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図◎「Chrysler EV」(左上)、「Dodge EV」(中央)、「Jeep EV」(右上)
2008/09/25 16:38
米Chrysler社は、電気自動車(EV)と、発電用ガソリンエンジンを搭載したシリーズハイブリッド式のEVの試作車を発表した。同社は2010年に北米市場で、2010年以降に欧州市場でEVの販売を計画しており、2009年には、市販に先立ち政府や企業、公共事業において開発用EV100台を用いて公道走行を開始する。今回発表したのは、2人乗りの後輪駆動スポーツEV「Dodge EV」、SUV「Jeep Wrangler」をベースとした4輪駆動HEVの「Jeep EV」、ミニバン「Chrysler Grand Voyger」をベースとした前輪駆動HEVの「Chrysler EV」の3車。

 Dodge EVに搭載したシステムは、モータとLiイオン2次電池、エネルギ制御ユニットからなる。最大出力は200kW(268hp)で、最大トルクは650N・m。停止状態から95km/hまで5秒未満で加速する。最高速度は193km/h。Liイオン2次電池は電力容量が26kWhで、110Vの家庭用電源で8時間、220V電源では4時間で充電できる。連続航続距離は241~321km(150~200マイル)。米国ユーザーの8割は1日の平均走行距離が65km(40マイル)以下であり、Dodge EVはその3倍以上の航続距離を実現した。

 Jeep EVとChrysler EVに搭載したシリーズハイブリッドシステムは、モータとLiイオン2次電池、発電機と一体化した小型エンジンを搭載する。両車ともLiイオン2次電池からの電力だけで約65km(40マイル)の走行が可能。電池残量が少なくなると、小型エンジンが始動して発電機で発電し、その電力で走行する。連続航続距離は、満充電のLiイオン2次電池とエンジンでの発電を合わせて、644km(400マイル)。ガソリン使用量は約30Lで、全体の燃費は21km/L程度となる。

 Jeep EVは、最高出力が200kW(268hp)、最大トルクが400N・m。電力容量27kWhのLiイオン2次電池を搭載する。停止状態から95km/hまで9.0秒で達する。最高速度は145km/h以上。2輪駆動と4輪駆動の切り替えが可能。現在、同社は4輪にインホイールモータを装着した4輪駆動車の可能性を模索しているという。

 Chrysler EVは、ベース車と同じ7人乗り。シリーズハイブリッド式電気駆動システムにより、ガソリン車と同等の航続距離を実現しつつ、低燃費のファミリーカーとした。最高出力は190kW(255hp)、最大トルクは350N・m。電力容量22kWhのLiイオン2次電池を搭載する。停止状態から95km/hまで8.7秒で達する。最高速度は161km/h以上。

 Chrysler社は米GE社と、米DOE(Department of Energy)のエネルギ貯蔵システム開発プログラムに参加している。このプログラムでは、電池の小型化とコスト低減を目指し、出力密度とエネルギ密度の両方を高めた電池の開発と評価を実施する予定。


Another nanotechnology route to better ultracapacitors for energy storage
Chemically modified graphene has found in manganese oxide nanoflower/carbon nanotube array a rival nanotech material to improve energy storage using ultracapacitors. From “Nanoflowers Improve Ultracapacitors: A novel design could boost energy storage“, and article in Technology Review written by Prachi Patel-Predd and found via

Imagine a cell-phone battery that recharges in a few seconds and that you would never have to replace. That’s the promise of energy-storage devices known as ultracapacitors, but at present, they can store only about 5 percent as much energy as lithium-ion batteries. An advance by researchers at the Research Institute of Chemical Defense, in China, could boost ultracapacitors’ ability to store energy.

A capacitor consists of two electrodes with opposite charges, often separated by an insulator that keeps electrons from jumping directly between them. The researchers have developed an electrode that can store twice as much charge as the activated-carbon electrodes used in current ultracapacitors. The new electrode contains flower-shaped manganese oxide nanoparticles deposited on vertically grown carbon nanotubes.

The electrodes deliver five times as much power as activated-carbon electrodes, says Hao Zhang, lead author of the Nano Letters paper [abstract] describing the new work. The electrode’s longevity also compares with that of activated-carbon electrodes, Zhang says: discharging and recharging the electrodes 20,000 times reduced the capacitor’s energy-storage capacity by only 3 percent.

…Ultracapacitors can store millions of times more energy than the tiny capacitors used in electronic circuits.

But their performance still pales beside that of batteries, which store energy using chemical reactions. “If I gave you a cell phone with an ultracapacitor battery, you’d never replace the battery, and you could recharge it in a few seconds, but it would only last half an hour,” says Joel Schindall, an electrical-engineering professor at MIT.

…”The way of growing manganese oxide on carbon nanotube arrays is new and has produced beautiful structures,” says Yury Gogotsi, a materials-science and engineering professor at Drexel University. Gogotsi says that combining the high conductivity of the carbon nanotubes with the charge-storage capacity of manganese oxide is an attractive approach. But, he adds, “it is not practical for large volume, such as automotive applications, because the use of carbon nanotube arrays and tantalum foil makes them expensive.”

Indeed, says Schindall, cost could be the main barrier to ultracapacitors with nanostructured electrodes. “They’ve found a way to grow these structures,” he says, “but now they’ve got to be able to grow them densely enough and economically enough to be practical.”



CEO of Australia-Based CAP-XX to Present at Nanotech Northern Europe
(Nanowerk News) Next week, at Nanotech Northern Europe in Copenhagen, Anthony Kongats, CEO for Australia-based CAP-XX Ltd. (LSE:CPX) will share lessons learned while developing his company’s nano-structured supercapacitors from government laboratory to today’s deployment in space-constrained electronics devices worldwide.
WHO: Anthony Kongats founded CAP-XX in 1997 to commercialize the supercapacitor technology spawned by joint research done at the Australian government’s premier science and research organization – CSIRO – and Kongats’ own electronics company, Energy Storage Systems.
WHAT: Kongats will share his commercialization challenges and his perspective on the global investment environment for nanotechnology. CAP-XX is the only publicly-listed nanotechnology company being profiled.
CAP-XX chose the Alternative Investment Markets (AIM) in London which had supported similar internationally-focused technology companies and other nanotechnology start-ups such as Oxonica.
Kongats will discuss start-up challenges such as attracting venture funding, readying a technology for production, building a patent portfolio, selling a new concept into a new market, preparing for a public offering and ramping manufacturing capacity to meet demand.
WHERE: Nanotech Northern Europe, Europe’s annual nanotechnology conference organized by Spinverse, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 23 – 25:
WHEN: Thursday, September 25 at 11:30 am, Kongats will present during the “Analyst Perspectives” section of “Investing in nanotechnology”, a full-day session on the business and investment potential of nanotechnology.
About CAP-XX
The CAP-XX nano-structured carbon supercapacitors store energy in tiny cells, then release large bursts of power when needed. For example, mobile phones use supercapacitors to deliver brighter flashes and richer-sounding music, vibration energy-harvesters use them to power data transmission bursts in battery-free condition monitoring systems, and solid state disks (SSDs) rely on them for backup power.
CAP-XX has sold more than 3 million supercapacitors, enabling smaller, thinner, longer-running and more feature-rich space-constrained electronic devices such as camera phones, SSDs, PDAs, wireless sensors and medical devices. Examples include rugged PDAs and Point-of-Sale systems from Banksys, Handheld Products, Intermec, Datalogic and Symbol Technologies, and wireless condition-monitoring systems supporting energy-harvesters.
Sydney, Australia-based CAP-XX is publicly-traded on AIM and has sales offices in the UK and USA. For more information, visit
About Spinverse
Spinverse commercializes emerging technologies by combining scientific, industrial and investment expertise. Spinverse organizes international technology events, provides capital and technology transfer services and coordinates national programs in nanotechnology, fuel cells and mobile communications.

Source: CAP-XX (press release)


Zenn ready to hit the road in Quebec
Globe and Mail Update
September 26, 2008 at 7:46 PM EDT

Starting next week, Quebeckers will be able to slowly poke around the province in Zenn Motor Co.'s electric cars, as the province recently became the first in Canada to allow the low-speed vehicles onto its roads (albeit only for a three-year trial).

