Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle or Rethink....

We often talk about how to recycle batteries, but what if we thought about instead of recycling, we concentrated on reusing. Cell phones are replaced about every two years and they still have a life of maybe four to five more years of reusable life. For example, consider cell phones and how far we have come from Motorola's first cell phone in 1983. It cost about $4000, and only the rich cold afford them. Today almost everyone has a cell phone. Do you know any eighth grader that doesn't? Some 285 million people have cell phones in the U.S.  The materials in batteries are a limited natural resource. When was the last time you replaced your cell phone? Most people replace their cell phone when their carrier's contract runs out in less than just two years. What do people usually do with that old phone? They keep it thinking they will sell it but never do and then it becomes junk.  Manufacturers have made continued improvements  such as Apple's iPhone, which gained 40 percent of market share in its first three years and as a result, the initial lifespan is between 18 and 24 months. In other words, roughly half of the phones in use one year are retired the next year. That is a lot of cell phones.

An estimated 10 to 15 percent of these are simply discarded and merge invisibly into the municiple waste stream. A much larger percentage of those retired are "stockpiled." Because of their small size, but high perceived value, roughly 65 to 70 percent of old phones end up in a drawer as a rarely used backup.

That leaves less than 20 percent of retired phones in the U.S to be collected for reuse or recycling. That phone could be used for another four or  five more years.  To rethink this situation, instead of leaving your old cell phone in a drawer, consider helping a person in Africa get an education by donating your used cell phones.

Sharon McNeill, Student Sponsorship Program Coordinator of Nomad Charities says, "Each phone donated sells for an average of 5500 schillings ($65.00). It costs a University student about 70000 schillings a quarter for tuition. That is only 13 phones per quarter that each student needs. Each additional phone they get provides them with living expenses, food, medical needs, transportation and clothing. It is wonderful to be able to provide the phones in lieu of asking for money. We definitely fund raise money for high school students but this added program allows our high graduates the opportunity to continue their education. BTW, over 75 percent of our high school sponsored students are in University. One of our GIRLS is in Law School on a full paid scholarship! Another student has graduated college and has been traveling around the world working for the United Nations." To donate your cell phone
go to:  http://www.nomadcharities.org/index.php?id=62

Resources: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink....
                By T Laseter, Anten Ovchinnikov
                G Raz  Issue 61, 2010.
                Interview: Sharon McNeil,
                Nomad Charities  
               

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Converting....

Converting... Bringing old cars to the light, car companies and shuttle services are now aiming their attentions at what some may consider a better way of investing funds into alternative energy power. These companies that may not have the ability to create their own hybrid or electric car can now take matters into their own hands by retrofitting an electric motor into their car to convert it to a hybrid or take it all the way to full electric. This in my opinion is much better than creating a brand new electric car because if we create all new models, we are going to have to use much more energy disposing of or recycling the old cars. This route allows the owners whether they be large companies or the average joe, to put their environmental conscious at ease. This article looks at the pragmatic components that go into this and how it can be very doable and profitable for many companies simply by applying for the grant funding, and even if they do not achieve what most would consider adequate funding, the math and statistics behind the products should sell themselves as the savings in gas and maintenance alone quickly payoff the conversion costs.

All of this is great, but on some level I am skeptical of what is going on. I feel as if people are doing this as a normal person, with one or so car as an ethical solution or they sincerely want to contribute in reducing their carbon foot print. It just seems so much that these companies are benefiting too much from the conversion processes, not only are they receiving grant funding, if applied for usually, but they get a whole new market of people who choose to live more sustainably, and not only that but most of the time they try to charge extra because of the prestige to say of the service as it is so environmental trendy as opposed to friendly similarly to that of organic fruits and vegetables. Don't get me wrong I think it is perfectly fine that companies are doing this conversion because after all it does help, but all of these articles just make them out to benefit from the trend and realization that we need change and they are just going to find more and more ways to fatten their wallets as opposed to general sincerity for eco and environmentally friendly solutions.

