Archives for category: Clean Sailing

Volvo Car Group makes conventional batteries a thing of the past

Volvo Car Group has developed a revolutionary concept for lightweight structural energy storage components that could improve the energy usage of future electrified vehicles. The material, consisting of carbon fibers, nano structured batteries and super capacitors, offers lighter energy storage that requires less space in the car, cost effective structure options and is eco-friendly.

The project, funded as part of a European Union research project, included Imperial College London as the academic lead partner along with eight other major participants. Volvo was the only car manufacturer in the project. The project team identified a feasible solution to the heavy weight, large size and high costs associated with the batteries seen in hybrids and electric cars today, whilst maintaining the efficient capacity of power and performance. The research project took place over 3.5 years and is now realized in the form of car panels within a Volvo S80 experimental car.

The answer was found in the combination of carbon fibers and a polymer resin, creating a very advanced nanomaterial, and structural super capacitors. The reinforced carbon fibers sandwich the new battery and are molded and formed to fit around the car’s frame, such as the door panels, the boot lid and wheel bowl, substantially saving on space. The carbon fiber laminate is first layered, shaped and then cured in an oven to set and harden. The super capacitors are integrated within the component skin. This material can then be used around the vehicle, replacing existing components, to store and charge energy.

The material is recharged and energized by the use of brake energy regeneration in the car or by plugging into a mains electrical grid. It then transfers the energy to the electric motor which is discharged as it is used around the car. The breakthrough showed that this material not only charges and stores faster than conventional batteries can, but that it is also strong and pliant.

Today, Volvo Car Group has evaluated the technology by creating two components for testing and development. These are a boot lid and a plenum cover, tested within the Volvo S80. The boot lid is a functioning electrically powered storage component and has the potential to replace the standard batteries seen in today’s cars. It is lighter than a standard boot lid, saving on both volume and weight.

The new plenum demonstrates that it can also replace both the rally bar, a strong structural piece that stabilizes the car in the front, and the start-stop battery. This saves more than 50% in weight and is powerful enough to supply energy to the car’s 12 Volt system

It is believed that the complete substitution of an electric car’s existing components with the new material could cut the overall weight by more than 15%. This is not only cost effective but would also have improvements to the impact on the environment.

Source: Volvo

Motor oil is essential to fossil fuel motors. Many humans do not think about getting grease or oil on their hands when working on motors, but they are putting themselves at risk. Used motor oil contains, benzene, hydrocarbons, gasoline, diesel, antifreeze, and metal shavings from the engine. Frequent exposure to motor oil and used motor oil can cause skin rashes, dermatitis, blood anemia, headaches, tremors, and skin cancer. There are currently no alternatives to using motor oil so humans need to protect themselves from frequent exposure. When working with oils wearing gloves is the only way to limit exposure. In conclusion, motor oil and in particular used motor oil is hazardous to both people and the environment.

Human exposure to benzene has been associated with a range of acute and long-term adverse health effects and diseases, including cancer, aplastic and anemia. Exposure can occur as a result of the ubiquitous use of benzene containing petroleum products, including motor fuels and solvents. Benzene is highly volatile, and exposure occurs mostly through inhalation.Public health actions are needed to reduce the exposure by the general population to benzene.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation: avoid exposure to motor oil and inhalation motor oil fumes.

3 Jun 2013 | United Kingdom

Darko Kapelina believes that wireless charging advances will make new EV records such as this one commonplace.

When Drayson Racing Technologies and Lola Cars introduced the B12 69/EV last year, the electric race car promised to be one of the fastest of its kind. Six months later, it set a record at the Goodwood Hillclimb, and it’s now gunning for an even bigger record. Drayson announced this week that it plans to make an attempt at an FIA electric land speed record within a month at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire. It will try to best the 175 mph (282 km/h) mark that was set back in 1974.

The attempt will be made in the sub-1000kg class by entrepreneur, racing driver and former UK science minister Lord Drayson who will drive a low-drag version of the Drayson B12 69/EV electric Le-Mans Prototype flat-out along Elvington’s 1.86-mile runway.

Lord Drayson will aim to better the current record of 175mph set by Battery Box General Electric in the United States and which has stood since 1974. This record has held firm for nearly 40 years due to the immense technical challenge of running an electric vehicle consistently and reliably at such speeds when weighing less than 1000kg.

