Tag: battery

An electric cargo ship is delivering coal in China

An all-electric cargo ship is now in use in China and it boasts an impressive 2.4 MWh energy storage capacity, Electrek reports. The ship is over 230 feet long, 45 feet wide and 14 feet deep and can carry a maximum of 2,000 tons. Supercapacitors and lithium batteries make up the energy storage system and the ship can go about 50 miles on one charge. It will run between two shipyards, each of which has a charging station that can recharge the ship in around two hours.

Moving towards electric power will be important for the shipping industry and this vessel is a step in that direction. Its payload however, is, wait for it, coal. And that may seem like an odd pairing but at least the ship isn't burning fossil fuels while it's carrying them. Tesla, Daimler, Cummins and Toyota are all working on shipping trucks that use alternative fuels and pushing our cargo ships in that direction will do a lot for the environment.

The ship, which took its maiden voyage last month, will transport coal along the Pearl River in China's Guangdong Province.

Via: Electrek


An electric cargo ship is delivering coal in China

An all-electric cargo ship is now in use in China and it boasts an impressive 2.4 MWh energy storage capacity, Electrek reports. The ship is over 230 feet long, 45 feet wide and 14 feet deep and can carry a maximum of 2,000 tons. Supercapacitors and lithium batteries make up the energy storage system and the ship can go about 50 miles on one charge. It will run between two shipyards, each of which has a charging station that can recharge the ship in around two hours.

Moving towards electric power will be important for the shipping industry and this vessel is a step in that direction. Its payload however, is, wait for it, coal. And that may seem like an odd pairing but at least the ship isn't burning fossil fuels while it's carrying them. Tesla, Daimler, Cummins and Toyota are all working on shipping trucks that use alternative fuels and pushing our cargo ships in that direction will do a lot for the environment.

The ship, which took its maiden voyage last month, will transport coal along the Pearl River in China's Guangdong Province.

Via: Electrek


Magnesium batteries could be safer and more efficient than lithium

It's still early days for the promise of safer, energy-dense solid-state rechargeable batteries. However, a team of scientists at the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research have just discovered a fast magnesium-ion solid-state conductor that will go a long way towards making non-flammable batteries with more capacity.

In current commercial batteries, a liquid electrolyte transports the charge back and forth between cathode and anode. This is part of what can make them explode, according to the post from Berkeley Lab, where the discovery was made. The team was working on a magnesium battery, which can hold more charge than lithium-ion batteries, but they weren't able to find a workable liquid electrolyte. "Magnesium is such a new technology, it doesn't have any good liquid electrolytes," said the lab's senior scientist Gerbrand Ceder. "We thought, why not leapfrog and make a solid-state electrolyte?"

The researchers settled on magnesium scandium selenide spinel, which has an ion mobility comparable to electrolytes found in lithium ion batteries. The team included scientists from MIT and Argonne, who provided computing resources and experimental confirmation of the new solid electrolyte's mobility, respectively.

Via: Berkeley Lab

Source: Nature


Tesla’s giant battery farm is now live in South Australia

With a little lot of help from Tesla, Australia is now home to the world's largest lithium-ion battery. Back in March, Elon Musk promised Atlassian CEO and billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes that he could create a 100MWh battery storage farm within 100 days -- otherwise, his company would do the job for free. The Twitter pledge was in response to ongoing power shortages in South Australia, which were causing blackouts and political uncertainty about the country's push toward renewable energy sources. The batteries were delivered in the summer -- well ahead of the deadline -- and installed last week. Today, the site is operational for the first time.

Tesla's Powerpacks are connected to a wind farm in Hornsdale, owned by French renewable energy company Neoen. Jaw Weatherill, a politician and current Premier of South Australia, says it's the first time the state has been able to reliably dispatch wind energy to the grid 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It was possible, of course, to capture this energy resource before -- the problem has been controlling when, and how much of the resulting electricity is fed back into the grid. With a 100MWV battery farm, the state can now power more than 30,000 homes, regardless of the weather.