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/420222/converting-gas-guzzlers-into-hybrids/

Saturday, March 23, 2013

How Safe Are Electric Vehicles?

How safe are electric vehicles? Safe for the environment, yes. Safe for the user, possibly not... Currently electric vehicles are making their way onto the market and replacing the need or demand for fossil fueled cars. Without the sounds of a combustable motor how will people in our surroundings know where we are? They will soon not be able to smell the exhaust, hear the sounds of the car, completely relying on what we see. This not only proposes a problem for pedestrians and bicyclists but as battery power takes over, motorcyclists could be endangered. Many motorcyclists including myself will agree that their exhaust pipes have saved them from a few close calls on the freeway or in town. If electric motorcycles begin to take over how will other motorists hear them coming?
A new york times article begins to shed light on a solution for the pedestrian end of things, but at the end of the day it is safe to say that electric motorcycles could be far to dangerous in the first place to not have any noise at all.




http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/08/business/make-electric-vehicles-noisier-at-low-speeds-for-safety-us-says.html?_r=0
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/08/electric_motorbike_breaks_100_mile_range/

The Clean Way To Play Dirty

Interested in motorsports? Worried about the impact of the hobbies you love? A company has begun to look at these impacts and concerns and are finally aiming their funding and development into creating a solution. Every die hard motor sport fan can appreciate this machine, a fully functional SCORE baja 1000 ready full electric pre-runner buggy. Since the 60's hundreds of people have been racing thousands of tons of metal through a 1000 miles course in southern California, most do not finish the race and end up with a broken down vehicle on the side of the course with all of its gas, oil, coolant, etc. draining into the desert substrate below. Technology and eco-conscious are at their peak right now and many racers are becoming aware of the impacts of the past and pushing for a better solution without outlawing their sport. SRD (strategic racing designs) are taking the lead and created one of the first high powered electric racers. The creators state that the car at only an 80% efficiency rate can get up to 450 horsepower and 700 foot pounds of torque!!! The car tops out at around 100mph and can get from the 80 to 120 mile mark on a battery. The interesting part of this is how they switch out the batteries, at a normal stop they would put in gas and tires, this crew is designed to replace the cars batteries which takes about 5 minutes. Something that is also very amazing is that with all the wear and tear on these batteries they are expected to last about 15 years. The life span for a standard car battery is about 5 years. The high performance auto industry is going to be the hardest group to transition into electric automotive simply because no one has been able to deliver (in recent years) a high performance high power machine, this could save auto racing throughout the country as urban sprawl has made suburbs push further and further out mainly to where existing race tracks are and then they establish sound ordinances and shut down the tracks, electric cars could be the solution to these problems!




http://www.race-dezert.com/home/ev1-electric-race-car-35312.html

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Joining the NiMH Revolution!


Because of an earlier post on our blog, and some personal research and reading of Amazon reviews, I decided to purchase these NiMH batteries:
And this smart charger:


I looked at my battery usage and made some calculations, and I think my initial investment of about $34 will easily pay for itself sometime next year--possibly sooner! I am so excited to be able to do my part in reducing waste and pollution while also saving money in the long run. I hope you will take the time to do some of your own research or simply jump in with me now to start making the change from using alkaline batteries.
It can be done little by little too! Buy a charger and one pack of batteries, and as your alkalines die, simply replace them with your new rechargeables! When necessary, buy a pack of rechargeables if you start running out. That way you don’t see a huge cost up front!


The Amazon review I listed below was very clear and backed up much of the research I found on other websites: please check it out if you have further questions!


Sources:
http://www.amazon.com/review/R9VPVQ0UO2MKH



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Air Breathing Batteries – No Joke!


