Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category

Nov 21, 2023

Ford to scale back plans for $3.5 billion Michigan battery plant as EV demand disappoints, labor costs rise

Posted by in categories: employment, sustainability, transportation

Ford said Tuesday it is cutting production capacity by roughly 43% to 20 gigawatt hours per year and reducing expected employment from 2,500 jobs to 1,700 jobs. The company declined to disclose how much less it would invest in the plant. Based on the reduced capacity, it would still be about a $2 billion investment.

The decision adds to a recent retreat from EVs by automakers globally. Demand for the vehicles is lower than expected due to higher costs and challenges with supply chains and battery technologies, among other issues.

Reductions at the Marshall, Michigan, plant are part of Ford’s plans announced last month to cut or delay about $12 billion in previously announced EV investments. The company will also postpone construction of another electric vehicle battery plant in Kentucky.

Nov 21, 2023

New research maps 14 potential evolutionary dead ends for humanity and ways to avoid them

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, chemistry, climatology, economics, finance, mapping, robotics/AI, sustainability

Humankind on the verge of evolutionary traps, a new study: …For the first time, scientists have used the concept of evolutionary traps on human societies at large.

For the first time, scientists have used the concept of evolutionary traps on human societies at large. They find that humankind risks getting stuck in 14 evolutionary dead ends, ranging from global climate tipping points to misaligned artificial intelligence, chemical pollution, and accelerating infectious diseases.

The evolution of humankind has been an extraordinary success story. But the Anthropocene—the proposed geological epoch shaped by us humans—is showing more and more cracks. Multiple global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, , , financial crises, and conflicts have started to occur simultaneously in something which scientists refer to as a polycrisis.

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Nov 21, 2023

Tesla Cybertruck hits the beach and runs through ocean water

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

The Tesla Cybertruck was spotted on the beach, driving through ocean water in the Gulf of Mexico just a week from deliveries.

Tesla claimed a while ago that the Cybertruck would be able to float. Although the truck did not completely enter the water in this instance, we have no idea if the automaker has prepared the pickup to travel through bodies of water.

Beach driving is popular, and all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive vehicles are suitable for this kind of travel. Drivers also need to air down their tires in order to prevent their car or truck from digging into the sand, but a vehicle cannot be too heavy, either, as it will sink into the beach. The highest gross vehicle weight on most drive-on beaches is 10,000 pounds.

Nov 20, 2023

Developing ‘Indoor Solar’ to Power the Internet of Things

Posted by in categories: internet, solar power, sustainability

From Wi-Fi-connected home security systems to smart toilets, the so-called Internet of Things brings personalization and convenience to devices that help run homes. But with that comes tangled electrical cords or batteries that need to be replaced. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Applied Energy Materials have brought solar panel technology indoors to power smart devices. They show which photovoltaic (PV) systems work best under cool white LEDs, a common type of indoor lighting.

Indoor lighting differs from sunlight. Light bulbs are dimmer than the sun. Sunlight includes ultraviolet, infrared and visible light, whereas indoor lights typically shine light from a narrower region of the spectrum. Scientists have found ways to harness power from sunlight, using PV solar panels, but those panels are not optimized for converting indoor light into electrical energy.

Some next-generation PV materials, including perovskite minerals and organic films, have been tested with indoor light, but it’s not clear which are the most efficient at converting non-natural light into electricity; many of the studies use various types of indoor lights to test PVs made from different materials. So, Uli Würfel and coworkers compared a range of different PV technologies under the same type of indoor lighting.

Nov 19, 2023

Audi Will Only Build Electric Cars by the End of the Decade, the Company Says

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

The company has already pledged to phase out all internal-combustion models by 2033.

Nov 19, 2023

Graphene proton transport could revolutionize renewable energy

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability


Graphene’s atomically thin structure makes it impenetrable to a variety of elements, including protons. However, graphene’s edges, flaws, and functionalization can open up channels for proton diffusion. Temperature, humidity, and the existence of functional groups are some of the variables that affect the flow of protons in graphene.

Nov 19, 2023

The Next Leap in Battery Tech: Lithium-Ion Batteries Are No Longer the Gold Standard

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability, transportation

Lithium metal, chosen for battery anodes due to its superior energy density compared to other materials, is a smart choice. Yet, challenges arise at the interface between the electrode and the electrolyte, presenting opportunities for enhancement to achieve safer and more efficient performance in future applications.

Researchers from Tsinghua University are keen on replacing the graphite anode with a lithium metal anode to construct a battery system with higher energy density. However, the Li metal anode is unstable and readily reacts with electrolytes to form a solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI). Unfortunately, the natural SEI is brittle and fragile, resulting in poor lifespan and performance.

Here, the researchers have looked into a substitute for natural SEI, which could effectively mitigate the side reactions within the battery system. The answer is ASEI: artificial solid electrolyte interphase. ASEI corrects some of the issues plaguing the bare lithium metal anode to make a safer, more reliable, and even more powerful source of power that can be used with more confidence in electric vehicles and other similar applications.

Nov 18, 2023

These electric ferries may set a new standard around clean public transportation

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Many cities around the world see clean and efficient public transport as a crucial way to lower their carbon emissions. For cities with waterways, a high-tech ferry in Sweden could soon set a new standard.

Speeding through Stockholm’s archipelago, electric boat maker Candela’s new P-12 vessel barely makes a sound as it glides over a meter (3 feet) above the water. Its developers hope the ferry, which was unveiled this week, will yield a new era of waterborne public transport.

“This is a real leap forward,” said Erik Eklund, who is in charge of the commercial vessel division at Candela. “The energy savings we get by going airborne on the foils give us the speed and range we need to make this work on batteries.”

Nov 18, 2023

The world’s largest single-site solar farm just came online

Posted by in categories: employment, solar power, sustainability

The United Arab Emirates has launched the Al Dhafra solar farm – now the world’s largest single-site solar farm – ahead of COP28.

The 2-gigawatt (GW) solar farm is 22 miles (35 km) from Abu Dhabi and features almost 4 million bifacial solar panels. It will power nearly 200,000 homes and eliminate over 2.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

It created 4,500 jobs during the peak of the construction phase, and the solar panels were installed at an average rate of 10 megawatts (MW) a day during construction.

Nov 18, 2023

Watch this robot install solar panels in Arizona [video]

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, solar power, sustainability

Terabase Energy has successfully completed its first commercial solar installation using Terafab, its automatic solar-installing robot.

The Terafab robot – aka the “construction automation platform” – installed 17 megawatts (MW) of the 225 MW White Wing Ranch project in Yuma County, Arizona, on which solar tech company Terabase Energy is working alongside developer Leeward Renewable Energy (LRE) and contractor RES.

The Terafab robot completely eliminates the manual lifting of heavy steel tubes and solar panels – an industry first. Terabase Energy says that its robot achieved labor productivity improvements of 25% compared with manual installation, and the setup improves working conditions for solar technicians, as they’re housed in shaded and cooled conditions. The robot’s precision also enables the 100% return of solar panel packaging for reuse by the manufacturer.

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