Among the various experimental techniques of scanning probe microscopy

Recent technology for creating aligned structures and ribbons of carbon nanotubes is a step toward realising incredibly efficient heat conduits. In addition, composites with carbon nanotubes have been shown to dramatically increase the bulk thermal conductivity at small loadings.

An Agilent 5500 AFM equipped with a PicoAPEX environmental chamber, a MAC Mode III controller, and a 90μm multipurpose scanner is used here. The PicoAPEX chamber provides a localized environment for the sample without affecting the operation of the scanner and the controlling electronics. Experiments are carried out at 24°C with a controlled relative humidity level. Humidity control is realized by putting a beaker with water in the PicoAPEX chamber and purging dry air through the chamber. By controlling the rate of the dry airflow, a constant humidity level is maintained during the experiment.

The advantages of ALD stem from the surface-controlled and self-saturating film growth principle, which can be utilized in many green energy concepts other than Li-ion batteries, including solar cells, proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC).

Identifying these different groups on a PEM surface is a difficult task. Attempts have been made to distinguish the hydrophobic sites from the hydrophilic sites via phase imaging using AC mode AFM [3]. However, the phase signal in AC mode AFM depends on the overall interaction force between the AFM tip and the sample surface, so identification of ionic clusters based on the phase image could be ambiguous in some cases.

On the other hand, because the ionic clusters can exhibit different amounts of charge compared to the hydrophobic polymer region, scanning Kelvin force microscopy can be used to directly measure the surface potential variation on the Nafion membrane. As a result, the distribution of the ionic clusters on the membrane surface can be identified from the KFM image.

Among the various experimental techniques of scanning probe microscopy, current-sensing AFM, also known as conducting AFM, is particularly useful for studying the transport process of protons in proton exchange membranes [4]. In CS-AFM, a Pt-coated conducting tip is utilized. In an experimental setup such as that illustrated in Figure 2, the Pt-coated AFM tip serves as the top electrode. The PEM under study is sandwiched between the tip and the bottom supporting electrode, forming a localized miniature fuel cell.

Nanotechnology is rapidly emerging as a unique industry sector. Altair Nanotechnologies’ corporate goal is to become the leading supplier of nanomaterials worldwide through product innovation in a 441425-001 new science. Altair owns a proprietary technology for making nanocrystalline materials of unique quality, economically in large quantities.

The company is currently developing special nanomaterials with potential applications in fuel cells, solar cells, advanced energy storage devices, thermal spray 436281-141 coatings, catalysts, cosmetics, paints and environmental remediation. Altair holds mineral leases on a “world class” titanium mineral sand deposit in Tennessee where the recently constructed pilot plant is operational.

Likewise, nanoscale spinel structures (MgAl2O4) and carbon nanotubes are considered as electrode material in 417066-001 supercapacitors, which, however, are still too expensive for competitive applications. Companies such as Panasonic, Maxwell or Ness already offer supercapacitors commercially, whereby performance characteristics do not correspond yet to those of a postulated “nanocap”, which is to be realized approximately by 2005.

To summarize, PeakForce TUNA provided an effective method to study the cathode materials of the lithium battery. This technique can also be applied to study anode materials and determine their aging characteristics over time or during the charging and discharging cycle, during which mechanical degradation or increase in resistance may happen. PeakForce TUNA measurements combined with data from other techniques can be used to optimize results to meet different application requirements.

Nanocrystalline materials and nanotubes have been demonstrated to greatly improve both power density, lifetime and charge/discharge rates. Nanotubes are used to replace the normal Graphite of Lithium-Graphite-Electrodes. Because of the nanostructure and the corresponding high surface area, nanotubes can incorporate more Lithium than Graphite. With open single-walled Nanotubes capacities up to 640Ah/kg have been reached in the laboratory.

“The cooperation and teamwork between Tim Spitler and his research team and Dr. Kavan was remarkable,” said Ken Lyon, president of Altair Nanomaterials Inc. Both Dr. Kavan and Mr. Lyon credited the EPFL and its staff for providing the necessary infrastructure, stimulating work environment, and assistance. The research program was done under the overall direction of Professor Michael Graetzel of the EPFL, Switzerland. Dr. Graetzel is one of the world’s most honoured scientists in the fields of photoelectronics and electrochemistry.

This development also marks a significant broadening in mPhase’s strategy of incorporating leading edge technology into its product portfolio. As part of the agreement, the companies will be co-developing potential applications for this nano-based “Smart Battery” technology. This new agreement also builds upon the two companies’ pre-existing relationship, enabling mPhase to broaden its product offerings and to diversify into other strategic high-growth areas. mPhase and Lucent Technologies have also been engaged in a joint development project to improve the economics of delivering high quality video over copper wires with mPhase’s TV+ Platform.

The TV+ Platform was architected to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Lucent’s Stinger DSL Access Concentrator, and combined with mPhase’s Set Top Boxes and Service Management System, can deliver cost effective-high quality television services over existing copper wires.

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Acer 19V 4.74A, Acer 19V 1.58A, Sony 19.5V 4.7A, Lenovo 19V 4.74A

That customer interaction has led Vivint to plot some interesting linkages between its solar business and its home automation line, Serra said. For example, “Right now, we use the homeowners’ broadband to monitor the panels and the power produced,” he said. “Every month, we send the homeowners a bill for the amount of solar power they use … and we monitor in real-time to make sure the array is working.”

Just how much energy storage California will need to achieve its goal of getting a third of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 is a matter of some debate. The vast majority of that renewable power will come in the form of wind and solar, which are both intermittent in nature.

As these technologies grow into double-digit penetration on the grid, they’re expected to need careful management by utilities seeking to balance them. While weather and load forecasting, smart inverters, demand response and other smart grid-enabled technologies can handle some of the intermittency, much of it must be backed up with real power, either with natural gas-fired peaker plants or with energy storage.

An analyst at Stifel Nicolaus has estimated that A123 will need to raise $75 million by the fourth quarter of 2012 and another $200 million in 2013 to fund its ongoing operations. While the $50 million debt deal helps satisfy the company’s short-term cash needs, it could also cause longer-term harm to the company’s share price due to the terms of the deal, according to John Anderson, writing at Seeking Alpha.

The company has also faced questions from U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and John Thune, R-SD, as to whether it should continue to maintain access to its $249 million Department of Energy loan guarantee in the face of its recall and uncertain financial position. A123 has about $120 million left of the $249.1 million grant, and in April received a two-year extension on its deadline to spend the money.