Ever wondered how we would get all those cool gadgets to work that we see in Star Trek or Sci Fi movies? You know, things like contact lenses with mini computers that display images right to your eye or maybe an implanted health sensor that automatically releases insulin or other medications directly into the blood before you even know there’s a problem or (my favorite) light-emitting tattos! It’s one thing to think up things like that, it’s another to find a way to actually make it work. We mentioned in an earlier post how a heart device could be powered using the body’s own blood, but now scientists have constructed a bio-battery that actually RECHARGES BY TAKING OXYGEN DIRECTLY FROM THE AIR! Did anyone else just have a nerdgasm? From the Polish team developing the battery, the lead, Dr Jönsson-Niedziółka, said, “One of the most popular experiments in electrochemistry is to make a battery by sticking appropriately selected electrodes into a potato. We are doing something similar… [but] we’d rather replace the potato with… a human being.
Here’s a picture of a stack of four of the batteries powering a bike light:


 Get excited, but don’t go planning your new tats just yet, because the limiting factors are the properties of the enzymes that interact to produce the power, both in lifespan and power output. Still, very amazing work being done at the moment!


Sources:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Stretchable lithium-ion battery!


Maybe my dreams of a real, walking and talking Gumby and Pokey can finally be realized! Northwestern University's Yonggang Huang and the University of Illinois' John Rogers demonstrate in the picture above how their battery continues to power the red LED even when they stretch it to 300% its original size! As soon as they let go, it immediately pops back into the beginning size and shape. According to the scientists, the battery will work for 8 or 9 hours before needing to be recharged--which can actually be done wirelessly. This means it can likely be used inside the human body to power heart or other devices. Or live-action Gumby dolls. Whichever application makes more sense to you.

Source:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130226113828.htm

Gravel Batteries?


Is plain old gravel a solution to low-cost, grid-scale energy storage challenges? This is one of the questions being explored by such companies such as Isentropic in England and Energy Cache in the U.S. Isentropic uses gravel and compressed argon gas to create temperature differentials/ thermodynamic processes, in two connected but separate tanks where the gravel is held. The two tanks are separated by a reversible heat pump that expands the gas in one tank and compresses it in the other, creating temperature differentials of 500 degrees Celsius and -160 degrees Celsius, of which energy is stored in the gravel. During times of high energy demand, the process is reversed and the energy that was stored in the gravel is released.



Another technology underway is the Pennsylvania company Energy Cache’s “ski lift” system that has received heavy investments from Bill Gates. This system uses gravel that is used in the energy production and storage via a motor generator, buckets, storage slots, and a lift system as shown:



Watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3nz_kU604s&feature=youtu.be

Both systems, provided they work as planned, are cheap, simple, efficient, and easily set up (not as many permits and regulations) alternatives to large-scale energy storage.


Sources: 
http://www.economist.com/node/21548495

http://gigaom.com/2012/03/27/the-story-of-energy-cache-a-drop-dead-simple-energy-idea/
http://www.energycache.com/


Ferrari's new powerplant is a hybrid!

With the release of the new hybrid Ferrari, the market can see just how to incorporate the demand for being more efficient while not compromising any horsepower. The new model known as the laferrari is the next generation of Ferrari replacing the enzo. 
This new hybrid powerplant was released at the Beijing auto show last spring and just a few weeks ago the car was unveiled at Geneva. The bar for the hybrid has been set. Using a patented combination of expert interviews, online research, and sheer fabrication, here they have attempted to break down this complex machine into language we can all understand. Follow along on the photo below:
 
