Sustainability Problem: Fossil Fuels & Dirty Energy
While green energy is on the forefront of the sustainable movement, the reality is that fossil fuels – petroleum, natural gas, coal – make up the bulk of our energy consumption in the U.S. (~81.5% in 2015). A fifth of which alone comes from the powering of our vehicles – cars & trucks.
It’s estimated by the EIA that total fossil fuel use will only drop by an additional 5% by 2040. If this trend holds true, our carbon emissions will continue to heat up the planet and further escalate climate change, having detrimental impacts on human life and biodiversity.
Sustainability Technology: Instant Rechargeable Battery for Electric Vehicles
Electric Vehicles are a great alternative to the gas-guzzling cars of today. But, there is one major hurdle that prevents many individuals from entering this type of car market…charging infrastructure. That also includes the amount of time it would normally take for a car to be fully charged for use.
Luckily, Purdue University has come to the rescue with its instantly rechargeable batteries, IFBattery. According to researchers at Purdue, these batteries can be “recharged in roughly the same amount of time it would take to fill a car tank with gas”.
Researchers opted to use a flow battery system, in which the membranes of a battery are removed to increase its life/recharge cycles while reducing costs. Furthermore, the removal of battery membranes decreases the chances of fires related to membrane fouling which helps increase vehicle safety measures.
The process of recharging is very simple and extremely cost effective as current fossil fuel infrastructure can be leveraged. The key is fluid electrolytes which have the capability to re-energize spent battery fluids. Drivers can drop off their spent battery fluids which can be collected in bulk and then taken away to be re-charged at any green energy plants (solar, hydroelectric, and wind). Essentially, today’s petroleum refiners will become tomorrow’s electrolyte refiners. This innovative technology turns the entire process of transportation energy in a closed loop/sustainable system.
Plus, the beauty of this technology is that, no additional infrastructures need to be developed! The gas fueling stations we have today can be re-fitted to dispense a water and ethanol/methanol solution instead of petroleum. Purdue’s researchers believe that their innovation “could be nearly ‘drop-in’ ready for most of the underground piping system, rail and truck delivery system, gas stations and refineries.”
Because this whole vehicle re-powering process is simply a derivative to the one we are used to today, the whole electric vehicle market is less likely face high entry barriers. And its adoption helps us become more earth friendly, without drastically alternating our lifestyles.
“Fossil fuels still dominate U.S. energy consumption despite recent market share decline”, EIA – Today in Energy, 7/1/2016, https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=26912
“Car Emissions and Global Warming” Union of Concerned Scientists, http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/car-emissions-and-global-warming#.We4u2ltSzcs
“Instantly rechargeable battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars”, Inhabitat, 6/7/2017, https://inhabitat.com/instantly-rechargeable-battery-spells-bad-news-for-gas-guzzling-cars/
- Electric Vehicle companies looking to increase market share
- Green energy plant owners
- Gas station owners who don’t want to be left behind when clean energy consumption becomes the norm
- Consumers who want to buy electric vehicles and are environmentally conscious of their transportation energy consumption
Technology Implementation & Distribution:
Encourage electric car companies to implement this kind of battery into their vehicles. Educate them on the cost-benefit of embracing this piece of technology.
Work with gas station owners to understand their current supply chain and showcase how the new supply chain for the instant rechargeable battery can be seamlessly overlaid without a massive infrastructure overhaul.
Engage one company in each sector (vehicle manufacturing, clean energy production, and energy distributors) to complete a pilot program to test out the rechargeable battery capabilities from start to finish. After successful implementation, put together a case study to further educate the stakeholders on the benefits of this technology.
By: Bhoomi Shah, UNI: brs2147
Comment on “Circular Mushroom based products” by MK3883
This is a novel solution to a very serious plastic waste problem. It provides companies with the much desired and preferred lightweight packaging option, but does so at a lower cost (hopefully) and helps decrease a company’s environmental footprint (including upstream & downstream operations). Plus since the company uses crop waste, no additional land will be needed to acquire the raw materials needed.