In June, at Intersolar Europe, Shyam Mehta observed an increasing trend of solar products paired with energy storage technologies from vendors such as SolarWorld, Samsung, BYD, Aleo Solar, centrosolar, Bosch/Voltwerk, and Kyocera. Most vendors were focusing on the battery management system, as well as the batteries themselves. Non-Chinese suppliers in high-cost regions were attempting to counter the ongoing commoditization of “plain-vanilla” solar with something, anything, that provides differentiation.

Solar balancing via energy storage is being attempted in the tens of megawatts scale around the globe, but it’s all in pilot projects, backed by the likes of the Department of Energy’s SunShot program, aimed at bringing total solar costs to  $1 per watt by decade’s end. Companies like General Electric, A123, Saft, LG Chem, Kokam, AltairNano, Xtreme Power and Greensmith are doing solar-storage projects tracked by DOE’s SEGIS program, and similar government-utility partnerships are driving solar storage in China, Japan and Europe.

I talked to Baxter, Minn.-based Silent Power in 2009, when CEO Todd Headlee described a plan to give utilities control over lots of batteries connected to residential solar systems for grid balancing. Silent Power was piloting the concept at the time, Headlee said, though he remained silent about which battery and solar companies it might partner with to get to market.

When you look at the details, it turns out that the only thing worth losing any sleep over is lithium. Here I was slightly concerned, as it’s one material that’s not already used in huge quantities. A USGS estimate puts lithium reserves at 10 million tons.

That’d be a bit close for comfort! That was back in the 1970s, though — a more recent study by Evans put the figure at 30 million tons. That’s a bit better, but still tight (as you see above, 1.5 billion cars). But now, SQM estimates reserves may exceed 60 million tons! The evolution is outlined in this report, and the reason is clear. With USGS reserves already at 10 million tons, and annual demand currently only around 0.034 million tons, we have enough known reserves for 300 years at current extraction rates.

First up is Eos Energy Storage, a startup developing rechargeable zinc-air energy storage technology, which raised another $2.97 million in venture capital funding this week, according to Cleantech Group, which cited a regulatory filing.

The newest fundraising brings the Easton, Penn.-based startup’s total funding to $11.9 million out of a goal of $20 million. Eos raised $1.8 million in December, raised its total to $5.5 million later that month, increased that total to $5.9 million in March, and raised $1.25 million in May, according to reports.

The vision was to bring a team of volunteers into Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to install a 50-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system on the roof of an orphanage in just one week. Most seasoned commercial PV installers in the U.S. would likely budget three weeks for such a project — and that’s with a skilled crew and access to tools and electrical equipment.

While China’s market structure is the biggest barrier to energy storage, the government’s will to win appears resolute enough to overcome these difficulties. The central government has made it clear that it intends to pursue energy storage and batteries as part of the same set of national industrial policies that have helped other renewable energy sources achieve scale in the country.

In the short term, this will likely lead to a number of additional demonstration projects, some of which may have the same scale and impact as the Zhangbei project. Though many may dismiss the market for pre-commercial technologies as unappealing, the size of these projects and growth rate they could represent will make them just as interesting for players in the industry as their forerunners in wind and solar before those fields achieved commercial scale.

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as the battery is recharged, they travel in the reverse direction

The battery industry uses around 80 percent of global lead production, with lead battery manufacturing growing rapidly to meet demand for batteries in cars, motorcycles, electric vehicles, solar power systems and cellular phones.

As well as better batteries for cellphones and iPods, the technology could lead to more efficient, smaller batteries for electric cars, says the team. The technology could hit the market in the next three to five years.

Lithium-ion batteries charge through a chemical reaction in which lithium ions are sent between two ends of the battery, the anode and the cathode. As energy in the battery is used, the lithium ions travel from the anode, through the electrolyte, and to the cathode; as the battery is recharged, they travel in the reverse direction.

The gold capacitor needs only three minutes to recharge for use and can be charges 100,000 times. The wireless tech inside is 2.4GHz and boasts 15-meters of wireless range. The mouse has adjustable sensitivity between 800dpi and 1600dpi. This is pretty sweet because typical mice only have 800dpi setting, and more sensitivity is great if you use larger screens. The mouse also features seven programmable buttons.

Another thing that often annoys people who use wireless mice on the go is the inability to track accurately on shiny surfaces. It’s not always convenient to carry a mouse pad on the road, but some desks and counters aren’t ideal for mouse use. Luckily, the DX-ECO will track accurately on just about any surface, including marble, carpet, clothing, and glass that is dusted or at least not completely clear.

“Unfortunately, programmers are only human. They make mistakes when using these APIs, which leads to software bugs that mishandle power control, preventing the phone from engaging the sleep mode. As a result, the phone stays awake and drains the battery.”

This allows lithium ions carrying the charge to flow between the two electrodes and also acts as a barrier, holding the electrodes apart to prevent short-circuiting. The DX-ECO is a right hand only design, and it comes with a little micro USB receiver to connect to your computer.

But the polymer gel developed by Professor Ian Ward and his team removes the need for this separator. A patented manufacturing process called extrusion/lamination sandwiches the gel between an anode and cathode to create a highly-conductive strip that’s just nanometres thick.

There are no details on how law enforcement will prove that a person knowingly disposed of a rechargeable battery, and it is not known if NYC legislators will enact policies geared towards monitoring trash content.

During photosynthesis, electrons charged by solar energy are transported around by quinones, which are electrochemically active molecules 446506-001 based on benzene rings of six carbon atoms. The brown liquor used in Ingan?s’ battery is largely made of lignin, a biological polymer in the plant cell walls. To get the quinones to act as charge carriers in the batteries, the LiU team created a thin film of pyrrole and lignin derivatives which act as the cathode.

The LiU team hopes that these renewable batteries could solve the problem of high cost and nonrenewable 446507-001 materials plaguing conventional batteries. “Lignin constitutes 20-30 percent of the biomass of a tree, so it’s a source that never ends,” said Ingan?s. However, when exactly the renewable batteries could be available and their cost remains unseen.

Through a collaboration between the University of Southampton and lithium battery company REAPsystems, researchers connected REAPsystems’ LiFePO4 battery and management system to the photovoltaic system on one of the university’s buildings. The results were quite promising.