"The completion of the world's largest lithium-ion battery in record time shows that a sustainable, effective energy solution is possible," a Tesla spokesperson said. "We are proud to be part of South Australia's renewable energy future, and hope this project provides a model for future deployments around the world." Tesla has built similar battery farms before -- a year ago, the company completed a 20 MW system in Ontario, California that can store up to 80 MWh of electricity. It took just 90 days for the company -- that hopes to commoditize electric cars, trucks and home energy storage -- to install the necessary 396 Powerpacks.

Via: The Verge

Source: Jay Weatherill


Biolite’s SolarHome 620 provides power for everyday essentials

BioLite has been leading a dual existence. While the Brooklyn-based company's been delivering off-the-grid accessories to your average camper, hiker and explorer, it's also been serving emerging markets where power may be scarce and clean cooking tools are life-saving essentials. Now, for the first time, the company is releasing a product for both markets in one go following on-the-ground research in India and Sub-Saharan Africa. The BioLite SolarHome 620 provides power for lights, device charging, radio and music by harnessing the sun's rays. For some regions, this may be a game changer, but it's not without its uses in developed areas, either as an energy-saving alternative or a backup plan in case of power failures. The $150 product is being released today in limited quantities for the holidays, with a proper rollout planned for Spring/Summer 2018.

The overall package is unassuming and relatively bare-bones compared to some of the other products BioLite has been putting out. It's meant to be an affordable, utilitarian product for people in all walks of life. The SolarHome system includes a 6W solar panel, a central control box and three hangable LED lights, each with an on/off switch -- and one of them includes motion sensing. Everything's tailored for semi-permanent installation, but at under five pounds for the whole package, it's not particularly difficult to take on the go.

The control box has a 6V, 3,300mAh battery that's powered by the solar panel. There's also an onboard light (making four total), an FM radio, a microSD slot to allow you to play your own tunes and a decently loud but otherwise unnoteworthy speaker. The small LCD display provides you with time, date, battery status, current sun-strength, search/pause/play and volume buttons.

There's a relatively tiny shelf at the bottom, ostensibly to store a device while you make use of either of the two USB charging ports. However, it won't securely fit a phone taller than five inches, which hangs over the edge drastically otherwise. But hey, not everyone has gone the oversized smartphone route. A third DIN port lets you boost your overall energy reserves with a compatible battery.

Whether you're using this in a van, at a campsite, on a back porch or to light a small multi-room home, you should have more than enough light cabling to cover some ground. Each of the three overhead lights have an approximately 20-foot-long wire with daisy-chain connections and a five-foot-long on/off switch offshoot about midway through that length. Since the control box only has two light outputs, you'll definitely need to link one of them if you want to have all three overhead lights active. The output is a standard white LED-type glow that's softened a bit by the semi-opaque shells.

My only chance to test the SolarHome's charging capabilities was to position the solar panel in an office window that gets about 3-4 hours of direct sun per day (weather permitting) and it took several (mostly overcast) days to get to about 30 percent charge. While I didn't have a chance to do a battery rundown test, the control box provides you with stats as to how long the battery will last based on your current power load. Based on all four lights in use and no other power-drains, the system's rated for anywhere from 4.5 up to 14 hours of illumination depending on which of the three brightness levels are in use.

Since it's not chargeable by any means beyond the solar panel or the DIN-based battery extension, the SolarHome 620 seems more applicable to long-term installation where you either get loads of sun, or use the lights and battery sparingly. The solar panel is weather proof so it's made to sit on a roof out in the elements. The lights themselves are splash proof and may survive in the rain, but they're not built for dunking. The control box is an indoor module, so you'd want to keep this dry at all times.

The reserved design and feature set on the SolarHome 620 belies its dual nature. It's a single device that's marketed universally, without adding bells and whistles. For those in remote areas, it's a supremely useful package. It could serve equally well in a toolshed or on a back porch anywhere in the world. Check out the BioLite website starting today for the limited pre-holiday launch of the SolarHome 620, priced at $150.