The immense, and immensely confounding, hybrid power train of the upcoming Ferrari supercar, explained for you below.
  1. 1. Air gets sucked in through this pair of pearlescent purple alto saxophones.
  2. 2. Oxygen is mixed with fuel and flame inside this giant, red, crinkle-finished Hohner Chimewood harmonica.
  3. 3. The resultant horsepower is blown into a supine WALL-E, where, as in the eponymous movie, it is compacted. Unlike in the film, where the output is used to build life-choking towers of trash, here compression converts kinetic energy into electricity.
  4. 4. Said current is fed into the Hulk lunchbox you had in elementary school. Its presence here explains why you couldn’t find it in your mother’s attic in 2003—after that shitty Ang Lee movie came out—when you wanted to sell it on eBay.
  5. 5. Surplus energy is fed into this 1950 Electrolux iron, where it is stored as heat and used to warm the cabin on chilly days.
  6. 6. Three giant orange Pixy Stix carry this power to three giant orange Push-Ups—a dyadic sextet of mouth-puckering confections.
  7. 7. The Push-Ups perform as their name suggests, each creating approximately 300 units of sherbet-y thrust—for a total of 900—enough to propel the car from zero to 60 in a chiropractically functional 1.9 seconds on the way to a very practical top speed of 350 m.p.h. (V.F. estimates).
  8. 8. This energy output is fed into a special scrubber, which removes any traces of carbon dioxide, sulfur, or shame.
  9. 9. The carbon is disposed of in the wingless body of Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter, where it is zapped with cheap special effects resembling the fluorescent tube lights in a Dan Flavin sculpture.
  10. 10. Wheels turn. Car goes fast.
  11. Sources http://www.vanityfair.com/style/stick-shift/2012/05/four-wheeled-future-new-ferrari-supercar.
  12. http://www.vanityfair.com/style/stick-shift/2013/03/ferrari-laferrari-preview-geneva-auto-show, PHOTOGRAPHs BY BRETT BERK.

Prius batteries to end up at scrap yards

 As the first generation Toyota Prius hybrid cars begin to hit 11 years old, Toyota officials say the number of used hybrid batteries showing up in the waste stream is expected to skyrocket in the coming years.
The car manufacturer wants to collect those batteries so they can be recycled, said Toshi Fukui, a manager of Toyota Tsusho America, a subsidiary of the car manufacturer.
He said Toyota wants to set up a hub-and-spoke system so when an aged or destroyed Prius comes to a scrap yard, the smaller facilities could remove the batteries and send them to a local hub, where Toyota could collect them for demanufacturing.
"We're really concerned about the safety issue," Fukui said. "Even a dead hybrid battery may have over 200 volts inside, which can cause serious injury or death."
He said scrap yards shouldn't attempt to disassemble the batteries or shred them.
"Please don't shred, bale or crush any of the hybrid batteries," he said. "They still continue a great deal of energy inside of them."
Mark Saxonberg, manager of advanced fuel vehicles for Toyota Motor Sales USA, said there are a small number of batteries being returned today, mostly to the dealerships, but that will change in the coming years.
"You will start to see a lot of these batteries," he said. "We expect more than 50,000 a year and doubling year after year. They are going to be entering the scrap industry."
He said by 2025, Toyota expects that 300,000 batteries will be returned per year, with the vast majority of them not being taken to the local Toyota dealership.
He said Toyota is committed to making sure the hazardous parts of the batteries are not harming the environment, and the precious metals inside are reused.
"We have a social responsibility to get these batteries out of the scrap stream as best we can," he said.
Saxonberg said the Prius started off as a niche vehicle and was popular in only a couple of markets, so the company expects that the first wave of batteries will show up in the California, Texas, Oregon, Florida and Arizona.
Toyota has partnered with Toxco Inc. to demanufacture and recycle batteries in North America. Todd Coy, vice president of battery operations, said Toxco has three permitted facilities in North America: one in California, Canada and Ohio. A second Ohio plant is under construction and was partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Energy Department.
Sources: http://www.wasterecyclingnews.com/article/20120504/NEWS02/120509952/toyota-expects-prius-batteries-to-end-up-at-scrap-yards

Battery companies team up to store renewable energy

Trojan Battery Company, manufacturer of deep-cycle batteries, and Palladium Energy, manufacturer of custom lithium-based battery packs, last year formed a strategic alliance to develop clean energy battery solutions for a broad range of industries. Together, the companies will explore the development of lithium-based battery packs. 
 