Consumers may want to invest in the company's electric cars, which plug into a standard outlet and can travel 80 kilometres on a charge, but should investors be as keen to load up on Zenn's shares?
The company

Zenn was founded in 2001 by marketing executive Ian Clifford, and was originally called Feel Good Cars. Using Renault Dauphines as prototypes, the Toronto-based company removed the Dauphines' engines and replaced them with electric alternatives.

It then hired Microcar of Europe to provide the chassis. The first vehicles rolled out in 2007, with total sales nearing 350 cars. One-third of those have been sold in California. The company said it has the capacity to produce 9,000 a year if demand increases.

Short drive, long charge

Right now, the company offers one model, a two-seater that tops out at 40 kilometres-per-hour and can travel as far as 80 kilometres on a charge. After that, the car has to be plugged into a conventional electrical outlet for eight hours.

The cars are put together in St-Jérôme, Que., and a basic model retails for $15,995 (U.S.). Plans are in the works for a four-seater that can hit speeds as high as 125-km/h over a greater distance.

The cars are regulated for use in most U.S. states, but Quebec is the first jurisdiction in Canada to allow them to mingle with regular traffic.

Millions in losses

Sales reached $2.3-million last year, but Zenn lost $6.9-million as it spent heavily on research and marketing. The company completed a $15-million share offering in May, which it intends to spend on engineering, product development, and as general working capital.

The company's shares, which trade on the TSX Venture Exchange, hit a 52-week high of $6.89 on July 2 and closed trading on Friday at $3.50. Two analysts follow the shares, with an average 12-month-price target of $6.

Betting on EEStor

Zenn has an exclusivity agreement with battery-maker EEStor Inc. for small cars and golf carts, and in April, 2007, acquired 3.8 per cent of the Texas-based company for $2.5-million (U.S.). It has the right to buy another $5-million of shares at the same price, if certain developmental milestone are achieved.

If things work out as planned, those could be valuable shares – EEStor claims its products will weigh 90 per cent less than conventional batteries, charge in minutes rather than hours and work just as well in cold climates as they do under the California sun.

The technology is alluring, but far from certain. “[The batteries] are still under development and there can be no assurance that it will be successfully commercialized at all or on a timely basis, or that the corporation will be able to successfully incorporate the technology in its current products,” Zenn wrote in its May prospectus.

Analyst view

“The big picture here is there is a shift toward electric mobility, and they should benefit from that. All the big vehicle manufacturers are in on that, and have said the vehicle of the future will be a zero-emissions, electric vehicle.

“So why buy a small Canadian upstart when the Fords of the world will destroy them once the market is strong enough? The EEStor relationship. If that works out, it would make the acquisition of an electric car a compelling decision.”

Massimo Fiore, Versant Partners

CEO view

“We have very strong institutional investors, and over $16-million in cash. The markets have had an up-and-down year, but we're holding our own. We're still a pretty low volume stock, so we're vulnerable to retail activity. But our institutions, I believe, are in long and they support our business plan and strategy.”


New Battery Alternative Stores Huge Amounts of Energy
A research group at the University of Texas at Austin has taken a carbon-based nanomaterial called graphene, and developed it into a device that has the potential to vastly improve upon the energy storage capacity of batteries. Reportedly, graphene could also double the current maximum storage capacity of the group of battery alternatives known as ultracapacitors.

If the research group’s findings bear out when applied to reality, it could mean a complete phase change in the way we approach energizing not only our transportation sector, but our entire energy infrastructure.

According to Rod Ruoff, a mechanical engineering professor and the group leader, graphene ultracapacitors work in the same way that other ultracapacitors do, only with greatly increased storage capacity:

“Electrical charge can be rapidly stored on the graphene sheets, and released from them as well for the delivery of electrical current and, thus, electrical power. There are reasons to think that the ability to store electrical charge [on the graphene sheets] can be about double that of current commercially used materials. We are working to see if that prediction will be borne out in the laboratory.”

The graphene sheets are one atom thick and have a ridiculously large surface area — equal to an entire football field of surface area in less than a gram of graphene. It is this huge surface area that allows graphene to store an exceptional amount of charge on the sheets.

By now, many people who are interested in the future of transportation and alternative energy have heard about ultracapacitors — the most glorious of game-changers. And, chances are, if you’ve heard about ultracapacitors you’ve heard of EEStor and its relationship with ZENN Motors.

But while it’s true that EEStor is the loudest of the poster children for a burgeoning group of ultracapacitor dabblers, in a way, its publicity, secrecy and lack of data have given the ultracapacitor a kind of dubious credibility.

This is an unfortunate state of affairs because there are many others who are doing research on, and developing technology for, ultracapacitors, and whose research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals and has been presented in public forums.

In many ways, their work is what truly lends credence to the ultracapacitor’s claim to game-changing status because they’ve chosen to lay their work bare for all to see. Compare that to the near mythical EEStor’s clandestine deals with gigantic military organizations and small, seldom-heard-from electric car start-ups, and it’s no wonder people doubt the promise of ultracapacitors.

For those that are in the dark about what an ultracapacitor is, here’s a quick run down. The current method of storing electricity for later use is a battery that runs using some kind of chemical reaction (lead-acid, lithium ion, nickel metal hydride, etc.) — this is what makes them “batteries” by definition.

As an electrical energy storage device, the ultracapacitor works by storing a charge on microscopic sheets of various types of materials that are stacked together in a storage device.

While it’s true that advances in traditional battery technology are making leaps and bounds right now, the benefits of ultracapacitors over batteries are numerous, and include the ability to store and release charge extremely quickly (think 5-minute “fill-ups” at the energy station), as well as store huge amounts of charge relative to the size and weight of the device (think 500 mile trips on a power train that weighs about the same as a traditional engine and gas tank).

If I were a betting person, I’d lay the future of transportation on electric vehicles powered by ultracapacitors that provide a 500 mile range on a 5 minute “fill-up” and don’t cost much more than a gas or diesel vehicle you might buy today. Sound like a fantasy? I sure hope it’s not.


Trees self-power a wildfire alert network
Photo courtesy of Zachstern/Flick
This spring, a company called Voltree Power plans to test a wireless sensor network that taps into electricity generated naturally by trees in order to provide an early warning system against wildfires. The humidity and temperature sensors will be distributed over a 100-acre plot of land provided by the Forest Service. Based on the readings relayed by each sensor, the network can continually monitor forest conditions to predict fire hazard.

The unique element about these sensors is their power source: the Voltree sensors harvest metabolic energy from the trees themselves and convert it into electrical energy. The use of ambient sources of energy eliminates the need to replace batteries, which makes the system substantially cheaper to maintain. A theory of how that metabolic energy arises was reported in the journal Public Library of Science ONE last month. The lead author on the study is Voltree’s vice president of research and development… and a senior at MIT.

According to the paper, the tiny amount of energy from the trees emerges from a difference in the pH of a tree and its soil. Think of the soil as a chemical solution. The tree, its roots, and the surrounding soil form a region with one pH level, while the surrounding soil has a different pH. The two regions will attempt to reach equilibrium, so that the pH is the same throughout the soil. In doing so, the gradient between the different pH regions produces a voltage, and that can be exploited to produce and store electrical energy.

Much like the rain power we wrote about last January, tree power would only provide a trickle charge, tiny amounts of energy slowly accumulated and stored in a battery or ultracapacitor. Most environmental sensors are currently battery-powered or use small solar panels, though a few varieties may use piezoelectric materials, which produce a voltage when placed under mechanical stress. Voltree has designed the sensors to work with the Forest Service’s 2,200 remote automated weather stations to simplify the exchange of data between the nodes and fire managers. These stations form the backbone of the U.S.’s wildfire monitoring network by monitoring the weather and air quality, which, when combined with satellite imagery, can be used to predict fire.

Voltree’s founders believe that their sensors will provide more specific and timely information about the spread and threat of wildfire, enabling the Forest Service to move more quickly to save their trees.



Rotork To Showcase New Electric Control-Valve Actuators At WEFTEC.08
September 25, 2008

The new line of Rotork electric, non-intrusive CVA control-valve actuators provides a major technological advance in precise operation for a wide range of control-valve applications in water and wastewater treatment plants.