“The research showed that the lithium battery has an energy efficiency of 95 per cent whereas the lead-acid batteries commonly used today only have around 80 per cent,” graduate student Yue Wu, the research team leader, said in a statement.

The researchers confirmed the hand-painted batteries were quite consistent in their capacities, within plus or minus 10 percent of the target. They were also put through 60 charge-discharge cycles with only a very small drop in capacity.

According to Singh, each layer of the battery can basically be described as an optimized stew. The first, the positive current collector, is a mixture of purified single-wall carbon nanotubes with carbon black particles dispersed in N-methylpyrrolidone. The second is the cathode, which contains lithium cobalt oxide, carbon and ultrafine graphite (UFG) powder in a binder solution.

The third is the polymer separator paint of Kynar Flex resin, PMMA and silicon dioxide dispersed in a solvent mixture. The fourth, the anode, is a mixture of lithium titanium oxide and UFG in a binder, and the final layer is the negative current collector, a commercially available conductive copper paint, diluted with ethanol.

And it’s unlike RIM to employ different batteries for slightly different version of the same devices. For example, all of RIM’s various Curve 83xx devices employ the same battery, regardless of which carrier they’re sold through–except for the Curve 8350i, which was released years after the original Curve 8300.

It’s also worth noting that since the BlackBerry Bold 9700 battery is the same size as the Bold 9000’s, extended batteries originally designed for the BlackBerry 9000 should also work with the Bold 9700–though the new device’s battery cover won’t fit over non-standard-size batteries like Seidio’s 3500mAh battery.

The company said it will work with Matsushita and the relevant authorities to investigate the problem. A picture of the BL-5C is available on Nokia’s website. Different batteries could also result in different user experiences for AT&T and T-Mobile customers using Bold 9700 devices, i.e., better battery life on one carrier.

That can become a real issue rather quickly if you’re watching a movie, since playing a DVD keeps both the CPU and the graphics chips busy and running fairly warm. You can avoid the problem by working on the folding tray if you’re flying, or spending $20 or so on a pad stiff enough to give the laptop a bit of clearance.

Keeping the vents on your laptop clean does a lot to keep heat from building up. A simple, but effective method is to buy a can of compressed air from any computer shop or hardware store and blow out the dust.

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which exactly fits the gyri of the brain and enables the real-time study of epileptic patients

Mugen Power is the worldwide leading brand of high performance batteries for portable electronic devices. Mugen Power means Performance and Quality and delivers a full spectrum of high quality products for PDAs, smartphones, digital cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, portable DVD players, notebooks, UMPCs and Personal Media Devices.

Budding application areas, including electrics including heaters, solar cells, batteries and lighting, are propelling the growth of the worldwide flexible electronics market. The technologies enable electronic systems to be rolled, stretched, washed, and worn, and thereby conform to various architectural features.

Flexible electronics components are also capable of biodegradation with multiple-layer structures, which reduce the area required and number of interconnections, while increasing reliability of the system.

Key areas of application for flexible electronics include use in portable devices to provide a compact and robust form factor for electronics devices as well as medical applications such for use in the creation of a circuit, which exactly fits the gyri of the brain and enables the real-time study of epileptic patients.

Other applications include the incorporation of flexible circuits-based lightweight impact sensors into the uniform and helmets of soldiers to allow medics in providing better treatment to wounded soldiers. Stretchable circuits are also capable of being utilized with a standard balloon catheter to provide a range of radio circuitry and sensors to monitor electrical activity, pressure, temperature as well as blood flow inside the patient’s body.

Asia-Pacific constitutes the largest and fastest growing region, capturing a substantial share of the worldwide market, as stated by the new market research report on Flexible Electronics. Flanked by fast growing market of China, Taiwan, India and Korea among others, the Asian market is forecast to expand at a strong CAGR of over 38% through 2018.

By product segment, the world market for Electronic Displays captures the largest chunk of the flexible electronics market. The market, currently predominantly used for mobile phones and MP3, is expected to find major impetus with application in television screens, replacing CRT and LCD displays. The photovoltaic applications include low-cost and lightweight potential uses including rooftop panels and smart fabrics.

Apple’s solution to shaving thickness from the Retina MacBook Pro—gluing its lithium polymer battery cells directly to the aluminum unibody shell—continues to spark debate among proponents of sustainable electronics.

Apple submitted the device to the Green Electronics Council for an EPEAT Gold rating last week, prompting critics to argue that the glued-in battery should disqualify it from any rating at all. But it turns out that some recyclers disagree, saying it isn’t dramatically more difficult to safely remove the battery than in other modern devices.

The Retina MacBook Pro features a six-cell lithium polymer battery with a 95 Whr capacity—a 23 percent increase over the previous MacBook Pro design. To pack the larger battery inside the thinner 432307-001 case of the Retina MacBook Pro, however, Apple opted to attach the cells directly to the upper unibody casing using an industrial-strength adhesive.

That fact alone caused a wave of debate over repair issues. Teardown experts at iFixit criticized the decision by pointing out that the design made repair or replacement difficult, if not outright impossible, for users or third-party repair technicians. Apple does offer a battery replacement program, though it costs a pretty penny, at $199.

Many observers believed that Apple’s quest for ever-thinner computers and devices was behind the move. Apple’s engineering efforts have resulted in impressively thin laptops and tablets, for instance, but the trade-off is that the devices are harder to disassemble and repair. Days after the pull-out, though, Apple Senior VP of Product Engineering Bob Mansfield posted a public letter to Apple’s website announcing that the company would rejoin EPEAT and work with the group to update its standards.

Ars spoke to two large companies that specialize in recycling electronics to find out their opinions on just how difficult the Retina MacBook Pro’s battery is to remove. Surprisingly, both seemed confident that the glued-in battery wouldn’t present any major difficulties.

“We haven’t seen it yet for recycling, but we have dealt with glued-in batteries in the past,” Sims Recycling Solutions America President Steve Skurnac told Ars. “It’s a little more difficult, for sure, than those that pop out. Some products come in where the batteries are deep inside or hidden; having them glued in makes it a little more difficult, but not a lot more.”

“Puncturing the battery is a risk with other devices, and in our experience, scraping the battery out of a [Retina] MacBook Pro is no riskier,” Taggart explained. “Lithium ion can be a dangerous material, but it’s in everything now. We have whole processes to remove these from devices before separating out other materials.”

