|2020/5/25 10:00||Green Car Congress||
Researchers use copper ions to enhance performance of Mg battery
Magnesium (Mg) is a promising candidates to replace lithium for electrochemical energy storage devices due to its abundance—far greater than that of lithium—enhanced safety, and theoretical high volumetric capacity. However, Mg batteries suffer from sluggish kinetics and poor reversibility, making it difficult to achieve high volumetric capacity. Now, researchers at the Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) report coming a step closer to making a viable, high-output Mg battery by using copper ions as a charge carrier. The researchers published their findings in Angewandte Chemie. Adding a copper ion improves performance of new magnesium battery. Credit: CUI Guanglei Due to the high charge density of Mg2+ , the diffusion of Mg2+ in the host material lattice is sluggish and/or the bonds between Mg2+ and anion are difficult to break during charge process, leading to large polarization and poor cycling performance. A promising strategy to address these issue is employing another charge carrier for cathode chemistry. … In this contribution, we discovered a highly reversible magnesiation mediated by a charge carrier of cuprous (Cu+). Significantly different from the aforementioned charge carriers, the Cu+ originates from a cathode of Cu3Se2 rather than the electrolyte , which can avoid the loss of pack density. The Cu+ will dissolve into the boron-centered anion-based Mg-ion (BCM) electrolyte as long as immersing the cathode material into the electrolyte. The concentration of Cu+ charge carrier in solution is governed by a fast equilibrium between electrode and BCM electrolyte. The high mobility of Cu+ around the sublattice of Se has been demonstrated in Cu2-xSe, and the Cu/Cu+ redox in solid state has been intensively studied before the era of lithium batteries. However, the presence of stable Cu+ in liquid solution for a Mg battery system has not been reported up to date.—Cheng et al. As the Mg battery discharges, Cu+ dissolves into electrolyte, exchanges with the Mg2+ chemically, and becomes metallic copper as it receives electrons and forms a coating on the electrode. Since copper is highly conductive, electricity flows freely, allowing for high energy output. The team’s findings showed excellent performance in the newly developed Mg/Cu+ battery. After initial conditioning, their experimental battery retained 80% of its original capacity after 200 charge/discharge cycles. A typical commercial lithium-ion battery holds at least 80% of its original capacity after 1,000 cycles. Prof. CUI Guanglei said his team's Mg battery is not yet commercially viable, but it is on track to compete with lithium battery. We expect to achieve the 1,000-cycle milestone in the next two years, he said. The day-to-day price of magnesium averages about $5,000 USD per ton—about half the cost of lithium. Beyond being cheaper, magnesium-based batteries would also be safer. Poorly made lithium batteries can overheat and explode, creating a liability for industries ranging from telecom to aerospace. Prof. CUI said the next step toward making Cu+/Mg batteries a commercial reality will be to design it as a flexible pouch. To do so, they’ll need to create a gel form of their Cu+ electrolyte solution. Resources Cheng, X., Zhang, Z., Kong, Q., Zhang, Q., Wang, T., Dong, S., Gu, L., Wang, X., Ma, J., Han, P., Lin, H.‐j., Chen, C.‐T. and Cui, G. (2020), “Highly Reversible Cuprous Mediated Cathode Chemistry for Magnesium Batteries.” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.. doi: 10.1002/anie.202002177
|2020/5/24 10:00||Green Car Congress||
UCLA study shows how air pollution can lead to damage to brain cells; zebrafish and Parkinson’s
A new UCLA study in zebrafish identified the process by which air pollution can damage brain cells, potentially contributing to Parkinson’s disease. Published in the journal Toxicological Sciences, the findings show that chemicals in diesel exhaust can trigger the toxic buildup of a protein in the brain called alpha-synuclein, which is commonly seen in people with the disease. The vast majority of neurodegenerative disease cannot be attributed to genetic causes alone and as a result, there is significant interest in identifying environmental modifiers of disease risk. Epidemiological studies have supported an association between long-term exposure to air pollutants and disease risk. Here, we investigate the mechanisms by which diesel exhaust, a major component of air pollution, induces neurotoxicity. Using a zebrafish model, we found that exposure to diesel exhaust particulate extract caused behavioral deficits and a significant decrease in neuron number. The neurotoxicity was due, at least in part, to reduced autophagic flux, which is a major pathway implicated in neurodegeneration. This neuron loss occurred alongside an increase in aggregation-prone neuronal protein. Additionally, the neurotoxicity induced by diesel exhaust particulate extract in zebrafish was mitigated by co-treatment with the autophagy-inducing drug nilotinib. This study links environmental exposure to altered proteostasis in an in vivo model system. These results shed light on why long- term exposure to traffic-related air pollution increases neurodegenerative disease risk and open up new avenues for exploring therapies to mitigate environmental exposures and promote neuroprotection.