Other features include advanced HMI capabilities, state-of-the-art fail-to-position protection, and the elimination of costly air supplies. They are available in linear and quarter-turn actions and are easily integrated into most process control environments, including those that use Hart and Foundation Fieldbus protocols.

CVA actuators provide extremely precise control-valve operation with repeatability and resolution performance at <0.1% of full scale. They include, as a standard feature, wireless Bluetooth communication technology that can be used for quick and easy actuator set-up and adjustment.

Also, all Rotork CVA actuators incorporate a data logger, which provides an extensive record of such operational and maintenance-related data as valve torque profiles, dwell times, and relevant statistical information.

They utilize a built-in super-capacitor that provides an advanced, programmable method for fail-to-position protection.

Rotork CVA actuators can be specified for single-phase AC or DC electrical supplies.

For more information, send email to

SOURCE: Rotork Process Controls


New Graphene-Based Material Clarifies Graphite Oxide Chemistry
September 25, 2008
AUSTIN, Texas — A new "graphene-based" material that helps solve the structure of graphite oxide and could lead to other potential discoveries of the one-atom thick substance called graphene, which has applications in nanoelectronics, energy storage and production, and transportation such as airplanes and cars, has been created by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.
To get an idea of the nanomaterial graphene, imagine a lightweight material having the strongest chemical bond in nature and, thus, exceptional mechanical properties. In addition it conducts heat better than any other material and has charge carriers moving through it at a significant fraction of the speed of light. Just an atom thick, graphene consists of a "chickenwire" (or honeycomb) bonding arrangement of carbon atoms—also known as a single layer of graphite.
Mechanical Engineering Professor Rod Ruoff and his co-authors have, for the first time, prepared carbon-13 labeled graphite. They did this by first making graphite that had every "normal" carbon atom having the isotope carbon-12, which is magnetically inactive, replaced with carbon-13, which is magnetically active. They then converted that to carbon-13 labeled graphite oxide and used solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance to discern the detailed chemical structure of graphite oxide.
The work by Ruoff's team will appear in the Sept. 26 issue of the journal Science.
"As a result of our work published in Science, it will now be possible for scientists and engineers to create different types of graphene (by using carbon-13 labeled graphene as the starting material and doing further chemistry to it) and to study such graphene-based materials with solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance to obtain their detailed chemical structure," Ruoff says. "This includes situations such as where the graphene is mixed with a polymer and chemically bonded at critical locations to make remarkable polymer matrix composites; or embedded in glass or ceramic materials; or used in nanoelectronic components; or mixed with an electrolyte to provide superior supercapacitor or battery performance. If we don't know the chemistry in detail, we won't be able to optimize properties."

Graphene-based materials are a focus area of research at the university because they are expected to have applications for ultra-strong yet lightweight materials that could be used in automobiles and airplanes to improve fuel efficiency, the blades of wind turbines for improved generation of electrical power, as critical components in nanoelectronics that could have blazing speeds but very low power consumption, for electrical energy storage in batteries and supercapacitors to enable renewable energy production at a large scale and in transparent conductive films that will be used in solar cells and image display technology. In almost every application, sensitive chemical interactions with surrounding materials will play a central role in understanding and optimizing performance.

Ruoff and his team proved they had made such an isotopically labeled material from measurements by co-author Frank Stadermann of Washington University in St Louis. Stadermann used a special mass spectrometer typically used for measuring the isotope abundances of various elements that are in micrometeorites that have landed on Earth. Then, 100 percent carbon-13 labeled graphite was converted to 100 percent carbon-13 labeled graphite oxide, also a layered material but with some oxygen atoms attached to the graphene by chemical bonds.

Co-authors Yoshitaka Ishii and Medhat Shaibat of the University of Illinois-Chicago then used solid state nuclear magnetic resonance to help reveal the detailed chemical bonding network in graphite oxide. Ruoff says even though graphite oxide was first synthesized more than150 years ago the distribution of oxygen atoms has been debated even quite recently.

"The ability to control the isotopic labeling between carbon-12 and carbon-13 will lead to many other sorts of studies," says Ruoff, who holds the Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering #7.

He collaborates on other graphene projects with other university scientists and engineers such as Allan MacDonald (Departments of Physics and Astronomy), Sanjay Banerjee, Emanuel Tutuc and Bhagawan Sahu (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Gyeong Hwang (Department of Chemical Engineering), and some of these collaborations include industrial partners such as Texas Instruments, IBM and others.

Co-authors on the Science article include: Weiwei Cai, Richard Piner, Sungjin Park, Dongxing Yang, Aruna Velamakanni, Meryl Stoller and Jinho An (all of the Ruoff research group at The University of Texas at Austin); Sung Jin An, formerly of Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH-Korea) and a visiting graduate student in the Ruoff group during the study; Dongmin Chen (Beijing National Laboratory for Condensed Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences); Stadermann; and Ishii and Shaibat of the University of Illinois-Chicago.

A high-resolution photo of Ruoff is available. Learn more about Ruoff's work.

For more information, contact: Daniel Vargas, Cockrell School of Engineering, 512-471-7541; Rodney Ruoff, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering, 512-471-4691.


古河電池株式会社(本社:横浜市 社長:内海勝彦)は、米国の大手鉛電池メーカーであるイーストペン社(East Penn Manufacturing Co., Inc.)と、北米地域(米国、カナダ、メキシコ)において、先進鉛電池であるキャパシタハイブリッド型鉛電池「ウルトラバッテリー」 に関するライセンス供与契約を締結しました。
【問合せ先】 古河電池株式会社 経営企画室 企画部


The all-day laptop
By Andrew Mitchell

Laptop computers are only really portable to the extent that you can take them wherever there’s a plug. Technically you can work on battery power, but most batteries will conk out in less than four hours and usually much faster if you’re using them for applications like watching movies or playing games. Even surfing the Internet, which diverts battery power to your Wi-Fi card, will speed up the drain, as will plugging in peripherals like a camera or a mouse.

Plus, most of us know by now that it’s not good for your battery to run it down to nothing without recharging it right away, as it will hold less charge the next time you power up and will wear out faster in the long run.

Most new laptops offer low power modes that shut down Wi-Fi, dim screens, and shut down unnecessary applications.

Laptops with flash memory-based hard drives also prolong battery life, using a sixth as much power as it takes to spin and read the hard drive. A new line of laptops is also on the way that runs your operating system on Read Only Memory or ROM, booting up instantly and requiring less power.

Other power-saving technologies en route include lower power LED screens, thinner and more efficient circuitry, redesigned processors that eliminate the work of once-separate graphics cards, more efficient motherboards, low heat designs that reduce fan usage, and optimized software that loads faster and uses less memory. Each improvement adds to your battery life, and taken together can add up to hours.

However, the crux of so-called portable devices like laptops, PDAs, phones, music players and other electronics is still the capacity and life of the batteries themselves.

While labs are working on ultracapacitor batteries that will charge almost instantly, and incremental improvements are being made in capacity, the best solution these days is simply to build bigger batteries.

To that end, Hewlett Packard is releasing a new Elitebook 6930p with an optional 12-cell battery that can reportedly offer 24 hours of battery time — presumably in low power mode without using a lot of power-draining applications. Somehow the weight still comes in at a respectable 4.7 pounds, which is slightly heavier than most laptops its size but it’s not going to break any briefcase handles. The typical laptop battery has four to six cells.

While the doubled capacity should result in a battery life of about 10 hours, give or take, HP also packed this notebook with other power-saving features like an Illumi-Lite LED display that supposedly adds about four hours to your computing time. It also includes an SSD (flash memory) hard drive that uses far less power than a conventional hard drive, as well as other low-power hardware.

HP’s claims have yet to be tested, but they add up on paper. This laptop won’t be cheap, around $1,500, and it may not offer most users a full 24 hours — assuming that most of us are going to want to surf the web and watch movies instead of using Word or Excel all day with the screen dimmed. Still, even if can reliably provide even half that time it will still be a huge leap.

The last trend in computing was low-cost ultra portable laptops with tiny screens and keyboards. The next might be a string of endurance laptops that can make it from takeoff to landing on most flights.