Future Android update will show how apps are draining your battery

Android Oreo, announced with great fanfare during the eclipse in August, has gotten some pretty neat features, like more recognizable emojis and notification dots for app icons. Now Android 8.1 will show you which apps are draining your battery in a new, more impactful way.

According to a report at Android Police, users of the 8.1 developer preview now see a banner at the top of the regular Battery screen that calls out any egregious examples of battery draining apps. In two examples cited by the site, 8.1 users saw a little red symbol next to Tile, which requests location data frequently, and Fenix, a Twitter client that can keep your phone awake.

The new feature is a nice step forward for managing your battery, and we're hoping it makes it into the final 8.1 release. It could be a good way to focus in on the apps that make the most demands on the already short-term battery life of most modern smartphones.

Via: 9to5Google

Source: Android Police


Tesla Powerpacks will supply Nantucket’s backup power

Tesla has been boosting power grids all over the world with its Powerpack battery systems and now its energy storage products are heading to Nantucket, Electrek reports. The island will host over 200 Powerpacks that will serve as backup power and grid stabilizers for Nantucket's 11,000 permanent residents and nearly 40,000 seasonal visitors.

Nantucket's power is supplied by two submarine cables that connect to Cape Cod, and two six-megawatt diesel generators supply backup power when the main electricity supply fails. Those generators need to be replaced in the near future and National Grid has been looking into battery systems as an alternative power support. It recently selected Tesla as its battery supplier and the company will build a 48 megawatt-hour energy storage system which will be supported by one generator. This set up not only provides necessary electricity backup, but will also stabilize the grid during times of high energy demand. An additional submarine cable will likely be needed in the future in order to support growing energy demands, but the battery system pushes that need off by another ten years at least, according to National Grid.

Tesla already has some experience when it comes to powering small islands. Its Powerpacks are already being used on the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i, the American Samoa island of Ta'u, a resort island in Fiji and North Carolina's Ocracoke Island. Other Powerpack users include Vermont, California, Australia and, recently, Puerto Rico as it recovers from massive hurricane damage.

Via: Reddit

Source: Electrek


Matrix PowerWatch hands-on: The promise of a world without chargers

When Matrix co-founder Douglas Tham handed me my review unit of the PowerWatch, I had to fight the instinct to ask for a charger. This thermal-powered wearable doesn't need one -- it gets energy by converting your body heat into electricity. It's been a year since I saw an early prototype of the PowerWatch -- a smart(ish) watch that tracks basic fitness metrics. Now, the self-proclaimed energy-harvesting company is finally ready to ship PowerWatches to the early adopters who backed its Indiegogo campaign. I spent some time with this first-generation watch in all its chunky, rugged glory and, while I still wish it were smaller and did more, I find its potential compelling.

There is no battery indicator on the PowerWatch (I mean, it doesn't really need one since it should never run out of juice). A so-called Power Meter around the watch face indicates how much energy I'm generating at any given time, filling up when I produce more. The numbers "00," "25," "50" and "75" sit at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock positions in the watch's bezel, but they don't actually mean anything, which is not only redundant but very confusing. According to Tham, that's just part of the design. Because its functions are pretty basic and its LCD screen is relatively low-powered, it doesn't take too much electricity to keep the watch running.

The bigger the temperature difference between your skin's surface and the surrounding air, the more energy the watch can produce. I noticed that the Power Meter showed two notches while I was sitting in my office, but it jumped up to about 10 units after my brisk walk home one cold evening. That increased output is due to the bigger temperature differential as well as the fact that I was moving about more, causing my body to generate more heat.

I removed the watch at 10PM, and it stayed on all the way till I picked it up again at noon the next day. Tham said the PowerWatch will keep running for up to 12 months if you don't wear it, and a PowerSave mode kicks in to conserve energy by killing non-timekeeping functions. This didn't happen when I took the watch off, though. But perhaps that's because the PowerWatch was still able to convert energy because there was a temperature difference between the surface I placed it on and the surrounding air, which Tham said can happen.