Lord Drayson, CEO and co-founder of Drayson Racing Technologies, commented, “It is not the outright speed that is impressive about this record attempt, but the engineering challenge of accelerating a 1000kg electric vehicle to such a high speed and sustaining that speed over a measured mile, before stopping safely all within a relatively short distance then turning round and doing it again within an hour. It’s a tremendous technical challenge but we believe it’s about time someone moved this record on to demonstrate just how far EV technology has come.”

Drayson Racing Technologies is a research and development business, pioneering the development of sustainable technologies in the challenging environment of motorsport. With the electric land speed record they intend to showcase what is possible with an electric drivetrain and underscore Britain’s leadership position in the burgeoning EV industry.

The Drayson B12 69/EV was not originally conceived as a land speed car. Having raced the Lola chassis in sports car championships around the world powered by a second generation bio-fuelled Judd V10 engine, Drayson Racing Technologies took the decision to explore the potential of the electric drivetrain and use the familiar Lola chassis as a starting point. This provided the team with a considerably tougher engineering challenge than starting from a ground-up design – particularly in packaging the drivetrain to maintain the rigidity and crash safety of the original car.

In its current iteration, the Drayson B12 69/EV represents the pinnacle of what a bona fide electric racing car can achieve in terms of performance. To challenge for the record some changes have been made to the set-up of the car and drivetrain that are consistent with racing at a low downforce circuit. This will give the B12 69/EV the traction to achieve maximum acceleration in the short distance available, sustain maximum speed over a measured mile and stop safely.

Lord Drayson added, “The reason we are doing this is to showcase the maximum level of EV performance at the moment – and in a real racing car rather than a teardrop-shaped land speed record car. We are also demonstrating the future potential of technologies like wireless charging in speeding the adoption of high performance EVs.”

Darko Kapelina is interested in all clean regenerative sailing ideas and systems

 

Solar Impulse to fly across America – day and night without fuel

Solar Impulse, the Swiss solar powered airplane, plans to depart from San Francisco today with Bertrand Piccard in the single seater cockpit, to complete the first leg of its coast-to-coast flights across the USA. It is the first time that a solar airplane capable of flying day and night without fuel, will attempt to fly across America. This journey is also the occasion to launch an initiative called “Clean Generation” to gather worldwide support for the adoption of clean technologies.

Flying Coast to Coast across the United States has always been a mythical endeavor in aviation history. Achieving this in a solar airplane capable of flying day and night without fuel, shows the enormous potential of clean technologies in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy use. With this adventure, Solar Impulse wants to inspire and motivate as many people as possible to embrace the pioneering spirit that allowed this revolutionary solar-powered airplane to become a reality.

This is why thousands of people, amongst which James Cameron, Buzz Aldrin, Richard Branson, Elie Wiesel and Erik Lindbergh, are supporting the “Clean Generation” Initiative to encourage governments, businesses and decision-makers to push for the adoption of clean technologies and sustainable energy solutions. Concretely, the names of all those who will join this movement of pioneers will be carried in the cockpit of the airplane as virtual passengers. At every stopover city along the way, more and more names will be added onto the list.

About the first leg San Francisco – Phoenix

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will be Solar Impulse’s first stop. The airplane is expected to take off today at 6:00 am (PDT) from Moffett Field, NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View (CA), and land the following day around 1 am (MST) in Phoenix (AZ). Estimated flight duration is 19 hours.

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will alternately pilot the solar airplane to complete the challenge of flying without a drop of fuel across the USA from the West to the East Coasts. The first leg of the flight leading to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (AZ) will be completed by Bertrand Piccard. André Borschberg will fly for the last leg culminating in New York at JF Kennedy Airport.

Solar Impulse Moffett Field – Phoenix Sky Harbor Route:

06:00 am PDT (03:00 pm Swiss Time): Take-off from Moffett Field, Mountain View (CA) USA

08:00 am PDT (05:00 pm Swiss Time): Heading south east towards Fresno – ascending to an altitude of 16’000 ft

01:30 pm PDT (10:30 pm Swiss Time): Passing Bakersfield continues direction Palmdale – cruising altitude 21’000 ft

04:30 pm PDT (01:30 am Swiss Time): Flying over Barstow – continue direction Arizona between Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park

01:00 am MST (10:00 am Swiss Time): Estimated landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor (AZ) USA

For more information about this flight go to www.solarimpulse.com  Darko Kapelina is interested in clean regenerative sailing ideas and sytems.

