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Tech Front: Absorbing Research for Cheaper, Better Solar Cells

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson


The idea that solar cells might someday viably compete with carbon-based fuels has driven researchers for more than a century. Rice University researchers may have now found a path to produce cheaper, more efficient metal-based solar cells, making the US goal of reducing the cost of solar electricity to $0.06/kW-hr seem reachable. Full Article

Tech Front: Li-ion Battery Tech Leads to Hydrogen Production

Edited by Senior Editor Michael C. Anderson


Developers of electric cars that used lithium-ion batteries are racing the champions of hydrogen-fueled vehicles to see which will succeed the greenhouse gas-producing gasoline-powered internal combustion engine. They’ve been racing in different directions—until now: Scientists at Stanford University have created a low-voltage, low-cost “water splitter” that uses a single catalyst to continuously produce both hydrogen and oxygen from water. Full Article

Tech Front: Big Fuel Cell Breakthrough is at the Nano Level

Edited by Advanced Manufacturing Media Staff


A development in the real-time observation of fuel cell catalyst degradation could be the breakthrough that leads to the creation of more efficient and durable fuel cell stacks. Toyota Motor Corp. (Toyota City, Japan) and the the Japan Fine Ceramics Center (JFCC; Nagoya, Japan) have developed a new technique that allows monitoring of the behavior of nanometer-sized particles of platinum during chemical reactions in fuel cells. This allows the processes leading to reduced catalytic reactivity to be observed. Full Article

24M Introduces the Semisolid Lithium-Ion Battery

Press Release: 24M


24M (Cambridge, MA) has emerged from stealth mode to introduce the semisolid lithium-ion cell, a revolutionary technology that solves the grand challenge of energy storage by enabling a new, cost-effective class of the lithium-ion battery. 24M’s semisolid lithium-ion is the most significant advancement in lithium-ion technology in more than two decades and combines an overhaul in battery cell design with a series of manufacturing innovations that, when fully implemented, will slash today’s lithium-ion costs by 50% and improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries. Full Article

Polytechnique Montréal Researchers Develop Ultra-tough Fiber that Imitates Structure of Spider Silk

Press Release: Polytechnique Montréal


  Polytechnique Montréal researchers have produced an ultra-tough polymer fibre directly inspired by spider silk. They believe that composites obtained by weaving together tough fibers of the type they're currently developing could, for example, make possible new, safer and lighter casings for aircraft engines, which would prevent debris from dispersing in case of explosion. Full Article

Tech Front: Promising Magnesium Ion EV Battery Progress

Edited by Senior Editors Patrick Waurzyniak and Ellen Kehoe


Can a new class of batteries powered by magnesium-ion outperform and eventually replace the current lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries used in electric vehicles? A new study from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) shows that using magnesium ions in place of lithium ions could result in batteries that significantly outperform the lithium-based batteries commonly used in today’s EVs. Full Article

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