“Recyclers have a can-do attitude—they’ll say they can do anything, and they will find a way to do it,” Wiens told Ars. “The issue is that when products take them a long time to disassemble, it erodes their profit margins. There’s no way they could be profitable if all their products were as hard to disassemble as Apple’s.”

“We’ll devise a way to remove them in a safe manner. From our perspective, we would make sure that the process won’t run the risk of puncturing the battery,” Skernac said. “That may be some kind of bench setup that uses a custom machine to safely remove the batteries. But at this time, we’re anticipating being able to do it with common tools.”

Called the Kenguru, it can be backed up to a curb with the rear hatch open so a wheelchair user can roll him or herself into it. It also has a small ramp which lowers to allow a wheelchair to be rolled down or up for exiting or entering.

Once inside, the wheelchair can be locked down, so it does not move. In fact, the engine will not start until the wheelchair has been secured, and the rear door closed. The car’s controls can be operated from within a wheelchair. Steering is accomplished with a motorcycle-style handlebar, and there will be a joystick option available some time in the future.

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though it may still be cheaper overall with lower monthly data fees over two years

Smuggling the 37-foot missiles into Lebanon along with their even larger dedicated mobile launcher and storing them safely and in secret would be a formidable undertaking. Al Qaeda has been seeking chemical and biological weapons since at least the late 1990s.

Furthermore, unlike Hezbollah’s arsenal of solid-fueled artillery rockets, which can be quickly set up and fired, Scuds are liquid-fueled which entails a complicated and lengthy launch preparation procedure leaving the batteries vulnerable to being spotted and attacked.

Western diplomatic sources contacted for this story say that increased activity has been detected at Syrian military bases where Scud missiles are stored, including the movement of rockets, the construction of new underground bunkers and the expansion of existing facilities. The diplomatic sources assess that the activity is a sign that the Assad regime is attempting to safeguard its ballistic missiles to prevent them falling into the hands of the armed opposition.

Documents seized by US troops in Afghanistan in 2001 indicated that Al Qaeda was working on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, possibly attempting to weaponize biological agents. In 2009, a British tabloid reported that an Al Qaeda group in Algeria was forced to abandon a training camp after experiments to weaponize bubonic plague led to the deaths of 40 militants.

Anwar al-Awlaki, a prominent Al Qaeda ideologue who was killed last September in a drone missile strike in Yemen, was posthumously quoted in a recent edition of Al Qaeda’s English-language Inspire magazine as condoning the use of chemical and biological weapons.

Analysts say that some chemical agents, such as mustard gas, or biological agents, such as the causative agent for anthrax, are relatively robust and therefore potentially easier to weaponize by nonspecialist militants.

There are few good options facing the West in preventing chemical weapons falling into the hands of Al Qaeda-linked groups. In February, CNN cited a Pentagon report as estimating that it could take 75,000 troops to secure Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, an undertaking that meets with little enthusiasm in the West. Assuming that all the storage facilities can be identified in the first place, an alternative option of preemptive air strikes also carries dangers given Syria’s extensive array of anti-aircraft missile systems.

Forget those numbers, says Will Smith, an editor at the technology website At one point, such specs were a crucial part of comparison shopping. But now, processor speeds, pixel counts, and many of the other benchmarks don’t mean that much anymore.

Time to start beating the drums for the next big Apple product, which will most likely be a new iPhone. In a much discussed meeting with shareholders this week, Terry Gou, the CEO of Foxconn, which manufacturers a range of devices for Apple and other hardware giants, reportedly said that the new iPhone “will put Samsung’s Galaxy S III to shame.”

As we reported yesterday, the Galaxy S III was widely touted as a potential rival to the iPhone – it was enormously successful in England and landed stateside with a good deal of momentum. “This is the phone you’ve been waiting for,” trumpeted a reviewer at TechCrunch. “It’s generally well-built, it has an incredible display, solid battery life, plenty of interesting features and it just works well.”

The Federal Reserve’s latest plan to help the economy failed to impress Wall Street on Wednesday. Stocks finished slightly lower for the day, and not much better than they were before the Fed announcement.

The Federal Reserve’s latest plan to help the economy failed to impress Wall Street on Wednesday. Stocks finished slightly lower for the day, and not much better than they were before the Fed announcement. The buzz and mystery surrounding the new iPad has come and gone. Ditto for the MacBook Pro with the retina display.

Unlike the iPhone, the Galaxy runs on faster 4G cellular networks (AT&T markets its iPhones as 4G, but the network is based on older technology). The Galaxy also comes with a new wireless technology called near-field communications, which can be used to share files and make purchases.

One version of the device, which won’t go on sale until sometime in the fall, is 9.3 millimeter thick and works on the Windows RT operating system. It comes with a kickstand to hold it upright and a touch keyboard cover that snaps on using magnets. The device weighs under 1.5 pounds and will cost about as much as other tablet computers. Its debut is set to coincide with the upcoming fall release of Microsoft’s much-anticipated Windows 8 operating system.

Android smart phones have one metric the iPhone can’t match: screen size. For five years, Apple has stuck to 3.5 diagonal inches. Android covers the gamut – the Samsung Galaxy Note is a colossal 5 inches. This extra real estate is great for viewing websites, but bigger isn’t necessarily better.

“With a 4.5-inch phone, you may not realize until you walk out of the AT&T or Verizon store that this thing won’t fit in your jeans when you go out on Friday night,” says Smith. “Not to mention it’s hard to hold with one hand.”

Over at Macworld UK, John Cox and Mark Hattersley have assembled a pretty comprehensive roundup of iPhone 5 rumors, including speculation about some sort of “liquidmetal” chassis. Another piece of gossip that was floated first on a range of tech sites and then “confirmed” by TechCrunch: A mini 19-pin port, which would replace the longstanding 30-pin port of yesteryear.

Economists have pointed out that long-term interest rates are already near record lows, and that consumers and businesses who aren’t borrowing today won’t necessarily borrow tomorrow just because it’s a little cheaper.

The basic model with 16 gigabytes of memory will cost $200 with a two-year contract through AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and U.S. Cellular. That’s comparable to the iPhone’s $199. A 32 GB model will cost $250, which is cheaper than a comparable iPhone at $299. T-Mobile will charge at least $30 more than others, though it may still be cheaper overall with lower monthly data fees over two years.

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The stability of the new materials suggests a way to increase energy density at the pack level

The company then turned its attention to the opposite electrode, which is usually made of graphite. Researchers decided to use silicon, which can store far more energy but typically works for only a short number of charges, since it swells and cracks. Envia addressed these issues by using a porous form of silicon, which is better able to tolerate expansion and contraction, and by mixing the silicon with various forms of carbon, including carbon fiber and graphite.