There are other things you can do to get more battery life. Laptop owners frequently bring backup batteries with them, and there are a wide range of backpacks, briefcases, etc. that have built-in solar cells that can charge your battery while you walk around.

There are also back up external batteries you can buy for both laptops and gadgets. They can extend the life of gadgets like iPhones by 20 hours, and laptops for up to three hours for about $80.

The new future of music

This week SanDisk and the music industry confirmed the release of a new music format called slotMusic.

If you were wondering what would replace CDs, this is your answer. Basically it’s a memory card that is compatible with most devices, and that can be purchased at any music store. It can’t be scratched (which is my main beef with CDs), and there’s enough capacity that the sound doesn’t lose anything to compression.

Best of all, there is no embedded software that will prevent you from copying the music to your computer, making mixed CDs, etc., unlike most of the songs you download digitally from iTunes or other digital music stores. There’s also enough spare room to include bonuses like art, video, games — whatever the bands want to put on there.

I think this idea could fly. While I don’t enjoy the prospect of fiddling with a tiny flash card while driving, at least it’s an actual thing. I don’t have to worry about my hard drive crashing, or getting into trouble because I want to copy a song a few times because I want to listen to it at home, work and in the car.

Now all Whistler needs is a music store to sell them…


Graphene racks up the charge

A model of charged graphene with oppositely charged ions (represented by ping pong balls), which occurs in an ultracapacitor © Rod Ruoff
25 September 2008
Researchers in the US have used graphene, sheets of carbon that are just one atom thick, to improve the performance of energy-storage devices which could supersede batteries in electric cars.
Rod Ruoff and colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin say the vast surface area of graphene can be exploited to store greater amounts of charge in an ultracapacitor - a device that combines the advantages of a capacitor and a battery.1
Batteries store and release chemical energy slowly and are apt to degrade over time - but they can pack in huge amounts of charge. Traditional capacitors, meanwhile, soak up and release electrical charge in rapid bursts - useful when starting power-hungry engines - but can't store much of it. Ultracapacitors have a storage capacity many thousands of times greater than conventional capacitors, though they need to improve still further to rival battery storage.
'If we could get the energy density of an ultracapacitor to the level of a lead acid battery this would be a massive step forward - and maybe graphene could do this,' says Ruoff.
Ultracapacitors work by suspending electrodes with high surface area - such as highly porous carbon - in an electrolyte. When the electrode is charged with ions or electrons, the electrolyte polarises so that oppositely-charged ions nestle against the electrode surface, producing a highly dense electrical charge within the electrode.

'Because graphene has such a high surface area, if all of it were available to polarise the electrolyte the amount of charge we could dump on it would be very high,' says Ruoff. The researchers used a previously developed technique to make chemically modified sheets of graphene - starting with graphite oxide, shaving it into thin strips, and then chemically reducing the oxide to create carbon sheets one atom thick possessing a small amount of oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. The flexible sheets are then mixed with an electrolyte such as potassium hydroxide. They wrap themselves around the electrolyte, forming a close association.
In this way the US team made an ultracapacitor that could store 135 farads per gram of material, comparable to good current ultracapacitors. Ruoff says theoretical predictions suggest graphene's ability to store electrical charge could be about double that of current commercially used materials.
There has been a flurry of interest recently in the use of carbon nanotubes as electrode materials for ultracapacitors, but Ruoff believes that graphene could have the edge over these materials. 'With nanotubes much of the inner surface area can remain inaccessible to the electrolyte,' he says.
One recent exotic example of an ultracapacitor based on carbon nanotubes has been described by researchers in China, who attached highly porous clumps of manganese oxide ions onto stalks of carbon nanotubes protruding from a metal foil. The high porosity of the manganese oxide allows it to harbour a high density of ions, enabling the structure to hold around twice as much charge as conventional ultracapacitors.2
Mike Barnes, who works with ultracapacitors at the University of Manchester in the UK, is impressed by Ruoff's modified graphene device. 'The system they are using seems to give very competitive results even at this early stage of the research process,' he comments.
Simon Hadlington


Googleが「世界を変える」アイデアを募集,資金提供で実現をサポート 17:08
 米Googleは米国時間2008年9月24日,同社の創設10周年を記念して新しいプロジェクト「Project 10100(10 to the 100th)」を発表した。このプロジェクトは,「できるだけ多くの人を助け,世界を変える」アイデアを募集するもの。Googleは,選ばれた5つのアイデアの実現資金として1000万ドルを提供する。







2008/09/25 17:13


 なおNECトーキンは,この電気二重層コンデンサを2008年9月30日~10月4日に幕張メッセで開催する「CEATEC JAPAN 2008」に出展する。

吉澤 恵=日経エレクトロニクス






自然エネルギー発電システムの電力を平準化する「大容量ラミネート電池」も、こうした技術的な蓄積を基に開発したもので、その最大の特長は、約3,000~4,000回というサイクル特性。環境にやさしい、かつてない長寿命バッテリーなのです。「つまり365日、毎日1回フルに充電と放電を繰り返しても、10年間も使えるわけです。これほど優れたサイクル寿命を持つ電池を完成させることができたのは、やはり電気自動車向けバッテリーの開発で確立した技術があったからこそです。そもそも電気自動車の普及が進まなかった理由の一つは、電池のサイクル寿命が短かったから。わずか100回程度の充放電でバッテリーの寿命が尽きてしまうので、大量の電池を積みかえる必要があったのです」。こう語るのは、同社 マーケティング本部 ソリューション技術部 部長 堀仁孝氏。大容量ラミネート電池はこのほか、最大18Aの連続放電電流という出力性能を損なうことなく小型軽量化を実現し、設計の自由度が向上したこと、環境規制物質を禁止したRoHS指令に準拠していること、豊富な埋蔵量のマンガンを電池の主原料にしていることなどが、環境面から見た大きな特長となっています。


そして今後、同社は独自のバッテリー技術とNECのITを融合して、社会のさまざまな場所で浪費されている電力のムダを「見える化」し、企業/自治体向けの環境ソリューション・省電力サービスを展開していく構想を持っています。「日本の産業界は、すでにもう搾りつくせないほど徹底した省エネ・省電力が実施されていると言われますが、本当にそうでしょうか? 実は、まだまだ搾る余地はあるのですよ。そのためには、リアルタイムで使用機器ごとの浪費電力を測定して、適切な方法でムダを抑制していかなければなりません。また、電力消費のピーク時には、社会全体で電力を融通し合うという考え方が今後は不可欠になりますが、こうしたしくみをつくるには、私たちが持つエネルギーデバイスの技術に加えて、NECのITと情報システム構築のノウハウが必要。これらを融合して、温暖化ガス排出量の削減に貢献できる新しいチャレンジを始めたいと考えています」(堀氏)。


Ionova Technologies gets $75,000 TEDCO grant

Fraser Seymour, Ionova's president and chief executive officer, said he wants to be a part of providing mobile energy storage for the "unplugged generation."
Photo by Travis Pratt
Originally published September 24, 2008
By Ike Wilson News-Post Staff
Ionova Technologies Inc., one of seven Maryland startups to receive a portion of $525,000 in grant funding from the Maryland Technology Development Corp., wants to capitalize on the need for high-capacity electric power on the go.
Ionova, located on Thomas Johnson Drive in Frederick, is working with Naval Research Lab to further develop its 3-D nanofilm energy storage technology for use in next generation ultracapacitors and lithium ion batteries.

The company's $75,000 grant -- designed to foster greater collaboration between businesses and Maryland universities and federal laboratories in order to bring technology into the marketplace -- will be used to support some of its work with the Naval Research Lab.

"We are increasingly a generation unplugged," said Fraser Seymour, Ionova's president and chief executive officer. "Hybrid/electric vehicles are unplugged from the gas pump. Wireless phones are unplugged from the office. Portable computers are unplugged from the desk. Cordless power tools are unplugged from the wall."

Unfortunately, the battery and supercapacitor technologies enabling this freedom have not kept pace, Seymour said.

Ionova Technologies is working to change this by creating energy storage devices with improved energy density, charge and discharge rates, cycle life, safety and cost based on its revolutionary 3-D nanofilm materials, Seymour said.

