Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Vehicle with next-generation battery travels 1,200km on a single charge

A Tesla vehicle equipped with a next-generation battery was able to travel more than 1,200km (750 miles) on a single charge.

The first road test of the Gemini battery, developed by Detroit-based startup Our Next Energy (ONE), achieved nearly double the typical range that a standard Tesla Model S is able to achieve, and more than the highest range of any mass-produced gasoline-powered vehicles.

Travelling across Michigan, the results “set a new benchmark for the entire automotive industry”, according to ONE founder and CEO Mujeeb Ijaz.

“We want to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by eliminating range anxiety, which holds back most consumers today,” he said.

“We are now focussed on evolving this proof-of-concept battery into a new product called GeminiTM, which will enable long distance trips on a single charge while improving cost and safety using sustainable materials.”

The proof-of-concept solves the issue of range anxiety with electric vehicles, which until now has been addressed through making charging stations more ubiquitous. This comes with its own issues however, most notably the length of time it takes to recharge an electric car compared to refilling a fuel-powered vehicle.

The battery used in the ONE prototype is an innovative lithium iron phosphate design, which the company hopes will be used in commercial trucks later this year.

The technology was presented at the CES 2022 tech conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, where several other companies and startups displayed ambitious battery life designs.

Mercedes promised a 965km range for its Vision EQXX prototype vehicle, while HyperX’s wireless gaming headphones boasted of a 300-hour charge cycle – a 10-fold improvement on standard wireless headsets.

Energy density limitations of lithium-ion batteries, which are found in most consumer technology products, have been augmented by new anodes and ultra-efficient processors, but researchers are now looking to next-generation batteries like lithium-sulfur.

So far, any breakthroughs with these new battery types are yet to make it out of the lab, but are could one day replace their conventional counterparts due to their vastly superior capacity and improved environmental credentials.


Climate activists lose court case against UK oil regulator

The ruling, seen by Reuters, is a setback for climate activists who are increasingly taking to the courts to force a reduction in oil and gas production in order to control global warming.

In the case, activists including a former oil refinery worker targeted the OGA's assessment of applications for oil and gas field developments on a pre-tax basis, noting in some years if oil and gas prices were low the government actually returned money to producers rather than benefiting from tax receipts.

This, they argue, is in conflict with both the government's long-standing policy of "maximising economic recovery" of oil and gas in the British North Sea, meaning that oil and gas extraction there should make commercial sense, and with Britain's 2050 net zero emissions goal.

"I reject the contention that the strategy is unlawful because the definition of 'economically recoverable' was irrational. It follows that the claimants' claim fails and is dismissed," Judge Sara Cockerill said in the ruling document.

Britain's treasury received around 248 million pounds from oil and gas production in 2020/21, a drop of 71% on the previous year, according to official data, due to a plunge in oil and gas prices during the pandemic.

The Paid to Pollute campaigners highlight tax years such as 2016/17 when an oil price slump meant the government returned 400 million pounds to oil producers, rather than benefiting from any net receipts.

"We welcome the judgment. We remain firmly focused on regulating and influencing the oil, gas and carbon storage industries to both secure energy supply and support the transition to net zero," an OGA spokesman said in a statement.

OGA lawyer Kate Gallafent had told the court in December the benefits of oil and gas extractions were "a lot wider" than tax revenues, pointing to energy security and jobs.


Petrol and diesel ban is an attack 'on the working class' - 'only the rich will have cars'

The Government confirmed sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned at the end of the decade in 2020 to reduce vehicle emissions. The policy was also planned to accelerate the UK’s green transport future and encourage more to switch to electric vehicles.

However, Express readers have attacked the plans which could leave “poorer motorists” priced away from car ownership.

Express reader Danspill said: “So how are working classes supposed to be able to afford electric cars that are much more expensive than fossil fuel cars. “I buy second-hand cars £300 max which I use to get to work.

“A trip by train would take 3.5 hours and cost £65 return daily having to go into Central London then back out.


The Met Office’s bizarre forecasts

Our national weather forecasting service – which derives most of its income from arrangements with government departments – is certainly not going out of its way to make friends in government with its latest ‘forecast’.

The ‘UK Shared Socioeconomic Pathways’ professes to look ahead to the year 2100 and what effect climate change might have had on British society by then. It is produced by academics at the Universities of Exeter and Edinburgh, in association with a forecasting group Cambridge Econometrics but is funded by the Met Office as part of its UK Climate Resilience Programme.

The study looks at five different scenarios of how the UK might tackle climate change. The first scenario – called ‘sustainability’ – seems to be a little over-optimistic. It envisages the people of Britain becoming a bunch of hippies who forsake private property for a life of shared goods, green lifestyles and local food. By the end of the century we have re-joined the EU and ‘poverty has been eliminated’.

But it is the third scenario, called ‘Regional Rivalry’ which will really have the floors of No. 10 rumbling. It begins with a thinly-veiled description of current government policies, starting with the ‘exploitation of a wider supply of domestic natural resources’ – in other words, fracking, and more oil and gas from the North Sea. It continues with a ‘crackdown on environmental activism groups’ – potentially a thinly-veiled reference to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, so loathed by Extinction Rebellion and others.

Simultaneously, universities are forced into ‘aligning their curricula to corporate interests in manufacturing and technology whilst withdrawing from the arts, humanities and environmental sciences’ – abolishing Mickey Mouse degrees, in other words, just as the government has suggested doing.

By 2040, Scotland and Wales have left the UK, and become more left wing while England becomes ever more right wing. So far, so believable, but then? The English population inexplicably reverts to hunter-gathering and feudal warfare. ‘Hunting and fishing for food increases to supplement diets in deprived rural communities,’ it suggests. Tap water becomes unsafe to drink because of a lack of investment, while the NHS collapses.

Child labour returns, as does bartering. ‘Before the end of the century,’ it goes on, ‘military groups... rise to de facto power and compete for control and natural resources, creating their own feudal semi-independent micro-states with their own laws and means to enforce them.’

We have become used to opposition parties attacking government policy with lurid claims about poverty and the collapse of the NHS etc. But the Met Office which is, after all, a branch of the government itself, apparently claiming that Tory policies will lead us back to the stone age? The Prime Minister, who in the past has put a word in for Piers Corbyn’s maverick weather forecasting operation, is unlikely to be amused.

Mr S suspects that next time the Met Office goes round to No. 10 and sticks out the begging bowl for a new super-computer, it might encounter a severe cold front.




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