Improving technology of Li-Ion Cells for Rechargeable batteries

 

by Sloan Cinelli

The lithium-ion battery is the power source for most modern electric vehicles. Each battery is made up of many smaller units, called cells. The electrical current reaches these cells via conductive surfaces, including aluminum and copper. There is a positive electrode, the cathode, and a negative electrode, the anode. The battery is filled with a transport medium, the electrolyte, so the lithium ions carrying the battery’s charge can flow freely from one electrode to the other. This electrolyte solution needs to be extremely pure in order to ensure efficient charging and discharging.

Virtually every lithium ion cell produced today uses ethylene carbonate (EC), and most battery scientists believe it is essential. Petibon et al. (2016) tested electrolyte systems other than this within Li-Ion battery cells. Surprisingly, totally removing all ethylene carbonate from typical organic carbonate-based electrolytes and adding small amounts of electrolyte additives creates cells that are better than those containing ethylene carbonate. Petibon et al. (2016) used different surface coatings, electrolyte additives, and new solvent systems, and the impact was substantial. Continue reading

Call for a Holistic Understanding of Energy Consumption in Urban Cities

by Alejandra Chávez

The article begins by explaining that 80 percent of the world’s total energy production is consumed by urban areas, which are expanding and becoming increasingly complex. The largest energy-consuming areas are residential and commercial buildings, which are plentiful in urban areas and account for about one-third of the world’s total energy consumption. Although energy efficiency initiatives and renewable energy investments are often common in residential and urban buildings —mainly for economic reasons— the authors stress that a “holistic” understanding of all the factors that influence consumption rates must be developed. Continue reading

Bangladesh to Expand Coal Capabilities to Meet Growing Energy Needs

by Aurora Brachman

Bangladesh has plans to dramatically expand its energy production through coal in the next few years with the assistance of China, Japan, and India. But has not indicated any plans to expand renewable energy development. Other Asian nations have been setting their sights on renewable forms of energy because of an increasingly worsening pollution crisis in the region. The government hopes to expand its use of coal from 2% to 50% of Bangladesh’s electricity supply by 2022. There have been vehement protests about this expansion, particularly against a specific plant currently under construction; several people have lost their lives amidst the protests. Continue reading

Municipal Solid Waste: To the Landfill or the Incinerator?

by Nadja Redmond

A global phenomenon is slowly beginning to pick up traction and conversation in the United States: energy recovery through use of waste to energy facilities. WtE, the waste management process that involves generating electricity and/or heat from waste through combustion, is already widely used in Europe. By 2014, Europe had 452 such facilities [http://www.cewep.eu/information/data/studies/m_1488], and compared to the United States’ 71, it is no secret there is an ongoing debate on whether WtE facilities are effective or hazardous for the environment and for the communities they inhabit. When the country produces over 250 million tons of municipal solid waste a year [https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=25732], alternative routes of waste management and energy recovery that utilizes that waste that have proved effective overseas are worth considering. Continue reading

Offshore Wind Farm Industry Takes Off in the United States

by Genevieve Kules

The offshore wind farm industry appears to be growing despite the current political disinclination towards environmentally friendly energy initiatives. In 2016 Deepwater Wind created the US’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island’s Block Island consisting of five turbines. In January of 2017 Deepwater Wind submitted permits for approval of fifteen turbines off the coast of Long Island, NY. This could only be the start for the construction of over 200 turbines nearby.

Offshore wind farms are far more prominent in Europe, and China has a wind farm with enough turbines to power a small country, but lack of buyers has left many of those turbines unused. Continue reading

Offshore Wind Farm Industry Takes Off in the United States

by Genevieve Kules

The offshore wind farm industry appears to be growing despite the current political disinclination towards environmentally friendly energy initiatives. In 2016 Deepwater Wind created the US’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island’s Block Island consisting of five turbines. In January of 2017 Deepwater Wind submitted permits for approval of fifteen turbines off the coast of Long Island, NY. This could only be the start for the construction of over 200 turbines nearby.

Offshore wind farms are far more prominent in Europe, and China has a wind farm with enough turbines to power a small country, but lack of buyers has left many of those turbines unused.

Now, in the United States, offshore wind farms could be a promising energy resource. Many large oil corporations have invested in wind energy and Google says their data centers and offices will be completely run on renewable energy in 2017. Continue reading

Big Goals for Small Islands: Hawaiian Legislation Promotes Renewable Energy in Transportation

by Siena Hacker

For such a small chain of islands, the state of Hawaii has the biggest renewable energy target in the United States. Hawaii introduced legislation that would fine utilities that are not completely powered by renewable energy by 2045. Now, as reported in a January 2017 New York Times piece by the Associated Press, the state is going a step farther by introducing legislation promoting a complete reliance on renewables for the transportation sector. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/01/19/us/ap-us-renewable-energy-transportation.html] With Hawaiians already owning an estimated one million cars – not to mention all of the cars for sale in dealerships – it would be imprudent for the state to mandate a shift to renewable fuels for the transportation sector. Hawaii is instead attempting to encourage the transition by increasing the number of required charging stations. The reasoning holds that as electric cars become cheaper and the infrastructure supporting them increases, investing in an electric car will become the practical choice. Continue reading

Nanowires are Hot

by Griffin Merians

A study conducted in Taiwan and published in Nanoscale Research Letters, found that the use of silicon nanowires can be used to improve solar thermal energy efficiency. Solar energy is the most abundant source of renewable energy on our planet, and using thermal energy to capture this energy could play a key role in increasing our use of this form of alternative energy. Solar thermal energy is comparatively inexpensive, easy to implement, and efficient compared to many other forms of energy, and using silicon nanowires could be the latest breakthrough in improving this efficiency. Silicon and silicon nanowires are used extensively in photovoltaic electrical energy generation, but have not traditionally been used extensively in thermal energy collection. However, new research into the thermal properties of silicon nanowires has found they are significantly more efficient in thermal conversion than traditional silicon plates. Continue reading

Energy Storage Breakthrough Aims at $54 per kWh

by Dion Boyd

An interesting article on the Clean Technica website, posted by Tina Casey on February 26th, discusses the development of the next generation’s low cost high capacity battery. A company called BioSolar is set to surpass the previous goal of $100 per kwh, set by researchers a few years prior, by achieving $54 per kwh. The company recently completed an international patent application by filling out applications for what they call a “multicomponent-approach to enhance stability and capacitance in polymer-hybrid supercapacitors.” [http://cleantechnica.com/2016/02/26/new-energy-storage-solution-could-hit-magic-54-mark/] Continue reading

Growing Energy: an Analysis of the Role Forests Play in Europe’s Renewable Energy

by Griffin Merians

Picture yourself walking through a forest, surrounded by green foliage, the gentle creak of swaying trees, and… energy? Forest and biomass energy are key sources of renewable energy, however, according to an article published in the journal, BioResources, not all nations are equally blessed in this regard. The study used a cluster analysis approach to divide 27 countries into 9 “clusters” based on factors such as forest cover, annual wood production, the amount of energy consumed, greenhouse gas emissions, energy dependence, and expenditure on research and development. Continue reading