"In other words, we want to provide energy innovation for the unplugged generation," Seymour said. "While a lot of people are interested in energy conversion, such as using solar and windmill, of particular interest to me is storing energy for mobile applications."

Two device types involved in mobile energy storage are rechargeable batteries and supercapacitors. Ionova's technology can significantly improve each of these, which makes it unique and exciting, said Seymour, a 20-year Middletown resident.

"I want to do something important in this realm of energy storage," Seymour said. "I want to be one of the people who helped make it happen."

Ionova was created in late 2006 to commercialize this technology, starting with nanomaterials research that Seymour and the Naval Research Lab were conducting independently.

"It had become clear to me no matter what energy solution takes hold, electrical energy storage would be at the center of it," Seymour said.

There is certainly a very large market for mobile energy storage, including cars and computer companies, he said.

"If you do your science right, if you do your homework right, the money will come," Seymour said.

Ionova is the second technology company Seymour has built. The first, also here in Frederick, was Woodwind Communications Systems in the 1990s, which developed and supplied network and telecommunications products.

The company raised $17 million in institutional venture capital and was acquired for a mostly-stock deal with a peak, pre-dot-com crash value of more than $100 million, Seymour said.

Companies that also received grants are located in Silver Spring, Baltimore, Germantown and Elkton with technologies ranging from Internet TV and movie watching to vaccines for staph.



2008年9月25日 木曜日
Jack Ewing (BusinessWeek誌、欧州担当エディター)
米国時間2008年9月11日更新 「A Mercedes Hybrid at Last」




















図2 電池ユニット搭載部分

2008/09/24 19:29
東芝は,負極材料にチタン酸リチウムを用いて安全性を高めたLiイオン2次電池「SCiB」が米Cannondale Sports Group, L.L.C.(Cannondale社)の電動アシスト付き自転車に採用されたと2008年9月24日に発表した。同自転車は,Cannondale社が展開する「SCHWINN」ブランドの「tailwind」として2009年初めに北米と欧州で販売を開始する予定(図1,2)。2008年9月24~26日に米国ラスベガスで開催される「Interbike Expo」でCannondale社が展示する。今回の電動アシスト付き自転車には4.2Ahのセルを10個直列に接続した電池モジュールを搭載する。そのため,電圧は25Vで電力容量は105Wh程度になるとみられる。



Reading Eagle, Pa., Business Log column: East Penn to manufacture hybrid battery
Tue. September 23, 2008; Posted: 08:53 AM
Learn Which Are The Best Stocks to Trade Today!
Sep 23, 2008 (Reading Eagle - McClatchy-Tribune News Service via COMTEX) -- FKWBF | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- Sep. 23--East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc ., near Lyons, has entered into an exclusive agreement with Furukawa Battery Co ., a Japanese battery-manufacturing company, to release the Ultra Battery in North America.
East Penn, the No. 2 employer in Berks County and manufacturer of batteries, will manufacture the UltraBattery.

The new technology enhances the ability of the battery to accept and deliver high levels of power with low levels of electrical resistance similar to a supercapacitor.

Traditionally, supercapacitor and lead-acid batteries are separate components relying on electronic controllers and complex algorithms to switch power between both units.

This new technology eliminates the need for additional electronic control and multiple energy storage devices.

East Penn said the UltraBattery is ideal for hybrid electric vehicles, which rely on a battery-operated electric motor to meet peak power needs during acceleration and recapture energy normally wasted through braking to recharge the battery.

East Penn said it continues to explore new alternative battery technologies, but it strongly believes there is a future for lead-acid technology.

Healthworks Inc ., Douglassville, a specialty health care services company, and Royal Philips Electronics announced a collaboration to provide clinical specialists with new education programs and training resources across a range of clinical subjects.

The areas include peripheral angiography, interventional radiology, electrophysiology and invasive cardiology.

These programs -- available online and through live, instructor-led seminars -- are designed for cardiovascular and imaging technologists, as well as nursing professionals, working in health care provider organizations such as hospitals, imaging centers and physician group practices.

The collaboration will include the marketing of a series of Web-based seminars, the creation and instructor-led delivery of clinical content, and the combining of Healthworks' library of multimedia content with Philips Healthcare's clinical offerings.

The programs will be offered at Philips' training campus in Cleveland and delivered globally on the Philips Learning Center.

Healthworks provides the health-science training, while Philips provides the equipment training.

John J. Woytko Jr. is co-owner of Nrgize Lifestyle Cafe , inside LA Fitness Center , Wyomissing.

Woytko manages daily operations, serving fruit smoothies with or without supplements, assorted waters, coffee, bagels, wraps, salads, fruit snacks, healthy snacks and energy drinks. The cafe offers free wireless Internet service and it is open to nonmembers.

Woytko was general manager at Wawa, Wyomissing.

Woytko and co-owner Scott Gaul bought the franchise from Kahala Corp., Scottsdale, Ariz., for $135,000. They have fi ve employees.

Penske Truck Leasing, Green Hills, opened a new facility in Austin, Texas.

The 16,000-square-foot facility, employing 15 associates, offers truck leasing, contract maintenance and commercial and consumer truck-rental services.

The structure features six vehicle service bays, a truckwashing bay and a two-lane fuel island with high-speed fuel pumps for fast service.

Seniors Helping Seniors In-Home Services, Wyomissing Hills, has established a new franchise in Charlotte, N.C.

The newest franchise is owned and operated by Sharon Mayfield of Mint Hill, N.C.

To see more of the Reading Eagle, or to subscribe, go to Copyright (c) 2008, Reading Eagle, Pa. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

For full details for FKWBF click here.


ソーラータクシー 世界を行く

アメリカのメディアがソーラータクシーを取り巻く (swissinfo)
2008/09/19 - 15:26
世界一周を目指し、2007年7月にスイスのルツェルンを出発したスイス製のソーラータクシーがニューヨークに到着した。 潘基文 ( パン・ギムン ) 国連事務総長もお客として乗せたという。

 と誇り高く語るのはルツェルンの教師、ルイス・パルメール氏 ( 36歳 ) だ。バッテリーがいっぱいなら、300キロメートルを最高時速90キロで走行できる。




 アメリカでのお客の代表格は、何と言っても潘基文 国連事務総長。次いでニューヨーク市長、マイケル・ブルームバーク氏、映画「タイタニック」の監督、ジィムス・カメロン氏などがこれに続く。

 ソーラータクシーのスポンサーや製作協力者を探したパルメール氏だが、最終的に車体はルツェルンの工業高等学校とチューリヒ連邦工科大学 ( ETHZ/EPFZ ) 、およびスイスの幾つかの研究所が共同で製作した。ソーラーパネルはドイツ製だ。

 これはプロトタイプの試作品だが、製作者たちは技術的に大量生産にも何の問題もなく、1台およそ1万5000フラン ( 約150万円 ) で製作可能だと言う。




swissinfo、リタ・エムフ、ニューヨークにて 里信邦子 ( さとのぶ くにこ ) 訳






お得で安全なエコドライブテクニック/第16回 そもそも燃費とは何か?
燃費を良くするためには、運転するときに燃費を気にすることが重要なことだ。まず向上心を持つこと、そしてどうすれば燃費が良くなるかを考えること、さらにそれを実行することで良い結果が得られる。その話をする前に、「燃費」という言葉の定義を確認しておこう。燃費というのは省略した言葉だが、「燃料消費量」の略なのか、「燃料消費率」の略なのか? 消費量なら使用量の絶対値になり、何リッター使ったかという話になる。燃料消費率なら走行距離に対する使用量の関係を表している。一般的にはなんとなく両方の意味合いで使っているが、ここでは「燃料消費率」という定義でお話しする。燃料消費率を“良く”するには、同じ距離を走ったときに使用する燃料をいかに少なくするか、ということがテーマになる。それはドライブテクニックの一部である。一方、燃料消費量を“良く”するには「走らない」という選択肢も出てくるので、少しだけ意味合いが違ってくるというわけだ。
このときの計算方法は 「年間の走行距離÷年間の給油量」 にする必要がある。


Squeezing Juice from the Sun: Tapping Solar Energy Could Provide Limitless Power
nächste Meldung 22.09.2008
The biggest energy bang for the buck comes from sunlight, says Binghamton University researcher Seshu Desu. And together with his research team, he’s hoping to tap into that immense supply of renewable energy and make it easily accessible as a flexible, large-area and low-cost, power source.