The PowerWatch can not only tell the time, set alarms and timers but also track your activity and sleep. For now, you have to press a button before you go to bed, but a software update will enable auto sleep-tracking. It also measures your calories burned differently than competing devices, which use your height, weight and daily activity to get a rough estimate. The PowerWatch uses the amount of energy you produce based on your body heat, along with your physical measurements to make a better-educated guess, making for a more accurate deduction because a calorie is defined as a unit of heat energy anyway.

The stopwatch is sort of strange. Two or three seconds after you start it, the watch just displays the word "Running" instead of the elapsed time. In fact, navigating the PowerWatch's rudimentary black-and-white OS isn't very intuitive. Because there isn't a touchscreen, you'll have to press the Mode button on the top right of the case to toggle through functions like Daily Activity, Running Mode, Stop Watch and Watch Settings. To go into any of these, you have to pause for about a second after landing on it. So to launch Running Mode, you have to press the Mode button twice, quickly enough that you don't accidentally enter Daily Activity, then hold still.

The silver version of the PowerWatch feels chunky on my relatively slender wrist. It's also the cheapest of the trio available, at $199. Tham's unit -- the $229 black model -- looks more elegant, thanks in part to the $20 22mm Milanese band he paired with it. Finally, the more-advanced PowerWatch X costs $279, displays incoming alerts from your phone and has a better water-resistance rating of 20 atmospheres (up to 200 meters) compared to the 5 atmospheres (50 meters) on the regular watches.

Ultimately, the PowerWatch is too basic and hefty for me to keep wearing it, especially when I need to fit into the tighter sleeves of my winter coat. But I'm still intrigued by the PowerWatch's ability to survive sans charger, and honestly, I hope Matrix can take this technology mainstream. I never want to charge a device ever again.


The Nokia 2 is a very cheap Android phone with a huge battery

HMD continues to slide in more Nokia phones where it sees an opportunity. This time around? A very cheap smartphone that doesn't look awful and has enough battery to go the distance. The Nokia 2, priced at 100 Euros (roughly $120) walks that fine line between dreary specifications and the fact that it's just really really cheap. Oh, and a giant 4,100mAh battery that puts it ahead of a lot of flagship smartphones.

Notably for this price, it's running Android Nougat with Google Assistant in tow. Processor-wise, there's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 processor to power a 5-inch 1280x720 LCD display. Camera-wise, there's an 8-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facing shooter. There's only 8GB of built-in storage, but there's the opportunity to expand that to 128GB with the microSD slot. The spec sheet reminds me of Samsung's Galaxy S2 -- secretly one of my most-liked phones ever. That, however, launched back in 2011.

Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer at HMD Global, says that "every component of the Nokia 2 -- from the display to battery, chipset to system design — has been engineered to draw as little power as possible from the huge battery." That's the main... draw here, alongside that cheerfully cheap price tag.

The renders suggest the phone is rather tasteful looking, but we'd reserve judgement there until we eye the thing in real life. It could be the true "festival phone", and it will reportedly go on sale next month in certain regions, with a launch in the UK, at least, penned for 2018.

Source: Nokia


Wireless charging will make drones always ready to fly

Drones are great until you realize running all those propellers, a camera, GPS and other assorted technology bits are a real drain on the battery. If you're just using one for images it's not too big of a deal. But if you're using one for surveying, security or delivering burritos, swapping out batteries all the time can be a huge pain and time suck. Fortunately, there's a new wireless charging landing pad on its way.

The WiBotic PowerPad is a three-foot by three-foot landing station that comes with an onboard charger that can be attached to pretty much any drone according to the company. The company says the weather-resistant platform can be mounted pretty much anywhere and can help alleviate the need to handle drones that run automated flights on a regular basis.

The PowerPad also can serve as a waypoint for long-distance flights. If a drone needs to survey a large plot of land, it can stop and recharge at regular intervals on distributed platforms. No word on pricing or when the pad will be available, but there are sure to more than a few companies interested in reducing the time they spend swapping batteries while gathering data about battery health in the drones they have deployed.

WiBotic PowerPad for Drones from WiBotic Inc. on Vimeo.

Via: Geek Wire

Source: WiBotic