For Bertrand Piccard, the idea to build a solar-powered plane capable of circumnavigating the globe was hatched while running on empty. In March 1999, Piccard was on the final leg of an around-the-world journey by hot air balloon—the first-ever nonstop flight of its kind—when his Breitling Orbiter 3 swept low over the Egyptian desert and skidded to a halt on the corrugated plains. As Piccard stepped out onto the hot sand, he checked the fuel tanks mounted on his gondola and got a shock that became a defining moment. “We had left Switzerland with four tons of propane,” he remembers. “We only had 40 kilos left! We almost didn’t make it. I promised myself that next time I would fly around the world without using any fuel at all.” Read more:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323550604578410800434511668.html#ixzz2RhYGHnOD

Darko Kapelina believes that this April 25, 2013 Wall Street Journal article about circumnavigating the globe in an airplane powered by only solar energy proves that circumnavigating the globe is also possible with regenerative sailing.  Kapelina is interested in ideas relating to clean regenerative sailing.

Diesel engine exhaust contains carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other potentially toxic gases. It also contains fine particulate matter, some in the form of soot, which can build up in a person’s lungs. People who live in high-traffic or high-smog areas or who work around diesel engines and diesel fumes can develop health problems, some of which can be lethal.

Diesel Exhaust Fumes Linked to Cancer and Other Serious Health Effects

With the recent confirmation by the World Health Organization (WHO) that diesel engine fumes can cause cancer in humans, millions worldwide will now know the serious health risks in breathing in diesel gas fumes. Diesel exhaust fumes are ‘major cancer risk’ and as deadly as asbestos and mustard gas, says World Health Organization.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2158574/Diesel-engine-exhaust-fumes-major-cancer-risk.html#ixzz2O6yEV6MY

People at Risk

Children and the elderly are the most at risk of health problems associated with exposure to diesel fumes. People with cardiovascular diseases, emphysema and asthma are also more vulnerable than otherwise healthy people to the effects of diesel exhaust.

Effects of Acute Exposure

Acute exposure is short-term exposure to diesel exhaust. This short-term exposure can cause eye, nose and throat irritation and can cause the victim to feel light-headed. Breathing diesel fumes can cause those with asthma to suffer an attack and may interfere with the breathing of emphysema sufferers. If a person is subjected to repeated acute exposure, his health problems may become chronic and worsen over time.

Effects of Chronic Exposure

Chronic exposure can either be repeated short exposures or the result of being around diesel fumes for long periods. The fine particles in diesel exhaust have substances such as formaldehyde attached to them. When breathed by a person for long periods of time, these particles and other gases and substances in diesel exhaust can damage the immune system, interfere with hormone production and cause cancer.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation: avoid exposure to diesel exhaust. 

Darko Kapelina is interested in clean regenerative sailing ideas and systems.

We can’t live without water, and thankfully much of the Earth is made up of it. Yet we face major problems where the life-sustaining liquid is concerned. While there is technically enough freshwater available for all 7 billion of us, 20% of the world’s population live where there is physical water scarcity. Vast improvements in infrastructure are required in order provide freshwater to areas which remain without, but also to ensure continued access in the face of widespread pollution, wastage and drought.

The degradation of water quality not only poses supply problems for our population, but also has a huge, inevitable impact on marine life. Whether it’s through storm water runoff from cities or farms, dumping from industry, or drilling for oil, we’re increasingly filling our rivers, seas and oceans with toxic pollutants. Sea life is suffering tremendously. Darko Kapelina is interested in ideas relating to clean sailing.

Darko Kapelina quotes hockey great Wayne Gretzky who said that to win, “you have to skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is now”.  In 2012 there were an estimated 25,000 electric cars sold worldwide, representing less than 1% of all car sales.  Projections are that by 2018 the number of electric cars sold including 100% electric and hybrid will grow to 10,000,000 or 25% of all car sales! Kapelina is interested in clean sailing ideas and systems.

Darko Kapelina says that the problem is not that we are lacking alternative energy sources. The problem once was that we had limits in electricity storage. However, electricity storage has come a long way since Alessandro Volta invented the battery back in the 1800s! Darko Kapelina is interested in ideas and proven systems relating to clean regenerative sailing.

