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BAE Systems is developing structural batteries for both military and consumer applications. This is accomplished by merging battery chemistry into composite materials that can be molded into complex 3D shapes that form the structure of a device. For example, for the military, BAE is developing structural batteries as components of the electronic gear in soldiers’ rucksacks, which can currently weigh up to 76 kilograms (167 lbs). This approach would eliminate the need for traditional batteries, which add to the weight in the bag. The company is looking into integration of lithium-ion and lithium-polymer chemistry for use in consumer electronics, as well demonstrating the ability to store useful energy in composites such as carbon fiber and glass-reinforced plastic.
Rod Lanthorne covered a lot of ground during a recent interview at Kyocera International’s headquarters in San Diego. And he didn’t leave the lobby. Lanthorne, head of the North American arm of Japan’s Kyocera Corp., showed off displays highlighting a number of Kyocera products, from cellphones to solar panels to ceramic semiconductor parts to thermal print heads for copiers. “We have a broad-based technology business portfolio primarily because (founder Kazuo Inamori) was trying to protect the enterprise and the employees” through diversification, Lanthorne said. “That runs counter to what Wall Street wants.”
“Team Alfred,” which will include students from Alfred University, Alfred State College and Guilin University of Technology (China), has officially entered the Solar Decathlon China 2013. Organized by Peking University, the Solar Decathlon China 2013 is “an internationally award-winning program, challenging collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered energy efficient houses.”
Students on all three campuses are being invited to sign up to be part of Team Alfred, which will start work this semester on designing the solar houses. Two will be built; one in Alfred, NY, and one at Guilin University. “This is just an incredible opportunity for our students as we begin our new program in renewable energy engineering,” said Doreen Edwards, dean of the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering at AU.
A technique for creating a new molecule that structurally and chemically replicates the active part of the widely used industrial catalyst molybdenite has been developed by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. This technique holds promise for the creation of catalytic materials that can serve as effective low-cost alternatives to platinum for generating hydrogen gas from water that is acidic. The research team synthesized a molecule to mimic the triangle-shaped molybdenum disulfide units along the edges of molybdenite crystals, which is where almost all of the catalytic activity takes place. Since the bulk of molybdenite crystalline material is relatively inert from a catalytic standpoint, molecular analogs of the catalytically active edge sites could be used to make new materials that are much more efficient and cost-effective catalysts.
The brainchild of a team of international designers under the umbrella of XD Design, the Window solar charger has an ABS plastic case with a PV panel surrounded by silicone pads capable of temporarily sticking to the glass of a window. On the base of the device are a full-size USB port and a mini-USB port for connecting portable devices in need of a clean energy battery boost. The charger itself contains a 1300 mAh Li-ion battery which is said to take around 13 hours of direct sunlight to reach full charge.