The carbon is meant to provide a path for electrons to take through the material, bridging gaps that form as the silicon cracks. The researchers also had to modify the electrolyte to keep it from breaking down at the high voltage levels seen in the battery cell.

The stability of the new materials suggests a way to increase energy density at the pack level, Chamberlain says. The current Volt battery pack is designed with extra energy-storage capacity to ensure that the car’s performance doesn’t suffer much as the battery ages. He says if future batteries lasted without needing the extra capacity, this would decrease the cost of the pack.

“This is probably the most capable cathode material that we have seen out there, and that’s the reason that we think it’s really critical that we get started working on this material now, so that we can get it on the road,” Lauckner says. “It’s going to take some years to further develop it and validate it. The idea is we want to get this on the road for the next generation of battery packs that come out.”

Patel says the batteries could use air cooling rather than liquid cooling, which would make them cheaper and lighter. The company is also developing battery management electronics and software to prevent overcharging or undercharging, problems that can compromise battery life, he says. Leyden recently received a $2.96 million grant from California on a project to produce 10 car battery packs per month.

The new electric sports cars use conventional lithium-ion batteries for the same reason they’re now used in laptop computers: they store a lot of energy in a small, light package. But several factors have kept these batteries out of widespread use in vehicles.

One is cost — the Venturi Fetish sports car, for example, sells for over $500,000. The batteries are also tricky to operate safely in the large quantities needed in vehicles — overheating or damage can cause them to catch fire or explode (as led to last year’s Apple PowerBook battery recall). These batteries also have a short lifespan, losing their ability to hold a charge well over time, as anyone who’s owned a laptop for a few years knows.

New lithium-ion battery materials, however, may change all this. Safer chemistries have recently allowed manufacturers such as Milwaukee Electric Tool in Brookfield, WI, and DeWalt Industrial Tool of Baltimore MD, to start using lithium-ion batteries in abuse-prone power tools. The new materials could also extend the batteries’ lifetime, reduce their cost, and improve their performance.

As the production scale increases and costs come down, Liquid Metal plans to serve larger-scale markets, such as buying cheap electricity at night and selling it in the middle of the day, when prices are higher. Because the technology is flexible the company can decide how to use its battery capacity, always picking the most lucrative market.

Liquid Metal plans to take advantage of two opportunities created by the government. The first is actually a product of deregulation: the government set up framework for establishing open markets for power. This allows the company to register as an independent power provider without going through a utility or getting regulators to allow utilities to charge for the service.

Even if problems with batteries are overcome in the lab, these technologies face obstacles to being commercialized. To drive down costs, battery makers are turning to applications other than electric vehicles and the grid to get new technologies off the ground, applications such as microelectronics, power tools, and race cars. Plug-in hybrids can also help serve as a bridge to electric vehicles.

One such place is the monitoring of military equipment. “Everything the Department of Defense puts out has to have antitamper protection so that if someone gets their hands on the seeker head of a missile, or an entire aircraft, it would be very difficult to reverse-engineer it,” says Christian Adams, a chemist at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

The memory chips that control such antitamper systems, says Adams, require very low continuous power over a long time. Military specifications also require that these devices withstand extreme conditions that normal batteries can’t tolerate: they must operate in temperatures from -65 to 150 ?C and withstand high-frequency vibrations, high humidity, and blasts of salt. “If the battery freezes out or dies out, the memory circuit loses its configuration,” and the device fails, says Adams.

In the past, using lithium-ion batteries in a motorcycle would have been a bad idea because of safety concerns. Conventional lithium-ion batteries–the type used now in laptops and cell phones–can overheat and explode, which has led to massive product recalls and at least one death. In one of the electrodes, those batteries use cobalt oxide, a material that makes it possible to cram a lot of energy into a battery. But cobalt oxide is also volatile.

But the new lithium-ion motorcycles rely on advanced lithium-ion chemistries that don’t catch fire. The new batteries use phosphate- rather than oxide-based electrodes. It takes much higher temperatures to release oxygen from phosphates, making the batteries very difficult to set on fire, even in safety tests designed to do so.

But Kelty says the economics of recycling depend largely on the chemistries of the lithium-ion batteries being used. He adds that lithium is currently one of the least valuable metals to retrieve. For example, the lithium in a Tesla Roadster battery pack would represent roughly $140 of a system with a replacement cost of $36,000. For most lithium-ion batteries, the lithium represents less than 3 percent of production cost.

“The lithium part is a really negligible cost when you compare it to other metals; nickel, cobalt, those are going to be the biggest drivers [of recycling],” says Kelty, adding that Tesla actually makes money by recycling just the nonlithium recycled components of its batteries. “So while we’ve been reading plenty of articles about the industry running out of lithium, it’s totally missing the mark. There’s plenty of lithium out there.”

Lower-energy batteries often have safety features that make them attractive for use in cars. Sujeet Kumar, Envia’s president and CTO, says the company’s batteries have passed nail puncture tests, one key test of battery safety. If it begins to overheat, the material gives off oxygen, which feeds reactions that lead to “thermal runaway” and flames.

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additional battery developers and materials suppliers are anticipated to join the alliance

Three cars based on the Nissan Dualis will operate as normal taxis on the city’s streets during the 90-day experiment, a joint project with Better Place, a US firm specialising in providing electric vehicle infrastructure.

Watch out Energizer Bunny. Robot Evolta kept climbing and climbing _ up a rope dangling from a Grand Canyon cliff for nearly seven hours on a pair of AA batteries that Japan’s Panasonic is billing as the world’s longest lasting.

To prove how durable its new alkaline batteries are, Panasonic had the 5-ounce, 6.7-inch blue imp clasp a rope with its arms and feet and climb as far and long as it could. That turned out to be some 1,740 feet over the course of six hours and 46 minutes, Panasonic, also known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., said Tuesday.

The company says the new battery cell _ called Evolta, combining “evolution” and “voltage” _ can keep gadgets running 20 percent longer than offerings from rivals Duracell and Energizer. Fourteen US technology companies, laying down the gauntlet in a field dominated by Asia, announced Thursday that they have formed an alliance to manufacture lithium ion batteries for electric cars.

