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Beyond Silicon

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    Silicon carbide on the road to automotive electrification

    By Majeed Ahmad | January 2, 2017

     

    Higher voltages and currents increase power density while reducing switching losses. Image courtesy of Infineon Technologies.

    The automotive industry has long been focusing on the higher efficiency of the combustion engine and electrification of the drivetrain in hybrid and fully electric vehicles to meet CO2 emission goals. Now we finally see a tipping point with a greater availability of silicon carbide (SiC) chips that offer extremely low power losses and higher temperature resistance.

    Efficiency: The First Fuel

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      Edison’s revenge? Why DC-only distribution makes sense for energy savings

      By Patrick Mannion | January 2, 2017

      The drive for energy conservation, the DC basis of modern electronic systems, and the development of renewable energy sources have converged to challenge the 100-year-old assumption that AC alone is the single best means of distributing electricity.

      Instead, a combination of AC for the main grid and DC for micro and nano grids is shaping up to be a more energy-efficient path, if industries and engineers come together to define the necessary standards and implement them effectively.

      Efficiency: The First Fuel

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        The rise of energy-efficient microcontrollers

        By Majeed Ahmad | January 2, 2017

        The humble microcontroller — also the workhorse of embedded design — has long been battling the dilemma of how to raise the performance bar while conserving energy. A new generation of MCUs is finally turning a corner on energy-efficiency challenges while offering greater processing horsepower for high-end embedded designs.

        Case in point is ST Micro’s STM32H743 microcontroller that boasts the ARM® Cortex®-M7 core running at 400MHz.

        The Battery Chronicles

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          How to profit from ‘The Year of The Battery’

          December 30, 2016

          Battery manufacturers – and would-be competitors – are experimenting with all manner of alternatives these days – from nanotechnology to Prussian Blue dye (used to color fabric, paints, etc.) to make cheaper, more powerful, longer lasting storage devices.

          The same forces are attracting massive investments in lithium battery technology, a market which is expected to grow from $17.5 billion in 2013 to $76.4 billion in 2020.

          The Battery Chronicles

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            Supercapacitor battery charges in seconds, lasts a week

            December 30, 2016

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            Breakthroughs in battery technology are becoming increasingly common these days, a manifestation of years of multi-billion dollar R&D investments focused on advanced materials science in hot pursuit of a compact, renewable energy sources by the world’s automobile and electronics makers.

            The latest advance is a battery that charges in seconds and holds a charge for a week, a University of Central Florida development that could one day replace lithium-ion batteries.The new battery is highly flexible and measures a fraction of the size of a lithium-ion battery.

            The Battery Chronicles

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              Toyota’s on track with new lithium battery technology

              December 29, 2016

              History of lithium superionic conductors – PhysOrg

              Toyota and the Tokyo Institute of Technology and High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) have reported a major advance in battery technology, in the form of new lithium-based superionic, solid-state, conductor materials.

              Toyota’s technology will allow the company to test various materials and battery structures, which is expected to be the basis of an improved electric vehicle in the next several years.

              The Energy Imperative

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                How to hack a good life despite endless power cuts

                December 28, 2016

                Living without electricity in today’s technological world is hard to imagine. But it’s becoming increasingly common, with regular communications and computer outages raising havoc with businesses and individuals, not to mention disrupting urban and rural transport systems.

                Like in the summer of 2016 when tens of thousands of Delta Airline passengers around the world were stranded for days by an Atlanta power outage that caused a global computer failure, halting all flights.

                Innovation

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                  Polymer researchers make super-capacitor breakthrough

                  supercapacitors at work

                  Researchers in the UK have reported a breakthrough in super-capacitor development with the potential to revolutionize the recharging cycle for battery operated devices. The development, by Augmented Optics Ltd., is based on polymers used to make soft contact lenses. Very high energy density super-capacitors could make it possible to recharge mobile phones, laptops or other mobile devices in just a few seconds.