Focusing on creating autonomous power systems based on flexible thin-film solar cells, Desu is hoping to increase efficiency through novel design and restructuring of the cell itself.

“We’re attacking both sides of the problem: We want an integrated system that can generate power with solar cells and store that power more efficiently and at a lower cost,” said Desu, dean of Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the head of the research team tackling how to harness the sun’s energy potential.

Although the typical generation efficiency of these solar cells today is about 10 percent, Desu says that the developing field of nanotechnology can help achieve this goal. When materials are structured into much smaller dimensions as nanoparticles, it increases the number of surfaces. This, in turn, increases the capacity to interact with the environment without increasing the size of the basic unit. Materials also have other unexpected and often beneficial properties when their sizes are reduced to nano levels. Desu’s research will take advantage of these as yet unknown properties in constructing the next generation of thin-film solar cells, in which nanoparticles cover a large surface area to maximize generation efficiency, reduce the cost and increase reliability.

“The solar energy we could access in one day could support the electricity needs of the Earth for a year at the present rate of consumption,” Desu added. “By 2015, solar cells as power sources could be a huge industry.

The other side of the coin in developing lower cost power sources using solar cells is that the energy that is produced must be stored efficiently and still provide ready, reliable access for several years. Desu compares marathon runners and sprinters to explain the current state of energy storage devices.

“Batteries are marathoners — they have high energy density but low power density,” he explained. “Capacitors are the opposite because they can supply high levels of power quickly, such as when you turn on your laptop computer.”

The problem with energy-dense batteries is their size and lifetime, whereas lightning-fast capacitors run down quickly. The solution is to combine the best qualities of both into a supercapacitor, Desu said.

“Potential for solar energy utilization can be maximized when the solar cells are integrated with high-efficient energy storage supercapacitor devices that could accommodate the accelerated power needs. We were able to produce supercapacitors with significantly high energy and power densities with extremely long cycle lifetimes using the advantages of nanostructuring as well as thin-film nanocomposite materials,” he said. “To achieve high-energy density and prevent self-discharge through open circuit reactions, we developed inorganic and organic solid-state electrolytes as gels or membranes with ionic conductors that are biologically derived.”

Integrated solar-cell supercapacitor structures as autonomous power sources are also being investigated, Desu added. And the direct applications of the autonomous power system based on solar cells are found everywhere, not just in computers or electronic gadgets.

“Research should ultimately transfer scientific innovations into useful products and processes that would benefit society. It’s not just curiosity,” he said.

In addition to flexible, large-area autonomous power sources, there is a growing need for highly efficient large-area lighting. For that latter purpose, some members of Desu’s group are developing ZnObased light-emitting diodes (LED). His group has also been developing flexible thin film medical sensing devices. Desu suggests that due to their flexibility and precision detection capacity, these sensing devices could be built into the environment. For example, if built into the walls of a shower stall, the devices would remain unobtrusive yet provide accurate monitoring of potential health threats.

“The future exists in latent form in the present and if we can identify dangerous conditions, such as cancer growth, in their latent phase, intervention is easy and less costly,” says Desu. “We’re trying to migrate flexible electronics into that area of application. In effect, our cars are better monitored than our bodies are.”

Gail Glover | Quelle: Newswise Science News
Weitere Informationen:


Carbon Nanotube Supercapacitors May Replace Clunky Car Batteries
Posted by Kit Eaton at 11:00 PM on September 22, 2008
Carbon nanotubes are one of the surprising new carbon supermaterials, and it looks like their application in supercapacitors may have a role in replacing clunky old car battery tech. Scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas have invented a technique to make supercapacitor "paper" made from randomly tangled carbon nanotubes embedded in a polymer. Both chemical batteries and capacitors store electrical charge, in differing ways, but nanotech supercapacitors could store more energy in a smaller space, without the dangers associated with chemical systems. Potentially excellent news given the rise of the hybrid car. Better yet the new technique is "easily scalable for device fabrication on an industrial scale," so it might end up in real products sooner rather than later. [Physorg]


Nanoflowers To Change The Future Of Batteries
Sep 21, 2008 1255 hrs IST
One giant leap for batterykind?
E-Mail Print If there's one thing that's holding back the future of miniature technology, it's the battery. The HCL MiLeap Y, for example, is an excellent device, but usually dies a few minutes after watching a full-length movie--ditto similar UMPCs.

For long now, one of the most promising concepts for new batteries has been the ultracapacitor--like a capacitor, it stores charge, and can be recharged in just a few seconds. Right now, though, they can only store about 5% of the lithium-ion batteries that we use so much. Until now, that is. Researchers at the Research Institute of Chemical Defense, China, have come up with a way to boost the charge that ultracapacitors could hold.

They're called nanoflowers, and are nanoparticles of manganese dioxide. When used as the electrodes of the capacitors, the manganese nanoflowers deliver five times the power that traditional activated carbon electrodes do.

Unfortunately, that still puts them well behind current batteries even though you could recharge them in seconds, they'll only last you a half hour, at best. However, this is one of those "steps in the right direction" that everyone keeps talking about.


Daily TIPs: Intelligent Clouds, Ultracapacitors, Adopter Shortage, & More
Neil Savage 9/19/08
Chicago Plans to Cut Greenhouse Gases
The City of Chicago wants to cut its emission of greenhouse gases to three-quarters of 1990 levels by 2020, and one-fifth of 1990 levels by 2050. The Associated Press reports that the plan includes updating the city’s building code to improve insulation and heating and cooling systems in all buildings, increasing recycling and carpooling, and promoting alternative fuels. Chicago emits 34.6 metric tons of greenhouse gases each year.

Scientist Automates Nanotube Production

Carbon nanotubes hold the promise of making lighter aircraft, splitting hydrogen from water to use as fuel, and making high-density batteries, among other innovations. But it can takes researchers hours of fussing with tiny adjustments to a nanomaterial-building furnace to make enough of the little buggers to perform experiments. Now Wired tells us that Stephen Steiner, a graduate student at MIT, has written a program based on English syntax and fuzzy logic to automate the furnace and produce longer and more uniform nanotubes.

Researchers Synthesize Cancer Protein

Scientists trying to cure cancer have a new tool in their arsenal, thanks to researchers who have figured out how to synthesize a protein that plays an important role in some types of cancer and immune system diseases. Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have applied for a patent on a protein known as a chemokine, UPI reports. The researchers say having the protein available will allow them to perform studies on new methods of treating cancer.

Web Running Out of Early Adopters

With all the users of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and their associated applications, developers of new Web 2.0 services are facing application overload, a column in the New York Times warns. Developers are finding that there are so many applications out there, getting people to try your new one often means convincing them they should drop one they’re already using. This may explain why I haven’t looked at my Friendster account in months.

Future May Bring Intelligent Cloud

Over at the official Google blog, Google employees are speculating about what the future holds for development of the Internet. An engineer and a research scientist look at the growth of parallel-processing computer clusters becoming increasingly linked and handling more and more data, and suggest that the computing cloud may develop a form of intelligence. I’m pretty sure I read that in a Heinlein novel, and it didn’t work out so well for the builders of the computer.

IBM Looks Ahead to Even Smaller Transistors

Computer chips have become more powerful by cramming more and smaller transistors into the same space, and the industry right now is moving from technology where the key size measurement is 65 nanometers to 45-nanometer technology. But as CNET News reports, IBM is looking a couple technology generations ahead, to 22-nanometer devices. The challenge they’re tackling: Technology to produce such small features doesn’t yet exist, and it’s not obvious how to create it.

New Device Could Replace Batteries in Electric Cars

Capacitors, which store energy electrically instead of chemically, the way batteries do, may be better than batteries in electric vehicles because they can charge and discharge energy much faster. The problem is that they don’t typically hold very much of a charge. Now Chinese scientists say they’ve designed an ultracapacitor, based on an array of carbon nanotubes, that can store enough energy to be practical for use in a car, New Scientist reports.

