- In this month’s focus on technology, we move from solar power generation to improvements in battery technology.Here are three new ideas for battery design. This power-dense flow battery uses a mixture of an inexpensive bromine solution and hydrogen gas without the use of membranes to significantly reduce costs. While this idea uses an ammonia liquid, copper electrodes and low-grade heat as an engine produces when operating to regenerate itself. This solid battery uses clusters of silicon nanoparticles embedded in a carbon rind to overcome design flaws of lithium-ion versions.
And these ideas improve upon the design of common lithium-ion batteries. This one uses low-cost, high-capacity silicon anodes to replace the now often used graphite anodes. Here is a concept that uses vanadate-borate class cathodes to double battery capacity. Apparently silicon dioxide nanotube anodes can triple the energy storage of lithium-ion batteries. As an aside, when silicon particles are combined with water, silicic acid and hydrogen gas are produced making this a possible component of future fuel cells.
Finally, how about batteries made with titanium dioxide gel anodes that charge to 70% in just two minutes and last over 20 years?!
- The monthly NOAA State of the Climate report shows that January 2015 was the second warmest on record over the land and ocean. Over the land specifically, the global temperature was more than 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit above the 136-year running average. On a regional basis, central Asia was well above its typical January temperature while the east coast of Canada and the USA was well below its typical.
- It’s March which is the unofficial beginning of Spring in Colorado and also the month of one of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of St. Patty’s Day, my Google Search this month was, “GIS and St. Patrick’s Day.” If you scroll through the search results, you might come across this paper by Chad Bunn of California Polytechnic State University. Bunn uses open-source GIS software to analyze crime patterns in the city of San Luis Obispo, California. And his findings about crimes on St. Patrick’s Day are, well, not surprising!
- From Nebraska, we head west to the shining city in the desert, Las Vegas, Nevada, for a review of their GIS resources. The City of Las Vegas makes available a very nice web map with a wide range of data layers that can be toggled on and off. There is a way to generate a link on the web map so that others can look at the same display that you have created. There are also a bunch of maps that can be downloaded in PDF format on this page. A glaring oversight is the ability to download the shapefiles and rasters that drive the web map and PDFs.
Brock Adam McCarty