This partnership enables Trojan to expand battery offerings to meet evolving customer demands for lithium-based technology. The use of Palladium's expertise in cell technology and engineering, coupled with Trojan's 85 years of lead-acid battery, allows for the opportunity to discover new and more efficient batteries. This would benefit the environment as the use for batteries grows and the need for a better way to manage them becomes more evident. The renewable energy market is going to continue to grow and therefore the demand to store that captured energy will need to move hand in hand with the technology. The better they are able to make the capabilities of the batteries the more effective the use of wind and solar energy can be. 
Battery companies team up to store renewable energy
Art Salyer, president and chief executive officer for Palladium Energy said "This partnership will catapult our company into new and emerging verticals and medium and large format applications, allowing us to have an even larger role in powering the world with green technology." 

 
Sources: http://www.energyharvestingjournal.com/articles/battery-companies-team-up-to-store-renewable-energy-00003783.asp?sessionid=1

Friday, March 15, 2013

Recycling Batteries Straight Talk


Batteries contain different metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium. And nickel. If a person disposes of these batteries in an unsafe manner, it can lead to more contamination within the environment. Different batteries such as lead acid batteries can be recycled and up to 96% of the battery can be disposed of.
Dry-cell batteries which include alkaline and carbon zinc (9 volt, D, C, AA, AAA), button style batteries, and lithium (9-volt, C, AA, coin, button, rechargeable batteries can easily be recycled.




Get the facts about what your local and state regulations are when it come s to recycling batteries.
Sources:
http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/battery.htm
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-7HvhlHWYw5s/UUP44LwVG5I/AAAAAAAAELg/4nHSvt4LxRE/h120/download%2B%25285%2529.jpg
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-O3QwlRpC_tU/UUP6swm-KeI/AAAAAAAAELo/Wicc4-opi2Y/h120/images+%282%29.jpg

Battery Recycling



 Battery Recycling Is Easy And Makes You Feel Good Too!

Did you know that you could simply put your used alkaline batteries into your recycling bin or save them up and take them to a Batteries Plus, Best Buy, or other recycling centers? Is it so easy and you can do your part to help reduce the metals and chemicals in our landfills, help the environment, and feel good too.

U.S. consumers purchase over three billion household batteries a year! Although the United States has made significant progress in increasing rechargeable battery use, 80% of all primary batteries sold are disposables.   
Those single-use alkaline AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V batteries are made up of 60-70% Zinc & Manganese Concentrate, 10-20% steel, and 10-20% paper and plastic.  All of which can be recycled successfully if we just turn them in.



A recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology life cycle battery analysis of household batteries demonstrates that recycling rather than disposal has a higher environmental payback. When recycled, the chemicals and metals are reclaimed and reused, cutting down on the raw materials needed to manufacture new batteries.

Of course, an even better way to help the environment is to use rechargeable batteries in the first place, but just take the first step by recycling those alkaline batteries and you will find out how easy it is, eventually you can take the next step and transition to rechargeable batteries.

Go ahead and try it…it is the right thing to do and will make you feel good!
  
Sources:


Battery Life

Have you ever been confused about how to, when to, and what type of battery to use for your new device? I guess being confused can set in when a person loses his/her owner’s operation manual. 

Do you understand what kind of power drainage is caused when you use certain function on your mobile device? I guess the question to ask, “Is why do I have to charge my mobile device almost daily?
image



If you want to save the life of your batteries, be sure you understand the facts. After all why do harm to your new device when it can be avoided.
Sources:
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/25319/complete-guide-to-maximizing-your-android-phones-battery-life/


Do Rechargeable Batteries Really Save a Person Money?


Do Rechargeable Batteries Really Save a Person Money?
When a person first purchase non-rechargeable batteries the initial cost may be cheaper than buying some rechargeable batteries. However, if a person drains the non-rechargeable battery of all it power before the year is up, he/she will have to turn around and buy more batteries. By purchasing rechargeable batteries from the start a person ends up saving money and helps out with the reduction of battery waste in landfills.