Web Science Aims to Study the Internet

The development of the World Wide Web has brought about developments that nobody predicted back in the early days of the Internet, from the rise of social networking to the increase in identity theft. As Scientific American tells us, in an article co-authored by WWW creator Tim Berners-Lee, a new discipline known as “web science” is arising. The aim of web science is to discover how society-changing effects arise on the Web and to try to harness them for the common good.


Important Twist in Supercapacitor Research/Nanotechnology Shows Promise in Quest for Improved Power Storage Devices

The cover photo from Synthetic Metals shows a scanning electron microscope image of a single-walled carbon nanotube sheet consisting of randomly entangled bundles of carbon nanotubes.
Sept. 19, 2008
Car batteries as we know them today may soon be relics.
Storing energy in clunky containers with limited shelf lives has plagued car makers and military engineers who need lightweight, powerful and reliable means to crank engines into life, enliven radios and operate other electronic appliances.

But research by post-doctoral Researcher Jiyoung Oh and Research Scientist Mikhail “Mike” Kozlov at UT Dallas’ NanoTech Institute offers tantalizing insights into a new, lightweight, reliable means of delivering power via the mighty supercapacitor. A photograph of a material obtained in their research made the cover of the journal Synthetic Metals along with the published paper, (Synthetic Metals, 158 (2008) 638).

“We were extremely proud to see the scanning electron micrograph of our carbon nanotube sheet on the cover of this research journal,” Kozlov said. “The focus of this journal is on important accomplishments in the field of conductive polymers and molecular electronics.”

Supercapacitors are beefed-up electronic components that can be charged and counted on to store energy reliably for long periods. They deliver power in a smooth, steady stream safe for operating sensitive electronics. Unlike car lead batteries, which are typically heavier and bulkier, capacitors and super-capacitors accumulate electric charge instead of delivering it via a chemical reaction.

Being lightweight, reliable, safe and efficient while also offering a steady stream of power is a prized set of attributes that technology designers readily seek out. But how do they bridge the gap between current designs that call for batteries and the virtually limitless design possibilities offered when supercapacitors offer up power and the battery box disappears? That’s where Drs. Oh and Kozlov step in.

The team, along with legendary nanotechnology pioneer Dr. Ray Baughman, developed a means to create supercapacitors using “paper” sheets of single-walled carbon nanotubes embedded with a special polymer called polypyrrole.

Imagine if the boxy, heavy car battery morphed into something light, strong, perhaps paper-thin and flexible that could be molded to fit elsewhere in the vehicle—even hidden in plain sight. Getting rid of the weight and bulk of batteries could prove especially helpful in hybrid car designs, which today rely on a suitcase-sized array of hefty, metal batteries. And that’s just one application.

“Our electrode preparation procedure is an extension of conventional bucky-paper [a film made of 100 percent carbon nanotubes] fabrication technique for the multi-component system,” Oh said. “This procedure is easily scalable for device fabrication on an industrial scale.”

This team’s research was supported in part by the International Research Internship Program of the Korea Research Foundation, a Korea Research Foundation Grant, a Robert A. Welch Foundation grant and funds from the LINTEC Corporation—a firm that collaborates with UT Dallas’ NanoTech Institute on supercapacitor research.
Media Contacts: Brandon V. Webb, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155,
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155,



2008/09/18 12:30
 米Googleと米General Electric(GE)は米国時間2008年9月17日,クリーン・エネルギーの推進に向けた取り組みを協力して進めていくことを明らかにした。GEが専門とする電気技術と,Googleが専門とするIT技術を生かして,政策面と技術面の両面から活動を進めるという。政策面では,新時代にふさわしい発電設備や送配電網の整備を目標として,米政府に向けた提言や働きかけを行う。再生可能エネルギーの大規模な利用が可能となるインフラを整え,電気の効率よい使用とCO2排出量の削減を目指す。技術面では,再生可能エネルギー技術の開発や,電気自動車の普及に向けた活動を進める。まずは,地熱発電の新技術「Enhanced Geothermal Systems(EGS)」や,家庭で充電できるプラグイン式の電気自動車に関する技術に力を入れる。Googleはこれまでも,環境保護に関連する取り組みや投資を行ってきた。地熱発電やプラグイン電気自動車の普及に関する投資も既に行っている(関連記事,地熱発電の新技術開発に1000万ドル強を投資,Google,プラグイン・ハイブリッドカー普及促進に1000万ドル超出資へ)。


The Climate is Right for Trains: Innovations From Bombardier Transportation Take Center Stage at InnoTrans 2008
BERLIN, GERMANY--(Marketwire - September 18, 2008) - Innovative rail
products, a record number of seven vehicles on display including two
vehicle world premieres and the launch of a breakthrough portfolio of
energy- and cost-saving technologies will form the core of Bombardier
Transportation's participation at this year's InnoTrans 2008 (23-26
September) in Berlin. Presenting its extensive product range under
the motto, "The Climate is Right for Trains", the global market
leader in rail technology has significantly increased its exhibition
areas both at its indoor stand and on its open-air grounds compared
to InnoTrans 2006.

As InnoTrans is by far the biggest fair for the rail industry,
Bombardier Transportation's highlights will include the double
world-premieres of the new BOMBARDIER TALENT 2 regional train and the
BOMBARDIER FLEXITY Berlin tram. In addition to these and other
vehicles in the outdoor exhibition area, Bombardier Transportation
will also launch BOMBARDIER ECO4, a new portfolio of technologies,
products and services for total train performance.

"We believe that our industry is facing great opportunities today,"
said Andre Navarri, President of Bombardier Transportation before the
start of InnoTrans 2008 in Berlin. "As the cost of energy and the
need to improve efficient performance are challenging rail operators
globally, Bombardier is playing a key role in shaping sustainable
mobility for the 21st century. Responding to our customers' needs, we
are delivering cutting-edge products to rail operators to optimize
efficiency and environmental performance. That is why we believe:
That the climate has never been better for trains from Bombardier,"
he added.

Bombardier Transportation Vehicles and Major Products on Display at

TALENT 2 regional train

The TALENT 2 represents a new era in regional and suburban rail
transport and sets completely new standards in technology, safety,
traveling comfort and design. The two- to six-car electrical units
are fully air-conditioned, equipped with modern passenger information
displays and can be arranged flexibly and individually on account of
their modular construction. With high acceleration and up to two
sliding plug doors on each side of the car, the TALENT 2 offers ideal
conditions for speedy regional and suburban railway traffic, among
other things as a basic model in the vehicle fleet of the DB Regio
starting in autumn 2009. The TALENT 2 will be unveiled by the
Deutsche Bahn CEO, Hartmut Mehdorn and Andre Navarri, President
Bombardier Transportation, on September 23, 2008, the first day of

FLEXITY Berlin light rail vehicle

Another world-premiere, the new FLEXITY Berlin tram is tailored to
fulfill all requirements placed on modern public transport in urban
areas. The 100% low-floor vehicles feature wide double doors, level
entrances, generous passenger compartments and air-conditioned driver
and passenger areas. They can be delivered as a uni- or
bi-directional specification and feature regenerative braking in
order to minimize energy consumption. Together with the Berliner
Verkehrsbetriebe BVG, Bombardier Transportation based the design on
the classic Bauhaus style. The FLEXITY Berlin tram will be presented
to the public at a ceremony given by BVG on Friday, September 19, in

FLEXITY Frankfurt light rail vehicle

As part of an extensive renewal program, Frankfurt am Main has
increased its light rail vehicle fleet by 146 state-of-the-art
FLEXITY Frankfurt, consistent in design with the proven platform of
Bombardier' successful FLEXITY tram family. For high operational
flexibility, the FLEXITY Frankfurt can be delivered in two different
lengths (25m and 50m).

Hybrid AGC regional train

The new Hybrid AGC (Autorail Grande Capacite) train is the world's
first dual-mode (electrical and diesel) and dual-voltage regional
train. The Hybrid AGC uses an electric drive system on electrified
stretches and is powered by a diesel engine on non-electrified
stretches. It can seamlessly switch between the two modes. An
extended front guarantees higher crash safety - thereby making the
AGC one of the safest trains in the world.

