Last October, a rupture in the Aliso Canyon natural gas reservoir caused a methane gas spill that evacuated over 8,000 people and released 1.6 million pounds of methane into the atmosphere. The Aliso Canyon leak is the worst in U.S. history. After these events, the Aliso Canyon facility was closed. It had been feeding the network of natural gas peaker plants in the Los Angeles basin, but was no longer able to store the fuel safely.
Los Angeles still needs an electric energy solution that guarantees reliability during peak times. Buildings in the basin will need more natural gas for heat as the winter weather draws near. These demands apply pressure to the energy system, exposing the Los Angeles basin to a greater risk of blackouts.
After the leak, California Governor Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency, and the California Public Utilities Commission mandated an accelerated procurement for energy storage. Southern California Edison and other utilities were directed to seek out a utility-scale storage solution that could be operational by December 31, 2016. Unlike traditional electric generators, batteries can be deployed rapidly at scale and do not need any water or gas pipelines.
Last week, Tesla was chosen to provide a 20 MW/80 MWh Powerpack system at the Southern California Edison Mira Loma substation. Once complete, the system will be the largest lithium-ion battery storage project in the world. Fully charged, the system will hold enough energy to power over 2,500 households for a day or charge 1,000 Tesla vehicles.
Thanks to the Gigafactory, the system will be complete in three months. During off-peak hours, the system will charge using electricity from the grid and during peak hours it will deliver electricity to help maintain the operation of Southern California Edison’s electrical infrastructure, which feeds over 15 million residents.
Tesla’s Gigafactory 1, a lithium-ion battery factory, is under construction in Storey County, Nevada. At 13 million square feet, it will be the world’s largest building by physical area and the second largest by usable space. Tesla expects it will be reducing production cost for their electric vehicle battery, Powerwall and Powerpack packs by about 30 percent. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says total planned battery output of the Gigafactory could triple to ~105 GWh of cells and ~150 GWh of battery packs. The company refers to the Gigafactory in Storey County as “Gigafactory 1” because it expects the factory to be one of many in the future. Tesla could be delivering lithium-ion batteries as early as the end of 2016.
Spirits on Bourbon is known for its great drinks, food and Dueling Pianos. It’s also known as a great place to watch sports! But did you know that it is the first bar in New Orleans to welcome you with the new and exciting Printed Light flashing floor mat? Utilizing nanotechnology and produced by CRU Global Innovations, these floor mats are a great way to draw attention while promoting the latest drink or menu specials!
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced a successful first test flight of his solar-powered internet drone, Aquila, on Thursday. The test flight took place in Yuma, Arizona and the drone was aloft for 96 minutes, while it was expected to be aloft for only 30 minutes. The concept of the drone is that as it circles a region, it will use laser-beam technology to deliver internet to those within a 60-mile radius. To do this successfully, the aircraft must fly 60,000 feet or more above the earth. With a wingspan of a Boeing 737, Aquila faces many engineering challenges before it can provide affordable internet to those without easy access. For instance, it must be able to collect enough energy during daylight hours to operate for 24 hours a day. It must also have batteries that can efficiently store enough energy for as long as 3 months at a time. Under Project Loon, which uses high-altitude, wind-propelled balloons, Google parent company Alphabet Inc. is also in the race to bring internet access to everyone.
Google’s Boston Dynamics, an engineering and robotics company widely known for their 240-pound robot BigDog, has developed their lightest robot yet. SpotMini weighs only 65 pounds and runs for about 90 minutes on a charge. The agile robot has been recorded in a home going up the stairs, ducking under a table, and even loading a dishwasher! SpotMini navigates using a variety of sensors.
In 2015, ten years after its release, BigDog was discontinued. The robot was modeled after a pack mule and intended for use in combat, but it was too loud for this application. SpotMini has an all-electric design replacing the liquid-powered pistons of BigDog, which makes SpotMini one of the quietest robots Boston Dynamics has ever created. However, SpotMini may be applied domestically more than in combat as it resembles a dog and proves to be helpful with household chores.
Toyota is introducing the Prius with a solar roof in the fall of 2016. However, this feature will only be available in Europe and Japan. The large solar panel on the roof of the car does not comply with United States safety regulations because it is installed on reinforced glass sheeting that shatters in the event of a rollover. Toyota currently does not have the ability to laminate the photovoltaic cells in a resin that will not shatter, but the company is actively researching a solution.
While the car is parked, the solar roof will send the electricity generated to the battery pack. While the car is running, the electricity will power lights, windows, and air conditioning. The solar roof improves the Prius’s efficiency by up to ten percent. The company has been working on this development since 2009 and hopes to release the solar roof to other Toyota hybrids soon.
Dubai has just opened the world’s first 3D printed building. At 250 square meters, and built in just 17 days, the building is equipped with electricity, water, telecommunications, and air conditioning. Dubbed “Office of the Future,” the building is located on Emirates Towers premises. It will house the office of the Dubai Future Foundation.
The 3D printed structure was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum on May 23, 2016. He said on Twitter, “We have a long-term strategy for 3D printing and by 2030 we will print 25% of Dubai’s buildings using this technology.”
The building was made using a 3D printer 20 feet high, 120 feet long, and 40 feet wide. A mixture of cement and building materials made in the United Arab Emirates and the US were used for construction. Using 3D printing technology cut labor costs by more than 50 percent.– Sally Soltero, Product Development Engineer of CRU Global Innovations