US industrial conglomerate 3M is among the companies which have joined forces in the venture with the Argonne National Laboratory, a Chicago-based developer of new battery technologies, the alliance said in a statement.

Developing the capability to mass manufacture advanced battery cells is expected to require investment of one to two billion US dollars over five years, it said, most of which is expected to come from the federal government.

Computer makers are recalling 100,000 laptop battery packs made by Sony after 40 reports of overheating, according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission notice. A Sony Australia spokeswoman would not comment on how many of the affected batteries had been sold with laptops in Australia.

The voluntary recall applies to certain Sony 2.15Ah lithium-ion cell batteries made in Japan and sold around the world in laptops made by Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Toshiba. Apple is offering to replace faulty batteries in iPod nanos in Japan following a government warning that the popular music players may pose a fire hazard, a company spokesman said Thursday.

Some incidents involved smoke or flames, according to Sony. Twenty-one of the reports claimed minor property damage, and small burns were reported in four cases. Advertisement: Story continues below “Tokyo can become the capital of electric vehicles,” said Kiyotaka Fujii, president of the Japanese unit of Better Place.

Sony blamed two factors for the defects: adjustments on its manufacturing line from October 2004 to June 2005, which may have affected the quality of cells in certain production lots; and a possible flaw in the metal foil for electrodes.

The new research project, called Steeper, also aims to decrease the energy needs of other electronic devices like TV sets or supercomputers by 10 times when active, and to virtually eliminate power consumption when they are in standby mode.

German automaker Volkswagen AG will team up with Japan’s Sanyo Electric to develop a lithium-ion battery for next-generation hybrid vehicles, the Japanese company announced Wednesday. Making a mobile battery last ten times longer is a first target for a large research project that IBM, Infineon and a number of European universities unveiled this week.

By joining forces with Sanyo, which aims to be a world leader in rechargeable batteries, Volkswagen is apparently seeking to catch up with rivals in the race to develop and sell eco-friendly vehicles.

It’s the first EV battery deal with a major automaker for Toshiba, which already makes batteries for laptops and cell phones, said company spokesman Ken Shinjo. Production will start sometime next year, in a new facility in Niigata, northern Japan, according to Toshiba.

Green vehicles are drawing interest because of concerns about global warming and pollution, setting off a competition among electronics makers _ as well as automakers _ in hybrids, plug-ins and electric vehicles.

The deal, signed last month with Johnson Controls Inc., based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, centers around lithium-ion batteries _ already widely used in laptops and other gadgets but starting to take off in auto technology such as hybrids and electric vehicles.

Terms of the deal were not released. The areas of cooperation will span sales, marketing and standardization, and the companies may also work together in energy storage technology, they said. Sanyo and Volkswagen have worked together in the past in battery development. The Japanese company has also supplied nickel-metal hydride batteries to Ford Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co.

The earlier recall came after two reports of the batteries overheating. The commission said that since then, HP has received 38 additional reports of the batteries overheating, causing 11 minor injuries. Those people were burned when they handled computers whose batteries had ruptured, said CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson.

Batteries can rupture if they’ve been charged too long and don’t have a good way to regulate the excess heat. Wolfson added that the industry is working to change that. The recall was announced Friday by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and expands an earlier recall of 70,000 of the same type of batteries.

Lenovo said Thursday it sold the extended-life batteries with new ThinkPad notebook PCs or as optional or replacement batteries for ThinkPad notebook models R60, R60e, T60, T60p, Z60m, Z61e, Z61m, and Z61p. The recalled nine-cell batteries have the part number FRU P/N 92P1131.

The US Department of Energy’s Argonne lab will “serve in an advisory role as the alliance begins operations,” it said, adding that “additional battery developers and materials suppliers are anticipated to join the alliance.”

It said US truck and carmakers are “expected to play an important role in the alliance” and would be invited to serve on its board along with representatives of the Department of Defense. Lenovo bought IBM’s personal computer division in 2005 and about 1,500 of Lenovo’s 20,000 employees work in Research Triangle Park.

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funded projects start to prove their cost-benefit ratios to utility regulators

When the power went out a few years ago, she said, she had no battery-powered capabilities and spent the duration of the outage sitting in the dark with a candle. In a more recent outage, she had a solar-panel-powered, battery-charged lamp, and batteries in her computer and phone with charge remaining. “I pretty much just continued on as usual until the electricity came back on,” Margonelli said.

Because ultracaps are more efficient at higher voltages, that translates to a 25-percent to 40-percent improvement, he said — at little or no extra cost. EnerG2 is targeting partners in the automotive energy storage space for this application, he said, a list that could include ultracap makers like Maxwell Technologies and others.

Likewise, EnerG2’s material, added to the “lead paste” that goes into lead-acid batteries, increases their cycle life at a “tiny cost, compared to the improvement in performance it delivers,” Wheaton said. Short cycle life has been the Achilles heel of lead-acid batteries in such applications as grid storage and stop-start hybrid vehicle energy storage, with many startups trying — and some failing — to improve on the age-old chemistry.

The Wildlife Conservation Network works to protect endangered species and preserve their natural habitats. The organization supports innovative strategies for people and wildlife to co-exist and thrive. The WCN has a solar project, and it needs donations of solar equipment.

Dedicated conservationists all over the globe are studying species in decline and trying to learn enough to save them. They live and work in extreme environments and they need electricity to run their camps, power their communications and just to keep their modest facilities in good repair.

Hanwa Solar bought a controlling interest in China’s SolarFun in 2010. HelioVolt received a white-knight investment from Korea’s SK Innovation for its CIGS technology in September of last year. Stion, also a CIGS vendor, received a major investment from Korean equity firms as it established a Korean subsidiary. Samsung Fine Chemicals recently entered a joint venture with U.S.-based PV wafer maker MEMC to manufacture polysilicon.

A new report from KEMA looked at the growth in U.S. energy storage in the coming five years. It concluded the domestic market is likely to quadruple and to offer significant opportunities in electrochemical, mechanical and thermal methods of storing energy over a wide range of applications.

The KEMA study, conducted on behalf of the Copper Development Association to define the impact U.S. growth in storage technologies will have on copper, used two scenarios, one in which there is no tax credit incentive to drive the energy storage sector and another in which the tax incentives proposed in last year’s U.S. Storage Act (S.1845) become available.

The Southern California Edison (SCE) Tehachapi Wind Energy Storage project, to be carried out in partnership with A123 Systems, will test the capabilities of an 8-megawatt, 32-megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery at SCE’s Monolith substation in the wind-rich Tehachapi Mountains, according to Mark Irwin, a director in SCE’s advanced technology department.

