When it comes to growing crops, it’s a balancing act. You need just the right amount of sun, water, and soil composition to keep plants happy and blooming.

Researchers have recently discovered that light sensors might be able to help with that. According to New Food, the sensors work by actively measuring the various wavelengths of light coming off of crop leaves. These measurements are then used to calculate how much nitrogen crops need for optimal health. (more…)

Let’s face it. Anyone can benefit from a boost in their cell phone’s battery life, with the use of social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the daily connectedness of email, texting, FaceTime, and selfies, it’s a surprise if our cell phone batteries last a day—which most often they don’t. Cut to, Apple’s newly released smart battery case that extends the life of their latest iPhones: the XS and XR. (more…)

Magnesium Batteries: New Discovery

University of Houston researchers Yan Yao, left, Hui Dong and Yanliang Leonard Liang. Photo Credit: University of Houston

A new version of high-energy magnesium batteries has been discovered by researchers from the University of Houston and the Toyota Research Institute of America, according to Phys.org. The battery operates with limited electrolytes while using an organic electrode, allowing it to store and discharge much more energy than earlier magnesium batteries.

Yan Yao, an ECS member, UH Student Chapter faculty advisor, and an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UH, said the researchers identified chloride—in the commonly used electrolyte—as a contributor to magnesium batteries’ sluggish performance.

Yao, a principal investigator with the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, used the chloride-free electrolyte to test organic quinone polymer cathodes with a magnesium metal anode; the battery remaining stable through 2,500 cycles.

Magnesium batteries are particularly exciting as magnesium itself offers far more natural advantages over lithium. (more…)

Marshall Medoff shares his work with Lesley Stahl. Photo Credit: 60 Minutes

Marshall Medoff will make you think twice about what is possible. The 81-year-old took an interest in the environment 25 years ago and decided he was going to take it upon himself to stop global warming. With no science background or financial support, Medoff took it upon himself to “save the world.” For more than a decade, he worked alone out of a garage at a storage facility, educating himself and working towards his goal; his solution, transform inedible plant life into environmentally friendly transportation fuels in a clean, cost-effective alternative.

“Cellulose is everywhere. I mean, there’s just so much cellulose in the world and nobody had managed to use any of it,” explained Medoff, as he chatted with correspondent Lesley Stahl on 60 minutes. “I said, ‘Wow, if I can break through this, we can increase the resources of the world maybe by a third or more.’ Who knows?” (more…)

Holiday Warning: Deadly Batteries

With the holidays fast approaching, you may find yourself purchasing toys and gifts for some little ones. As you do, it’s important to keep some safety tips in mind. The National Capital Poison Center recently reported an increasing number of fatal button batteries ingestions over the years.

These coin-sized batteries have the potential to cause severe esophageal or airway burns when stuck in the esophagus, even after no initial signs of irritation directly after ingestion. Batteries stuck, including in the nose and ears, for over 2 hours can cause burns and serious complications.

Most commonly nickel-sized button batteries are the most hazardous as their size can allow them to become lodged in the throat and burn faster as a result.

However, there are measures that gift-givers and parents can take.

(more…)

Honda’s Battery Breakthrough

The search for the next level, new, and improved electric vehicle battery is an ongoing one. And it’s one Honda may have found. According to The Drive, the Japanese automaker claims to have developed a new battery chemistry called fluoride-ion that could outperform current lithium-ion batteries.

Honda says fluoride-ion batteries offer 10 times greater energy density, meaning more storage and range for electric vehicles, thanks to the low atomic weight of fluorine that makes fluoride-ion batteries’ increased performance possible. (more…)

Bentley Gives EVs the Red Light

High-end, high-class, and high-cost are all words synonymous with the word Bentley. The luxury car CEO Adrian Hallmark says he plans to keep it that way, and for that reason, he’s giving the inclusion of electric vehicles to the Bentley family the red light—for now.

Hallmark says battery technology has not evolved to the point where it would be possible to develop an ultraluxury electric vehicles, according to Tires and Parts. (more…)

30 Under 30 in Energy

Perk up people, this is the Forbes list 30 under 30 in energy edition. According to Forbes, each year their reporters spend months combing through possible contestants. Questionnaires, online digging, contact recommendations, and a panel of expert judges all help sift through to the top remaining candidates.

This year, Forbes focused on the movers and shakers of the battery field. With a worldwide $200 billion a year investment in wind and solar power generation projects, the revolution in renewables, and the transition to low-carbon energy sources is undeniable. And for that reason, we highlight three—just the tip of the iceburg—from the top thirty list.

Meghana Bollimpalli

Meghana Bollimpalli/Credit: Forbes

I don’t know what you were doing when you were 17, but Meghana Bollimpalli, a student at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas was inspired by a seminar on energy storage. Bollimpalli began working towards figuring out a way to make supercapacitors from cheaper materials. She discovered a mixture of tea powder, molasses, and tannin, with a pinch of phosphorous and nitrogen, could achieve the same performance as a platinum-based electrode, for just $1 each, taking home the 2018 Intel Foundation Young Scientist award. Not bad for a high school student. (more…)

Haodong Liu, recipient of the Battery Division Postdoctoral Associate Research Award Sponsored by MTI Corporation and the Jiang Family Foundation

Haodong Liu, a postdoc research fellow at UC San Diego, is the award winner of the Battery Division Postdoctoral Associate Research Award Sponsored by MTI Corporation and the Jiang Family Foundation for his work on “Stable Li Metal Anode through Designed Solution Chemistry and Electrode Architecture.” Liu was presented with the award at AiMES 2018 in Cancun, Mexico.

Liu says being recognized for his work has been an exciting experience, bringing recognition to his name and research within the battery field. However, it has also meant something more to him in particular.

“Since my citizenship is in China, and a lot of the scholarships here are only for the US citizens, this is a good chance for international postdocs to get awards and be recognized,” explains Liu. “ECS only cares about the quality of the work you’re doing instead of what’s your citizenship status. That’s why I really appreciate ECS.” (more…)

The Current State of Battery Research

By: Marca Doeff, ECS Battery Division Chair

Marca Doeff, a staff scientist in the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and chair of the ECS Battery Division, discusses the future of batteries. Doeff covers advancements and developments, notable contributors and leaders, corporate sponsors and supporters, upcoming meetings and awards, all within the battery field.

What are a few current areas of battery research the division is focusing on?
Anything having to do with lithium-ion batteries, since they are turning out to be the real workhorses of the battery world. While the chemistry is fairly mature at this point, there is still a lot of work going on in silicon anodes, trying to find better cathode materials, and improving electrolytes.

(more…)

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