The good news is rechargeable batteries are surprisingly easy to recycle.  
Sources:



A paper battery powered with blood?




Research first published in 2007 by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute claim they make batteries that can be powered by blood, sweat, tears or even urine! That’s not all: this tiny battery is essentially made of PAPER!! The paper is made with tiny nanotubes imprinted into it as part of the process. The end result is nanocomposite paper which can be powered on directly from your body, allowing pacemakers or possibly even artificial hearts to be powered indefinitely—well, as long as you eat!
The scientists claim that nanocomposite paper the size of a newspaper could power a car, though they haven’t been able to make that much at a time yet. The applications are almost endless, because the battery would literally be as light and thin as paper, leaving more room and less weight in vehicles or planes. It would also be extremely flexible, allowing it to be molded in different shapes or to move with the body. 
Researchers are hoping in the future to be able to print big sheets which can then be cut to whatever size or shape is needed. The battery would even function normally with holes punched in it. 
Also, because it is essentially made of paper, the battery is extremely environmentally friendly when compared to most batteries we use today.
The catch? Well, while the materials themselves are cheap, it is way too expensive to produce in the sheets described above, and until they find a way to lower the cost of production, it just isn’t viable. They are continuing to research ways to boost the efficiency of the batteries and investigating different manufacturing techniques.



Sources:
We also talked about the possibility of a bio-battery back in February here: http://ecomerge.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-bio-battery-its-alive.html

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Closed Circuits - Open Resources

Have you ever wondered why batteries are flat on one end and have a circular nub on the other? It's because of what is called a closed circuit. Electricity storred in the battery flows outward through a conductor, sometimes to a resistor which regulates the voltage flow, to an object like a lightbulb, and then back to the battery.



http://www.miniscience.com/kits/KITSEC/Simple_Electric_Circuit_ON_L.jpg

This flow has to do with the positive and negative ions.  This process is happening in your laptops, your cell phones, your flash lights, anything that uses batteries. On a larger scale this is also how electricity is flowing through a building or a house. The energy is coming from a power station, the energy to that power station is probably coming from a wind turbine or water turbine built into a river dam. These natural resources enable us to build our cities bigger and maintain larger populations.

We should all be aware and respect these natural resources even though we cannot see them and the technicians maintaining them hard at work!

Sherlock Holmes and Sulfuric Acid

Believe it or not, utilizing storred energy from atoms has been in used far earlier than our general understand of the Energizer Bunny. I happened across an interesting Sherlock Holmes movie produced in 1970 in which the use of vats of sulfuric acid is used to power a prototype for a submersible, aka a submarine vehicle, which was also successfully discredited by Queen Victoria. In this case though, the development of new technology coupled with espionage makes the science of it all more believable.

When developing new technologies it is always important to keep company secrets and the safety of your scientists a top priority. Being lax in those areas can cause devastating effects. In this story of Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson, a man dies as a result of sea water mixing with the acid. I'm not entirely sure how that came about as it is not explained in the story, but the lesson is still there thought it may be construed.

The complications of developing a technology that is attempting to integrate two elements that are volatile towards each other is in an incredibly risky business and luckily most people see it as common sense not to mix water with electrical parts and should not merely be a plot device in our lives.



The movie is currently still available on netflix.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066249/

Monday, March 11, 2013

Flywheel Energy Source

Through all of the research I have done this quarter, I found the flywheel source of energy system to be particularly interesting so I decided to look into it more in depth. This works by accelerating the flywheel to a very high speed and maintaining the energy in the system as rotational energy. Then, when energy is extracted, the flywheel’s rotational energy is reduced "as a consequence of the principle of conservation of energy." When energy is added to the system this results in an increase in the speed of the flywheel. The flywheel uses electricity to accelerate and decelerate, but devices that directly use mechanical energy are being developed. This system can be very complex but one of the positive factors is that flywheels can come up to very high speeds in a matter of minutes and this is much quicker than some other forms of energy storage.