To fund the $53.5 million test, DOE will supply nearly $25 million and other partners, including the California Public Utilities Commission and A123 Systems, will supply over $29.9 million. After the panel discussion, Margonelli told a story about two recent blackouts.

GTM Research predicts the U.S. market for distribution automation — the sensors, controls, and centralized or distributed intelligence needed to manage distribution grids — will grow to $3 billion by 2015, as stimulus-funded projects start to prove their cost-benefit ratios to utility regulators.

GTM Research smart grid analyst Ben Kellison has also laid out how the DA sector is ripe for consolidation, with the “Four Horseman” of the grid — Siemens, Schneider Electric, ABB and General Electric — spending billions of dollars on acquiring startups and long-established companies that help them fill out the gaps in their distribution grid offerings.

At nearly every electric vehicle or smart grid conference, someone in the audience asks the question about just how clean electric vehicles are given that they are probably fueled by coal power plants.

There is a short answer and a long answer. The short answer is that if you are just asking about CO2, the electric vehicle, even from the dirtiest of U.S. coal plants, is still cleaner than a traditional internal-combustion vehicle.

The kind of tensions now being worked through were undoubtedly present in trade partnerships between China and other countries, Tse pointed out. “But we never did see that emerge into the open.” His implication seemed to be that legal action is the way it is done in the U.S., whereas a private resolution between involved parties is the Chinese way. But, he said, “it is in the best interests of everyone to resolve this.”

At the same time, EnerG2 is looking at partners for grid-scale energy storage, enabled by its life-extending lead-acid battery tech. Of course, grid-scale energy storage remains a market constrained by the fundamental cheapness of its alternative: power generated with cheap natural gas.

SunPower has created an educational and advocacy organization to organize and fund worthy projects, called The SunPower Foundation. One of its partnerships is with One Million Lights, which aims to replace dangerous kerosene lamps with solid-state lighting, presumably charged with solar power. D.light design (see below) is working on this crusade, as well.

D.light and Fenix International are for-profit energy and lighting firms with more than just the fiscal bottom line in mind. The firm also just kicked off a campaign to raise donations to provide power systems to relief agencies in Japan.

Without a tax incentive driving growth, KEMA foresaw the addition of a total of 630 megawatts of new storage capacity. Thermal storage will grow by 222 megawatts, but battery storage will leap forward, with lithium-ion technology leading (255 megawatts) and lead acid following (72 megawatts). Flywheel technology is expected to grow by 77 megawatts in the next five years, according to KEMA.

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automakers had been dis-mantling some of the biggest barriers to entering the business

Remember the lowly car battery? That greasy thing with corroding terminals, universally ignored until it runs out of juice? It’s being 07G016DH1875 ignored no longer. With the advent of plug-in hybrids and electric cars like the Tesla Roadster and the Lightning GT, the battery is now taking center stage.

A new generation of batteries -– safer, cleaner and far more powerful -– is beginning to emerge, batteries that can meet the demanding A42-G73 requirements of cars propelled by electricity.

Caddell leads the way to one of the shipping containers. Inside, two soldiers baby-sit three rows of Sun servers. “This is where the Global Command and Control System lives,” Caddell says. GCCS – known as “Geeks” to soldiers in G73-52 the field – is the military’s HAL 9000.

It’s an umbrella system that tracks every friendly tank, plane, ship, and soldier in the world in real time, plotting their positions as they move on a digital map. It can also show enemy locations gleaned from intelligence. “We’re in a whole different ball game from 70-NY81B1000Z the last Gulf war,” Caddell says. “We had a secure network back in ’91, but the bandwidth wasn’t there and the applications weren’t there. Now they are.”

At this point, using batteries for large-scale storage isn’t feasible, Duvall said. That’s not to say there isn’t work being done in this area. Southern California Edison is launching a $54.9 million project to build and test a 32-megawatt-hour system that 90-NY81B1000Y would store wind power at a substation in the Tehachapi Mountains. “That’s the outer limit of what we know right now about lithium-ion technology,” Duvall said.

Automakers plan to recycle those batteries that aren’t robust enough for stationary energy storage. Lithium-ion batteries are not toxic like lead-acid batteries, Duvall said. In fact, the 2- and 4 kilowatt-hour packs that Zero Motorcycles uses are rated for landfill disposal. Lithium-ion batteries contain many valuable materials, including copper, aluminum and, of course, lithium. Much of it can be recycled.

Despite the dour prediction, the report predicts steady growth for hybrids, plug-in hybrids and EVs during the next decade. It predicts 26 percent of the 54.5 million cars sold in China, Japan, the United States and Western Europe in 2020 will have an electric drivetrain of some kind.

That works out to 14 million cars. By that time, the report predicts, lithium-ion batteries will run about $570 to $700 per kilowatt-hour, with a 15 kilowatt-hour pack running about $8,000 to $10,000. At that price, Mosquet says, it will take 15 years for the cost of owning an electric car to match that of a gasoline car.

Paul Scott, a co-founder of the advocacy group Plug In America, agrees. He says reports like those prepared by Boston Consulting Group often overlook the fact oil isn’t getting any cheaper, people are increasingly concerned about the environment and they’re tired of buying oil from countries hostile to the United States.

If Li-ion technology is at, or even near, its maximum potential, gadget makers (and users) are in trouble. Li-ion – with its high power, fast recharge times, and steady voltage – is the best battery the consumer electronics industry has. It powered the 50 million laptops, 800 million cell phones, and 80 million digital cameras sold in 2005. If the technology stagnates without a viable replacement, so will every kind of portable device, from ThinkPads to Game Boys.

Meanwhile, automakers had been dis-mantling some of the biggest barriers to entering the business. To lower production costs, the Big Three had outsourced much of their parts manufacturing over the past 25 years. An upstart could buy just about everything it needed to mass-produce a car from independent suppliers. A fledgling electric car company had other advantages, too: Tighter emissions standards have raised the cost of developing gas-powered cars, and buyers of low-emission vehicles are lured by big tax breaks.

In the spring of 2004, Eberhard embarked on a series of meetings with venture capital firms along Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. He argued that a combustion engine is an antiquated technology and that electric vehicles are dramatically more energy-efficient than their gas-guzzling counter-parts. “If you took the energy in a gallon of gas and used it to spin a turbine, you’d get enough electricity to drive an electric car 110 miles,” he says in a characteristically enthusiastic rush, trying to squeeze in too many words between breaths.