BOMBARDIER SPACIUM 3.O6 commuter train

This new generation of commuter trains for the Ile de France and
greater Paris regions are setting new standards in modern,
comfortable commuter rail transportation. The trains feature extra
wide bodies of 3.06 meters, high visibility throughout, CCTV for
added security, an IP based information and communications system. A
total of 800 to 1,000 passengers can be accommodated, over half of
them seated. A modern design boasts smooth curves and vivid colors,
the train also features an LED-based lighting and a state-of-the-art
Passenger Information and Entertainment System.


One of the biggest success stories in European rail transport is the
TRAXX locomotive family to be presented in both the diesel-electric
as well as the electric multi-system specifications. It covers a
modular platform of locomotives for all major catenary systems in
Europe. The locomotives are all designed for cross-border traffic.
The four TRAXX locomotive types AC, MS, DC and DE have a high degree
of commonality, resulting in significant life cycle cost savings for
rail operators. Of the two TRAXX locomotives presented, the TRAXX
F140 MS multi-system locomotive can be deployed freely within four
catenary systems and is already pre-configured for the future
European train control and safety systems ETCS/ERTMS. The TRAXX F140
DE diesel-electric locomotive comes with a new engine generation,
which will reduce emissions significantly.


Another innovative product is based on Bombardier Transportation's
mechatronic platform and will wrap up the company's presentations.
The showcased FLEXX Track system is a sensor-based measurement tool
designed to monitor track conditions and evaluate their deterioration
over time. In addition, InnoTrans will see the new FLEXX Tronic
technology, one of Bombardier's new ECO4 products, developed to
overcome the limitations of conventional bogies with passive steering
and suspension elements.

New EcoActive Technologies Combine to Maximize Energy, Efficiency,
Economy, and Ecology for Operators
In addition to the two world premieres and new vehicles presented,
Bombardier Transportation will also launch ECO4, an innovative
portfolio of technologies, products and services that maximize energy
efficient operation and total train performance. With these
technologies, Bombardier Transportation is first in the industry to
create a new formula for total train performance with a portfolio
that is operable and can create substantial overall energy savings of
up to 50%.

The ECO4 family of EcoActive technologies include these technologies:

- AeroEfficient Optimized Train Shaping: software that enables
reduction in aerodynamic drag by 25 per cent, saving energy for
traction use.

- ThermoEfficient Climatization System: An intelligent, low-energy
interior climate concept for all rail vehicles, helping to improve
comfort levels for passengers while saving energy.

- BOMBARDIER MITRAC Permanent Magnet Motor: A modern engine
technology enabling an increase of propulsion chain efficiency.

- BOMBARDIER EBI Drive 50 Driver Assistance System: A software that
can help save up to 15 per cent of traction energy by assisting the
driver with information on speed and traction force.

- C.L.E.A.N. Diesel Power Pack: A propulsion system for DMUs in the
660 kW class meeting the exhaust emission limits Stage III-B. This
technology is now production-ready in conformity with EU emission
guidelines that will come into effect in 2012.

- BOMBARDIER EnerGplan Simulation Tool: A simulation tool for
energy-optimized total transit systems.

- MITRAC Energy Saver: Regenerative braking that saves up to 30 per
cent of energy by storing it in ultracapacitors while braking and
re-using it when needed.

- BOMBARDIER PRIMOVE Catenary-free Operation: This new and unique
solution allows operation of trams without overhead wires. The power
is transferred safely and contactlessly from the ground. The system
also includes the MITRAC Energy Saver.

- BOMBARDIER FLEXX Tronic Technology: This technology provides unique
functionalities for Active Radial Steering and Bogie Stabilization,
leading to less wheel and rail wear, thus offering considerably
extended maintenance and exchange intervals.

- Energy Management Control System: A device monitoring the train's
fuel and electric consumption while in service for a detailed
analysis in order to review a track's set-up.

Bombardier Transportation Media Activities InnoTrans 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Event: Presentation of FLEXITY Berlin (organized by BVG)
Time: 11.00am
Location: Strabenbahnbetriebshof Lichtenberg, Siegfriedstr. 30-45,
10365 Berlin

Monday, September 22, 2008

Event: Bombardier Transportation International Press Conference on
InnoTrans 2008 with Andre Navarri, President Bombardier
Time: 3.00pm
Location: Bombardier Transportation Headquarters, Schoneberger Ufer 1,
10785 Berlin

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Event: World Premiere of TALENT 2 with Hartmut Mehdorn, CEO Deutsche
Bahn AG, and Andre Navarri, President Bombardier
Time: 8.45am
Location: InnoTrans 2008, Bombardier outdoor exhibition area (FA/6),

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Event: "TRAXX on New Tracks" - Handover of TRAXX F140 MS to
Belgian National Railways SNCB
Time: 3.00pm
Location: InnoTrans 2008 Bombardier outdoor exhibition area (FA/6), in
front of TRAXX MS locomotive

Note to Editors:

About Bombardier Transportation

Bombardier Transportation has its global headquarters in Berlin,
Germany with a presence in over 60 countries. It has an installed
base of over 100,000 vehicles worldwide. The Group offers the
broadest product portfolio and is recognized as the leader in the
global rail sector.

About Bombardier

A world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions,
from commercial aircraft and business jets to rail transportation
equipment, systems and services, Bombardier Inc. is a global
corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year
ended Jan. 31, 2008, were $17.5 billion US, and its shares are traded
on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). Bombardier is listed as an index
component to the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America
indexes. News and information are available at

SPACIUM, TALENT and TRAXX are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its
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Can nanoscopic meadows drive electric cars forward?

Carbon nanotube "blades of grass" pump an electric current into manganese oxide "nanoflowers", which can then attract ions out of solution. (Image: American Chemical Society)

17:59 17 September 2008 news service
Colin Barras
Nanoscale meadows of grass and flowers could hold the key to increasing the amount of energy that can be stored in ultracapacitors, devices tipped to replace batteries in high-demand applications like electric cars.
Batteries are slow to recharge because they store energy chemically. By contrast, capacitors, which are common in electronics, are short-term stores of electrical energy that charge almost instantaneously but hold little energy.
In recent years capacitors able to store thousands of times as much energy as standard ones, called ultracapacitors, have been developed, leading experts to suggest they could power future devices and even electric cars.
First however, their energy storage capacity needs to improve further. Chinese researchers have just reported a new approach to doing that which could see them become practical.
Ion spongeUltracapacitors are simple devices. They are charged by applying a voltage to two electrodes suspended in a solution so that positive ions head to one electrode and negative ions to the other.
Energy is stored because the electrodes are coated with a porous material that soaks up ions like a sponge, usually activated carbon. Improvements in ultracapacitor capacity so far have come from making those carbon sponges with more pores.
Now Hao Zhang at the Research Institute of Chemical Defence in Beijing, China, and colleagues at Peking University have taken a different approach. They store ions in manganese oxide (MnO), a material with a much greater capacity for ions than activated carbon.
However, although MnO holds ions well, it has a high electrical resistance, making it difficult to charge it with voltage to attract ions in the first place.
Double chargeThe researchers addressed that by creating a "nanomeadow" of microscopic structures – fuzzy flowers of MnO each about 100 nanometres across on a field of messy carbon nanotube grass grown on a tantalum metal foil (see image, right).
Each flower attaches to at least two of the blades of grass, which act like electron superhighways, says Zhang, forming strong electrical connections to the flowers. The usually resistant MnO can then be charged up to attract the ions it can store so well.
As a result, the nanomeadow performs 10 times better than MnO alone and can store twice as much charge as the carbon-based electrodes in existing ultracapacitors.
Zhang says that the nanomeadow's complex structure is resistant to the mechanical degradation that reduces the performance of ultracapacitors over time. The energy capacity of the new device drops by just 3% after 20,000 charge and discharge cycles, better than other high-capacity designs.
To the streetsMike Barnes at the University of Manchester, UK, says this is an interesting approach to improving ultracapacitor performance.
But he points out that that a design ready for market needs to be even more resistant to physical degradation. In vehicles, ultracapacitors are charged during braking, which might happen about 60 times per hour in urban situations.
A delivery van working a five-day, 8-hour week would clock up 120,000 cycles in a year. Going by Zhang's figures, that would cut its ultracapacitor's storage ability by at least 15%, something that needs to improve before the nanomeadow design is ready for the road.
Journal Reference: Nano Letters, DOI: 10.1021/nl800925j
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