Battery Update

This article is a really good snapshot of the current battery landscape. It raises a lot of issues associated with current technology and some possible future directions that everyone should be aware of. The inability of power storage to keep up with new technology frustrates many, especially entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley who bemoan the lack of a Moore’s law for batteries. This is the name given to a 1965 prediction by Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel, that the cost of microchips would continue to fall as the number of transistors crammed onto a given area of silicon would double every 18 months or so. read more

Fuel cell technology could power South Africa Inc

The country is ideally positioned to develop the technology and the spin-offs would be large. The Chamber of Mines in central Johannesburg has power even when load-shedding brings the rest of the country, including the chamber’s own members, to its knees. This is thanks to the 100 kilowatt (kW) platinum-based hydrogen fuel cell unit, which hums quietly in one of the outer quads of the building. Fed by the Egoli Gas network, the unit powers a building that houses about 340 people, including businesses that rent space from the chamber. At its peak, the office block draws 120kW, according to the head of information service at the chamber, Jeannette Hofsajer-van Wyk.   read more

China's hydrogen future?

Even though there has been particular focus on the hydrogen powered car (Toyota's Mirai) in recent times, perhaps there are other other opportunities for hydrogen to make an impact. China seems to be embracing hydrogen in a big way. These trams, even on a small scale, help demonstrate and test the promise of hydrogen. The sleek, orange locomotive that made its debut this month in Qingdao, China, resembles a high-speed bullet train, at least until it moves. But this new vehicle—a tram, not a train—tops out at about 43 miles per hour, a fraction of the 200mph speeds of Japan's Shinkansen trains. read more