Conventional batteries feature a graphite anode (negative electrode) and lithium cathode (positive electrode) separated by electrolyte. The electrodes are arranged in thin layers. Lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode during discharge, then back again when recharging. That configuration accounts for some of the technology’s drawbacks: Long recharge time, limited lifespan and a propensity of overheating.

Prieto’s team reconfigured the battery architecture to address those drawbacks. They replaced the graphite anode with copper antimonide nanowires 1/50,000th the diameter of a human hair. The nanowires have enormous surface area, relatively speaking, and can store twice as many lithium ions as the same amount of graphite. They also are more chemically stable and heat resistant.

The last blaster I checked out is the pistol-sized Point Break ($6.99) packing a built-in 6-ounce reservoir that you pump up, then pull the trigger to release. The main advantage I found was that unlike other pump-style Super Soakers, the pumping action doesn’t require a lot of strength, making it great for smaller kids who’d find the bulk of the Hydro Cannon, or the strength requirements of the other pumping blasters, too much for their little arms.

The Volt in question caught fire while parked at a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration testing center in Wisconsin, three weeks after being subjected to a side-impact pole test on May 12, Bloomberg reported. According to Green Car Reports, the test cracked the T-shaped battery pack running down the center of the vehicle.

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Buying one with an excessive CCA rating may be a waste of money

With the right bets, Intel has the ability to become one of the largest U.S. electric vehicle battery makers. The big companies that are currently 07G016DH1875 70-NY81B1000Z moving to dominate the battery industry—like Sanyo, LG Chem and Panasonic—largely come from Asian countries.

Electric carmakers like Tesla have complained that the cost of transporting batteries from international producers drives up manufacturing costs, and Tesla said it has actively (and so far unsuccessfully) looked for a U.S. manufacturer. Many of the large U.S. automakers 90-NY81B1000Y slowly getting into electric vehicles could also be interested in domestically-made batteries. U.S. electric vehicle battery production could also be ripe for U.S. subsidies or benefit from Obama’s green stimulus.

For Intel, moving into electric vehicle batteries could help the company diversify beyond chips for computing, which it has so far largely been unable to do successfully yet. Other chip companies have succeeded in diversifying through A42-G73 G73-52 green tech businesses: Applied Materials diversified its chip equipment business several years ago with a solar gear bet and now is seeing solar as one of its fastest-growing areas. Chipmaker STMicroelectronics is working with LG Chem on battery packs for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Kay imagines a future where consumers would shun laptops with Sony batteries and where computer makers would openly Asus A32-T12 Battery advertise that their products are “Sony-free.” “I think it might be a good time for Sony to sell the business to somebody else,” says Kay. “If I was HP, I would buy Sanyo batteries so I can say Sony-free because—even if you say they are making perfectly good batteries now—all of that gets lost in the noise. All the consumers know is Sony has a bad battery.”

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) recalled 135,000 batteries sold with HP and Compaq-branded notebooks in October, 2005, and 15,700 batteries in April of this year. Prior to its A42-G53 acquisition by HP, Compaq recalled 55,000 notebook batteries.

But HP is sitting pretty this time around. HP’s engineers tested the batteries in question and decided they didn’t meet the company’s reliability Acer GARDA31 Battery standards, company insiders said. The batteries were disqualified for use in HP products.

The U.S. signed a memorandum of understanding today with Afghanistan to transfer command of nighttime operations and all other special actions to Afghan troops. If the cell Dell Inspiron 1300 Battery overheats, the oxygen combines with organic solvents in a nasty chemical fire that can be contained but not extinguished until the oxygen and fuel are spent.

Afghanistan’s Defense Minister, General Abdul Rahim Wardak said at a news conference in Kabul that “from today, all the special Toshiba PA3384U-1BRS Battery operations,” including nighttime raids “have been Afghanized, and the operations will be conducted,” by Afghan forces.

A trio of new Toshiba tablets is on the way, allowing consumers to shop by size: small, medium, and large. The 7.7- and 10-inch models are Sony VGP-BPS5A Battery now joined by Toshiba’s (6502:JP) Excite 13, which offers more than a foot of screen real estate in a 2.2 pound touchscreen package. With the large display, however, comes a large price: The Excite 13 will start at $649.99 when it arrives on June 10.

You may recall from chemistry class that lithium is a metal that burns spontaneously when exposed to air and explodes in the presence of water. Surprisingly, though, the lithium Acer AS07A51 Battery has little to do with the risks posed by batteries, since lithium is not normally present in its volatile metallic form. The danger is that the chemical reaction that generates electricity frees up oxygen.

When Apple Computer (AAPL) followed Dell (DELL) and recalled laptops powered by faulty Sony (SNE) lithium-ion batteries on Aug. 24, the Japanese company said that the Acer BATCL50L Battery problem, which could cause cells to overheat or catch fire, was due as much to the design of specific laptops as to the batteries themselves.

Schindall, an electronics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the associate director of the university’s Laboratory for Electromagnetic & Electronic Systems. Researchers there have been working to enhance an energy storage device known Asus A32-A8 Battery as an ultra capacitor in hopes of making all-electric cars viable in the near future.

Getting the scoop was a thrill for Magee. He had previously started up another well-known techie news site, The Register, but left in 2001 to launch The Inquirer, which now has about 2.5 million unique users and delivers about 14 million page views per month. This story showed just how potent his brand of cybermedia can be. “The power of online journalism is, of course, its immediacy and worldwide potential,” says Magee.

The Inquirer posting ricocheted around the Web. Was it a hoax? Was it real? Industry analysts were soon e-mailing their take to mainstream reporters and investors. “I must have had two dozen people e-mail it to me the day it came out,” recalls Richard Stern, an associate director in the CPSC’s Office of Compliance and Field Operations, who headed up the investigation.

When shopping, remember that a battery is rated by cold cranking amps (CCA), indicating its power and the reserve capacity rating (RC), which indicates how long your car’s accessories can run and still have enough power to start the engine.

Since starting a car in cold weather can take up to twice as much current to turn over a cold engine, cars in colder climates would benefit from a higher CCA rating. Check your owner’s manual for the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) minimum requirements needed for your car and select the battery adequate for you needs. Buying one with an excessive CCA rating may be a waste of money.

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