Cheaper and Better Performing Lithium-Ion Batteries Created
Researchers at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering have improved the performance and capacity of lithium-ion batteries by developing better-performing, cheaper materials used in anodes and cathodes. Traditionally, lithium-ion batteries contain a graphite anode, but USC researchers were able to substitute silicon – the second most abundant element on earth. Using silicon in the anode increases the batteries capacity by almost three times because one silicon atom can bond up to 3.75 lithium ions, whereas with a graphite anode, six carbon atoms are needed for every lithium atom.
Europe to Close 20 GW of Gas Plants in 2013, With More to Come
Ten of Europe’s biggest utilities planned to close more than 20 GW of combined-cycle gas turbine power plants from 2012 to 2013. Depressed wholesale electricity price caused by the recession was identified as one of the main factor for the closures. Increased renewable capacity due to decarbonization policy, and more competition from renewables also contributed to the demise of the sector. Sixty percent of the European Union’s total gas-fired capacity is not recovering fixed costs and could be closed within the next here years. Some companies are even considering dismantling the CCGT plants to move them to more profitable markets.
Cool Planet Adds $50 Million in Equity to Develop Biofuel Facility
Cool Planet Energy Systems Inc. raised $50 million in equity financing to help complete its first biofuel production plant and expand research. The $100 million Series D funding round also include an additional $50 million in debt that was previously raised and has now been converted into equity, says CFO Barry Rowan. Cool Planet utilizes a chemical-mechanical process to convert non-food biomass into fuel and has an annual production capacity of 10 million gallons.
Borrego, San Diego Airport Partner on 3.3 MW Solar Venture
Borrego Solar Systems and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority recently announced a partnership to develop a 3.3 MW solar system on the roof of the newly expanded Terminal 2 West at San Diego International Airport and in a section of the Terminal 2 short-term parking lot adjacent to the terminal. The system will generate around 5.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in its first year of operation which is estimated to offset up to 13% of Terminal 1 and 2’s energy needs. Borrego Solar will build the system through a 20-year power purchase agreement.