cell stocks, and Plug Power (PLUG) in particular were all the rage. At the end of February, Plug announced a huge contract with Wal-Mart for 1,738 of their GenDrive fuel cell units, to be deployed over the next two years. More importantly in the eyes of many, the deal also included a six year service contract.For a company that had been struggling to gain mainstream acceptance for a disruptive technology, the blessing of the mighty Wal-Mart was a godsend and the stock reacted accordingly. PLUG closed on February 25th, the day before the announcement, at $3.90…

  • Did Nature’s Fuel Cells Spark Life on Earth

    Researchers have developed a new way to simulate the energetic processes that may have led to the emergence of cell metabolism on Earth—a crucial biological function for all living organisms.The research, which is published online today in the journal Astrobiology, could help scientists to understand whether it is possible for life to have emerged in similar environments on other worlds.“What we are trying to do is to bridge the gap between the geological processes of the early Earth and the emergence of biological life on this planet,” says study co-author Terry Kee from the School of Chemistry at the University…

  • A New Affordable Fuel Cell Design

    The United Kingdom’s Birmingham City University in a partnership with UK motorsport entrepreneur and manufacturer Spencer Ashley and the DYPDC center for automotive research in Pune is set to showcase the concept and design behind what could prove to be the world’s first affordable hydrogen fuel-cell powered mass transport vehicle.The University’s technology leading project will be out for public view in India later this week at the Auto Expo Motor Show.  It’s time for some progress as the hydrogen fuel cell sector has been very quiet of late.Birmingham City University Vehicle Concept. Image Credit Birmingham City UniversityThe Walsall-based manufacturer Spencer…

  • The Cube – New Breakthrough Set to Alter the Energy Landscape Forever

    Redox Power Systems has signed a partnership deal with researchers at the University of Maryland in order to develop and bring to commercial market a new distributed electricity generation technology that could change the relationship that many consumers have with the energy market and national grid.Based on the research of Eric Wachsman, the director of the University of Maryland’s Energy Research Centre, by 2014 Redox will introduce a new fuel cell that is one-tenth the size, and one-tenth the cost of all other fuel cells available on the market.The new solid oxide fuel cell will provide safe, efficient, reliable power,…

  • Replacing Platinum to Build Cheaper Fuel Cells

    A new type of polymer membrane could replace expensive platinum in alkaline batteries and fuel cells.“We have tried to break this paradigm of tradeoffs in materials (by improving) both the stability and the conductivity of this membrane at the same time, and that is what we were able to do with this unique polymeric materials design,” says Michael Hickner, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Penn State.In solid-state alkaline fuel cells, anion exchange membranes conduct negative charges between the device’s cathode and anode—the negative and positive connections of the cell—to create useable electric power. Above: Research associates Yongjun Leng,…

  • The Grid Gets a Very Big Lithium Ion Battery

    A very large new Lithium-ion battery was unveiled Saturday in Oregon to help make the Northwest’s and the nation’s electric system more efficient, officials said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.PGEs 5 MW Lithium Ion Battery Array. Image Credit PNNL.Portland General Electric’s 5-megawatt, lithium-ion energy storage system was open to the public at the utility’s Salem Smart Power Center in South Salem, Ore. The energy storage facility is part of PGE’s contribution to the Battelle-led Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. Half of PGE’s $23-million portion of the regional project was paid for with U.S. Department of Energy funds. The regional demonstration…

  • A Follow up on the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Breakthrough

    As a matter of clarification, the technology under discussion generates hydrogen from water. It is not a fuel cell. For this reason, the title “Hydrogen Production Breakthrough” better reflects the technology. The original title “Hydrogen Fuel Cell Breakthrough,” was in error and not intended to mislead or misrepresent the technology.The hydrogen gas produced from this process functions as a fuel in a combustion process to give off heat or as an energy carrier when injected into a fuel cell to generate electricity. As used by Dr. Phillips in many of his papers, the word “cell” refers to a reaction vessel…

  • Breakthrough Microbattery Charges 1,000 Times Faster than Competing Technology

    Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UI) have announced their new Microbatteries that out-power even the best supercapacitors and could drive new applications in radio communications and compact electronics.The graphic illustrates a high power battery technology from the University of Illinois. Ions flow between three-dimensional micro-electrodes in a lithium ion battery. Image Credit: Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois.The press release suggests the new microbattery is the most powerful battery on the planet.  They are only a few millimeters in size and yet they pack such a punch that a driver could…

  • How Long Should a Lithium Ion Battery Survive in an EV?

    Mikael G. Cugnet, Ph.D. spoke on the question that worries millions of owners and potential owners of electric and hybrid vehicles (EVs) using lithium-ion batteries: How long before the battery pack dies?A view to the answer was presented at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), may surprise skeptics.  One hopes so, a dead battery pack would present a super sticker-shock bill for a fresh pack or force a car to be ready for the junk heap.  It’s a serious matter.An EnerDel battery Pack as Used in the Chevy Volt.Cugnet said, “The battery pack could…