From San Francisco to New York, Solar Impulse is promoting and demonstrating solar flight. To achieve its goal the plane carries 12.000 photovoltaic cells (for a total area of 200m²) and four batteries weighting 100kg each (energy density: 240 Wh/kg). It is currently staying at Dallas (Texas) and will soon take off for its next destination: Saint Louis (Missouri). The plane will reach its final destination (Kennedy Airport, New-York) in July 2013.
Being the object of advanced technologies (wingspan of 63 meters for a total weight of 1.6 ton) Solar Impulse is one of the few airplanes capable of flying across great distances (personal record of 1541km) without using any fossil energy. Greener modes of transport are getting closer!
The plane carries around 11 products manufactured by Solvay, an industrial partner of the RS2E. These products are as diverse as battery additives, structural and insulation materials or lubricants.
A French-Canadian team (including researchers from the “Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel” from Nantes, a member of the RS2E network) proposes a new technique to reuse the silicon from out-of-use solar panels as electrode material.
To achieve this goal the researchers ground the recovered silicon before adding carbon to the resulting micrometric powder. The mixture is then used to make a negative electrode. According to the study, this technique is a 100 times less expensive than directly creating such micrometric silicon particles. The properties displayed by the silicon-based electrodes are also encouraging since they could sustain up to 900 cycles of charges/discharges.
However, barriers still remain. Even if these electrodes allow the storage of 10 times more electrons than graphite electrodes do, they suffer from a significant volume variation during its use leading to a more fragile structure. Researchers are already working on alternatives to eschew this issue such as applying cupper foam to the electrode surface.
The French company Saft, one of RS2E’s Industrial Partners and a world leader in the design and manufacture of Li-ion batteries with a high storage capability, will provide Italy with a storage system aimed at improving Italia’s electric smart grid and sustainable energy storage capability.
The Puglia area will host, in the course of autumn 2013, the ambitious project decided by ENEL (Italia’s public energy provider): a storage system that allows to handle more efficiently locally produced sustainable energies.
The system delivered to ENEL will provide a power of 2 MW and will store an energy of 1 MWh.
In the coming days an annual congress dedicated to the changes that we can expect to witness in the cities of tomorrow will take place in Toulouse.
The 12th of April from 16.00 to 18.00, Pr. Patrice Simon will contribute to a panel on the materials that could change our life in the coming years. Pr. Simon is currently researching the field of supercapacitors at the CIRIMAT laboratory in Toulouse.
The panel will be broadcasted live (in French) on the CNRS’ webradio.
Visionaries have a foreground role when it comes to chemistry: they make the chemists of tomorrow (children) dream. One of the most prominent visionaries of the XIXth century being none other than Amiens’ favorite son, Jules Verne.
The Australian government has recently announced it will give Disney a $22 million grant in exchange for the shooting of the Verne adaptation to take place in Australia. As to the book adapted it will be 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea. It is the fourth adaptation to the screen of one of Jules Verne’s most famous novels. David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network) is attached to direct. Casting has yet to be revealed.
In a recent interview, Pr. Tarascon was reminding us of Verne’s vision significance regarding energy storage. Verne, he said, « was already predicting in 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea that sodium batteries will be the most energetic » (interview with La Croix, 03/25/2013).
Source : [The Australian]