The are a few main components that make it possible for the flywheel to function. There is a rotor suspended by bearings inside of a vacuum chamber, which helps in reducing friction. This is also connected to a combination electric motor and electric generator. Newer systems use carbon-fiber composite rotors that have a higher tensile strength than steel, but are not quite as heavy. Also, magnetic bearings are sometimes used instead of mechanical bearings in order to reduce friction. High-temperature superconductor bearings are becoming more and more popular because they are economical and could possibly extend the time energy. There are many other parts contained inside of the flywheel but without these main components listed above, it would not be able to function like it does.
They flywheel may have many positives, but one of its limitations is the energy storage time in some flywheel types. When mechanical bearings are used, the flywheel can lose 20 % to 50 % of their energy in two hours. This is due to the friction used when the flywheel changes orientation due to the rotation of the earth. However, this can be avoided by aligning the flywheel’s axis of rotation parallel to that of the earth’s axis of rotation. An up side to this is a that flywheels with magnetic bearings and high vacuum can maintain 97 % mechanical efficiency and 85 % round trip efficiency. It becomes very obvious why magnetic bearings are becoming more and more popular.

There is so much other significant information that can be found on flywheels. For instance, its general maintenance runs about one-half the cost of traditional battery UPS systems. Another fact that I found interesting is that flywheels are used in various forms of transportation such as buses, some motor vehicles, electric locomotives, et cetera. I must admit that before taking this class I did not know anything about how things were provided energy. If it worked, that was good enough for me. However, after learning about all these different sources of energy, I really enjoyed learning about the flywheel. There is so much to learn about the flywheel energy source that the information above is just a very basic explanation. This form of energy is definitely growing in popularity and so far it has proved to have more pros than cons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flywheel_energy_storage

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Battery Life and Management in Linux

I once had a Mac OSX laptop, but then I decided to switch to Ubuntu 12.04. Now, I'm running Fedora 18 on my laptop. It turns out that regardless of which operating system you are using, extending your battery life is pretty much the same, and it's very simple too. Increasing your laptop's battery life is important because it decreases the frequency at which you will need to buy new batteries. Besides being easy on your wallet, this is also great for the environment. The less batteries we are buying, the less materials we will have to recycle, and eventually trash when they are no longer recyclable. If you want to extend the life of your battery in Linux, the following are a few simple tools that will be useful to you:

cpufreq-selector - Is a tool that can be used to set CPU frequency

Use the cpufreq-selector to set the cpu to either powersave or ondemand mode, and you will save power.



Laptop-mode-tools

These tools can be used to monitor and tweak your power settings at a more advanced level. For instance, you can disable hard drive activity when you're not using it. This is just one example of the kinds of power saving things that you can do with Laptop-mode-tools.



Another great tool for extending battery life, is the package pm-utils. This tool provides shell command line tools to suspend and hibernate your computer.

Sources:

Linux - Extend your laptop's battery life - kioskea.net
Power and Sleep Management - askubuntu.com
manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/ - hardy (1) cpufreq-selector.1.gz
Corridor Nine - CPU frequency indicator and DIY merchandise
CPU Frequency Scaling - wiki.archlinux.org/
Laptop Mode Tools 1.62 Further Improves Battery Life - news.softpedia.com/
Laptop Mode Tools - http://samwel.tk/laptop_mode/


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Energy Storage Development

The demand for energy is always increasing as technology develops and devices become dependent on energy. A few sources of energy are solar power, wind power, geothermal resources, biofuels, nuclear generation, and fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas. When it comes to mobility, batteries are used the most to store energy. Batteries provide power for lots of things from cell phones to laptops to even cars, in which some cars are completely electric. In most cases for these batteries, they are rechargeable which helps save some of the resources used to make the batteries.

The most resourceful method of creating and storing energy is through renewable energy, and it is not the easiest method but it is the most resourceful because it consumes fewer natural resources and creates energy through resources that are pretty much unlimited since we cannot run out of wind or sun light because they are continuously replenished. Technology is continuing to develop and it continues to try to take advantage of renewable energy solutions.