—Barnhill et al. Previous studies have revealed that people living in areas with heightened levels of traffic-related air pollution tend to have higher rates of Parkinson’s. To understand what the pollutants do to the brain, Dr. Jeff Bronstein, a professor of neurology and director of the UCLA Movement Disorders Program, tested the effect of diesel exhaust on zebrafish in the lab. It’s really important to be able to demonstrate whether air pollution is actually the thing that’s causing the effect or whether it’s something else in urban environments.—Dr. Bronstein Testing the chemicals on zebrafish, he said, lets researchers tease out whether air pollution components affect brain cells in a way that could increase the risk of Parkinson’s. The freshwater fish works well for studying molecular changes in the brain because its neurons interact in a way similar to humans. In addition, the fish are transparent, allowing scientists to easily observe and measure biological processes without killing the animals. Using zebrafish allowed us to see what was going on inside their brains at various time-points during the study.—Lisa Barnhill, a UCLA postdoctoral fellow and the study’s first author Barnhill added certain chemicals found in diesel exhaust to the water in which the zebrafish were kept. These chemicals caused a change in the animals’ behavior, and the researchers confirmed that neurons were dying off in the exposed fish. Next, they investigated the activity in several pathways in the brain known to be related to Parkinson’s disease to see precisely how the pollutant particles were contributing to cell death. In humans, Parkinson’s disease is associated with the toxic accumulation of alpha-synuclein proteins in the brain. One way these proteins can build up is through the disruption of autophagy—the process of breaking down old or damaged proteins. A healthy brain continuously makes and disposes of the proteins it needs for communication between neurons, but when this disposal process stops working, the cells continue to make new proteins and the old ones never get cleared away. In Parkinson’s, alpha-synuclein proteins that would normally be disposed of pile up in toxic clumps in and around neurons, eventually killing them and interfering with the proper functioning of the brain. This can result in various symptoms, such as tremors and muscle rigidity. Before exposing the zebrafish to diesel particles, the researchers examined the fishes’ neurons for the tell-tale pouches that carry out old proteins, including alpha-synuclein, as part of the autophagy disposal operation and found that the process was working properly. After diesel exposure, however, they saw far fewer of the garbage-toting pouches than normal. To confirm that this was the reason brain cells were dying, they treated the fish with a drug that boosts the garbage-disposal process and found that it did save the cells from dying after diesel exposure. To confirm that diesel could have the same effect on human neurons, the researchers replicated the experiment using cultured human cells. Exposure to diesel exhaust had a similar effect on those cells. Overall, this report shows a plausible mechanism of why air pollution may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.—Dr. Bronstein The research was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, the Levine Foundation and the Parkinson’s Alliance. Resources Lisa M Barnhill, Sataree Khuansuwan, Daniel Juarez, Hiromi Murata, Jesus A Araujo, Jeff M Bronstein (2020) “Diesel Exhaust Extract Exposure Induces Neuronal Toxicity by Disrupting Autophagy,” Toxicological Sciences doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfaa055
|2020/5/23 10:30||Green Car Congress||
Alstom reports successful 1.5y trial operation of Coradia iLint fuel cell trains, next project phase begins
After 530 days and more than 180,000 driven kilometers, the successful trial operation of the world’s first two hydrogen trains was officially completed at the end of February. Two pre-series trains of Alstom’s Coradia iLint model have been in passenger service since September 2018. (Earlier post.) From 2022, 14 Coradia iLint series trains will replace existing diesel multiple units. (Earlier post.) The Local Transport Authority of Lower Saxony (Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen, LNVG) was the first company to believe in hydrogen, investing in it with the order of 14 Coradia iLint trains and thirty years of maintenance and power supply. This project showcases the importance of green mobility for the state of Lower Saxony. As one of the leading rail vehicle manufacturers in Europe, Alstom will produce the fuel cell trains for LNVG and will be responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles at its site in Salzgitter. The gases and engineering company Linde will build and operate a hydrogen filling station for the series trains near Bremervoerde station. Our two pre-series trains of the Coradia iLint have proven over the past year and a half that fuel cell technology can be used successfully in daily passenger service. This makes us an important driving force on the way to emission-free and sustainable mobility in rail transport. We have also obtained valuable data from the trial operation of the fuel cell trains for the further development of the propulsion technology.