Darko Kapelina believes that we are on the cusp of breakthroughs in LiON (lithium-ion) battery technology. However, none of the current efforts focus on leveraging advancements as it relates to clean sailing. The majority of the focus, as is to be expected, is in the areas of obvious transportation vehicles, such as airplanes and autos. The fact that major corporations in these industries have a vested interest in accelerating the speed of advancements in the technology means that substantial investments focused on accelerating safety and improving storage capability have been made.
Currently, corporate giants such as Boeing (the airplane manufacturer) and major auto manufacturers such as Ford, GM and Nissan (Toyota and BMW are in a partnership to develop the next generation lithium battery called lithium-air), are working aggressively with their LiON battery suppliers to insure advancements in safety, longevity, capacity, as well as a reduction in size and cost.
As of January 2013, a new World Record is on the books for battery technology. Thanks to a tiny particle resembling an egg yolk, scientists have been able to dramatically increase LiON battery storage capacity. According to their paper in Nature Communications, researchers from Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the newly discovered material is described as a “sulfur-TiO2 yolk-shell nanoarchitecture with internal void space for long-cycle lithium-sulphur batteries.” This material can be used in the cathode of LiON batteries to overcome a key obstacle that has stumped scientists for the past two decades. The result: a fivefold increase in the amount of energy that can be stored in a LiON battery!
When this breakthrough comes to market, the gasoline and diesel engine will become obsolete, and most sailboats of the future will have access to clean, regenerative power. Darko Kapelina is interested in ideas and systems relating to regenerative sailing.

Update as of April 11, 2013

9 Apr 2013 | Switzerland
Tin nanocrystals for the battery of the future

More powerful batteries could help electric cars achieve a considerably larger range and thus a breakthrough on the market. A new nanomaterial for lithium ion batteries developed in the labs of chemists at ETH Zurich and Empa could come into play here.

They provide power for electric cars, electric bicycles, smartphones and laptops; nowadays, rechargeable lithium ion batteries are the storage media of choice when it comes to supplying a large amount of energy in a small space and light weight. All over the world, scientists are currently researching a new generation of such batteries with an improved performance. Scientists headed by Maksym Kovalenko from the Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry at ETH Zurich and Empa have now developed a nanomaterial which enables considerably more power to be stored in lithium ion batteries.

The nanomaterial is composed of tiny tin crystals, which are to be deployed at the minus pole of the batteries (anode). When charging the batteries, lithium ions are absorbed at this electrode; while discharging, they are released again. “The more lithium ions the electrodes can absorb and release – the better they can breathe, as it were – the more energy can be stored in a battery,” explains Kovalenko.

The element tin is ideal for this: every tin atom can absorb at least four lithium ions. However, the challenge is to deal with the volume change of tin electrodes: tin crystal becomes up to three times bigger if it absorbs a lot of lithium ions and shrinks again when it releases them back. The scientists thus resorted to nanotechnology: they produced the tiniest tin nanocrystals and embedded a large number of them in a porous, conductive permeable carbon matrix. Much like how a sponge can suck up water and release it again, an electrode constructed in this way can absorb lithium ions while charging and release them when discharging. If the electrode were made of a compact tin block, this would practically be impossible.

During the development of the nanomaterial, the issue of the ideal size for the nanocrystals arose, which also carries the challenge of producing uniform crystals. “The trick here was to separate the two basic steps in the formation of the crystals – the formation of as small as a crystal nucleus as possible on the one hand and its subsequent growth on the other,” explains Kovalenko. By influencing the time and temperature of the growth phase, the scientists were able to control the size of the crystals. “We are the first to produce such small tin crystals with such precision,” says the scientist.

Using uniform tin nanocrystals, carbon, and binding agents, the scientists produced different test electrodes for batteries. “This enables twice as much power to be stored compared to conventional electrodes,” says Kovalenko. The size of the nanocrystals did not affect the storage capacity during the initial charging and discharging cycle. After a few charging and discharging cycles, however, differences caused by the crystal size became apparent: batteries with ten-nanometre crystals in the electrodes were able to store considerably more energy than ones with twice the diameter. The scientists assume that the smaller crystals perform better because they can absorb and release lithium ions more effectively. “Ten-nanometre tin crystals thus seem to be just the ticket for lithium ion batteries,” says Kovalenko.

As the scientists now know the ideal size for the tin nanocrystals, they would like to turn their attention to the remaining challenges of producing optimum tin electrodes in further research projects. These include the choice of the best possible carbon matrix and binding agent for the electrodes, and the electrodes’ ideal microscopic structure. Moreover, an optimal and stable electrolyte liquid in which the lithium ions can travel back and forth between the two poles in the battery also needs to be selected. Ultimately, the production costs are also an issue, which the researchers are looking to reduce by testing which cost-effective base materials are suitable for electrode production. The aim is to prepare batteries with an increased energy storage capacity and lifespan for the market, in collaboration with a Swiss industrial partner.

Source and top image: ETH

Darko Kapelina is interested in ideas and systems relating to clean regenerative sailing.