A great example of what can be accomplished is the electrical cars. These electric cars do not consume fuel; they are just charged like a battery and driven. This displays the growth of technology and its effects as we see the conversion from using fuel dependent vehicles to electric non fuel consuming cars. Both solutions get the same thing done but one is more economical and it was accomplished through the development of energy storing technology. This is just a small step towards how we handle and use stored energy as we try to cut down use of natural resources for energy such as fuel or coal. As this technology develops, we may encounter even greater eco-friendly changes that become a norm in our society which saves us from using up all of our limited natural resources.


Sources:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Disposable Batteries

When choosing batteries, it is very important to choose the right type of battery for your needs. No matter what type of gadget you are dealing with, there is always a specific type of battery that it needs.There is obviously a wide selection of batteries for everyday use, but the two most common ones are Alkaline batteries and Lithium batteries. Before really researching both types of batteries, I really did not know the difference. Alkaline batteries are the most commonly used disposable batteries today. They are used in devices such as digital cameras, remote controls, etc. These types of batteries cannot be charged. Once they run out of energy, you throw them away and replace them with new ones. Alkaline batteries last for long periods of time and they actually have no trouble performing at both high and low temperatures. The most popular brands of Alkaline batteries that you can buy today are Duracell, Energizer, Sanyo and Panasonic.

Lithium batteries are pretty much the same as Alkaline batteries. However, do not confuse them with Lithium Ion batteries, which are rechargeable. They are able to store and supply much more energy than Alkaline batteries, which is why they are much more expensive. Yet they do last longer. Another interesting fact is that they are approximately 33 percent lighter than the average Alkaline battery. Due to how long Lithium batteries last, they are actually becoming the more popular choice for dispoable batteries. They can also be used in devices such as digital cameras and MP3 players. The most popular brands of Lithium batteries that you can buy today are Duracell, Tenergy Propel, Panasonic and Energizer.
Some more research I found to be quite interesting is the Do's and Don'ts of battery care. First of all, it is always important to use the right kind of batteries in your electronics. Also, always make sure the battery is clean before inserting it or this could affect the connection between the battery and the device. Finally, make sure to store your batteries in a dry area at room temperature in order to maximize shelf life. There are also quite a few don'ts when it comes to caring for disposable batteries. Do not leaves batteries in hot places. This could cause them to leak dangerous chemicals or even explode. Also, do not carry loose batteries with metal objects of any sort. Finally, do not mix old and new batteries, or different type of batteries. This could cause a leak in battery acid or the batteries to explode. The do's seemed to be mostly common sense, but I am glad that I now know the don'ts of battery care because I never realized how dangerous batteries could be.

http://www.batteryreview.org/disposable-batteries.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkaline_battery
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_battery

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ancient Batteries

Storing electrical energy may date back thousands of years! Long before Edison perfected the light bulb or Franklin put his kite out in the rain, Mesopotamian craftsmen may have been using primitive batteries to electroplate gold onto silver objects. 
 
 

In the 1930s, artifacts were uncovered near Baghdad, Iraq, which appeared to have a familiar structure akin to modern galvanic cell batteries. The cell, dubbed "The Baghdad Battery" by the media, consists of a clay jar, a copper cylinder, and an iron rod. When the jar is filled with an electrolyte such as vinegar or lemon juice, a current is produced. Archaeologists theorized that these batteries may have been used for electroplating, bonding gold leaf to silver objects using the electrical current. Modern replicas have been used to test the theory, and it is possible to produce electricity with this design. Many experts have doubts about the specific use of the batteries, and some believe the jars are just simple storage containers, but most agree that it is at least plausible for them to have been used as a a source for electrical power. These ancient batteries certainly have one advantage over modern technology: the materials are 100% green! If only we cold power our smartphones and tablets with a little lemonade in a clay pot!