—Jörg Nikutta, Managing Director for Germany and Austria of Alstom Transport Deutschland GmbH Alstom has made hydrogen history here. The project is of a great importance to industrial policy that goes far beyond Germany. Here, we are witnessing the first competitive product of hydrogen mobility at industrial level.—Lower Saxony’s Minister of Economics and Transport, Dr. Bernd Althusmann
|2020/5/23 10:00||Green Car Congress||
H2OzBus project to deploy 100 fuel cell buses across Australia
ITM Power announced the formation of the H2OzBus Project and the signing of a memorandum of understanding with a consortium of strategic partners. The consortium comprises Transit Systems, part of the SeaLink Travel Group; Ballard Power Systems; BOC Limited; Palisade Investment Partners; and ITM Power. The partners have signed a memorandum of understanding as a further step in evaluating and demonstrating the concept of hydrogen fuel cell electric buses for use in public bus transport in Australia. The consortium will collaborate on a project to further investigate deploying an initial 100 hydrogen fuel cell electric buses in cities across Australia in Phase 1, with the intention to use this as a seed for more widespread roll-out. This concept development phase will focus on infrastructure requirements and detailed plans for use of hydrogen fuel cell electric buses on bus routes in up to 10 central hub locations across Australia where interest and demand for fuel cell buses has already been identified. Hydrogen fuel cell electric buses for public transport has alignment to ARENA’s (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) key investment priorities in Accelerating Hydrogen and Decarbonising Industry. The consortium is leveraging the strengths of each partner as they work towards agreement on feasibility, scope and funding of the next phase of the Project. The key expertise that each partner in the consortium brings to the project and their proposed roles in the Project are: ITM Power and BOC will provide the hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure; Ballard Power Systems will supply the fuel cell system to be integrated into the electric buses supplied by supporting bus manufacturers; Transit Systems will maintain and operate the vehicles as part of their daily urban transit operations (or within a strategically located project managed by Transit Systems); and Palisade Investment Partners will assist in providing funding and strategic financial oversight.
|2020/5/23 9:30||Green Car Congress||
Argosy Minerals announces first shipment of lithium carbonate from Rincon project
Australia-based Argosy Minerals Limited confirmed the successful export shipment of five tonnes of >99.5% lithium carbonate product from its industrial-scale pilot plant operations at the Rincon Lithium Project in Salta Province, Argentina. The preliminary five tonne cargo was loaded onto the ship on Wednesday and set sail overnight from Buenos Aires port, and is being delivered into the Sales and Purchase Agreement executed with Mitsubishi Corporation RtM Japan Ltd. The regulatory approvals process, and all loading and export logistics arrangements ran smoothly and to expected timeframes. Argosy Li2CO3 shipment. his significant achievement of our first product shipment from operations at Rincon is another key development milestone for the Company, and confirms the marketability of our high quality >99.5% lithium carbonate product. The company and the high-quality Puna operations team are delighted to join the exclusive list of international lithium carbonate product exporters and first from Salta Province, as we continue toward full development of our Rincon Lithium Project.—Argosy Managing Director, Jerko Zuvela Argosy has a current 77.5% (and ultimate 90%) interest in the Rincon Lithium Project in Salta Province, Argentina and a 100% interest in the Tonopah Lithium Project in Nevada. The Rincon Lithium Project currently comprises up to ~2,794 hectares of Mining Titles and mining easement landholdings at the Salar del Rincon in Salta Province, Argentina. Argosy has executed a sales agreement with Mitsubishi RtM for up to 100 tonnes LCE product. Permitting approvals have been granted for expanding production to up to 2,000 tpa. A non-binding HOA with Mitsubishi RtM provides for the supply of 2,000 tpa for 3 years, with an option to extend for another two years.