A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

New batteries could share a unique bond with milk and kitchen foil

Credit: Gettyimages

The End of Lithium-ion batteries

Since the discovery of electricity, inventors have struggled with how to store it. Batteries emerged relatively quickly as the most common way to preserve energy chemically, but from portability to rechargeability, it has taken centuries of tweaking elemental combinations to create the batteries our modern devices depend on.

Lithium-ion batteries have fuelled our age of portable electronics, but they have increasingly become a victim of their own success. Lithium mining is expensive, and the metal is dangerous to handle, making processing and recycling difficult.

Demand is also outstripping available supplies, whose geographic isolation in places like the Australian outback can make supply chains difficult.

EU data shows that Europe will need up to 60 times more lithium by 2050 to fulfil the demand for electric car batteries and renewable energy storage that will form the backbone of reaching emissions goals laid out in the European Green Deal.

That has led researchers like Dr M. Rosa Palacín to try and create similarly effective batteries out of more abundant elements found right inside Europe. Based at ICMAB-CSIC near Barcelona, she and her team from around the EU aim to build a prototype battery that uses periodic neighbour calcium instead of lithium. The effort is funded by a European Innovation Council Open Pathfinder grant and has been dubbed the CARBAT project.

Found in everything from bones to chalk, calcium is roughly 2000 times more common than lithium.

'Calcium is one the most abundant elements on the earth's crust,' said Dr Palacín. 'It's not as geographically concentrated as lithium is. This could make a battery cheap because the raw material is cheap.'

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Lightweight, bendy, cheaper – the promise of organic solar panels

Organic 'solar trees', demonstrated at Expo 15 in Milan, Italy, give a glimpse of lightweight, flexible solar cells in action. Image credit - ARMOR/GerArchitektur

The future of solar energy

Today's silicon solar panels are an industry standard, but these rigid, heavy blocks may be shunted aside by plastic rivals – lightweight, flexible solar panels that could be printed and stuck onto buildings or placed in windows or cars, turning light into electricity in locations inaccessible to their heavier cousins.

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The Secret Troves of Etymology

Image credit: unsplash.com by Hal Gatewood.com

The word Energy

Energy is one of those words that most of us use on a daily basis. It has both everyday and scholarly meanings. We all know what does it mean and yet that could really mislead us whenever we are trying to examine the full range of its connotations and its origins. Let's set out on a trip towards the roots of one of the most common words today.

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Could we harness energy from black holes?

Photo credit: JPL-Caltech/NASA

Study indicates that energy can be extracted from black holes

A new study indicates that, someday, energy could be extracted from black holes.

A remarkable prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity -- the theory that connects space, time, and gravity -- is that rotating black holes have enormous amounts of energy available to be tapped.

For the last 50 years, scientists have tried to come up with methods to unleash this power.

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