METAL – THE NEXT BIG FUEL?

According to a new report from researchers at McGill University, powdered metal fuels could be an effective replacement for the fossil fuels we currently rely on: coal, oil and natural gas. As well as providing an alternative energy source, powdered metals would significantly slash carbon emissions and environmental damage.

Not only do grains of powdered metal contain more energy per liter than any conventional fuel, but the fuel may be recyclable in some cases. By grinding the metal, the ratio between the surface area and volume of the grains is vastly increased – making a ‘better’ burning product.

However, it is important to note that the powder would not be a primary energy source like petroleum, but rather a storage medium for energy sources such as nuclear or hydroelectric power.

Whilst this technology may seem promising, there are considerable downsides in that: this method is currently not cost-competitive, and the investment in heavy mining equipment to obtain these metals would likely off-set any carbon saved in the actual burning of the metal. Additionally, developments in battery capacity and efficiency still lag behind, making it difficult for powdered metals to be used effectively as an alternative fuel source.

Despite this, the rapid pace of development and modern technology may mean that we see powdered metal as a viable energy alternative in the not-so-distant future!

Image: Stabilized flames of different metal powders burning with air, compared to a methane-air flame (Credit: Alternative Fuels Laboratory/McGill University)

Iron-air batteries: a cheap and eco-friendly solution for energy storage

After more than 40 after preparing the first prototype of a cheap , rechargeable, high energy density iron-air battery, researchers at the University of Southern California are now finishing the job of the patent-pending design of the battery.

The technical characteristics of the batteries look particularly well-suited to the kind of large-scale energy storage that could accelerate the adoption of renewable energy sources.

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Back in the 70’s, researchers were already working on environmentally friendly rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and only recent advances in materials technology have made this technology into one of the most common, high-performing solutions for today’s portable electronics.

Iron compared to other materials has a few advantages: it’s durable, it has a great capacity to pack energy (per unit of mass), it’s recyclable but most importantly it’s cheap with costs around US$1/kg (2.2 lb).

Iron-air batteries were first expected to be used for electric vehicles and military applications after the 1973 oil crisis. However, research stopped abruptly only years later, when scientists realized that iron-air batteries presented a serious  limitation: whenever the battery was being charged, a wasteful process of hydrolysis drained away about half of the battery’s energy.

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With today’s technology and advanced research, University of Southern California found a solution to this  problem. They learned that adding a small amount of bismuth sulfide into the battery shut down the harmful reaction and reduced the waste of energy more than tenfold, from 50 down to just 4% .

The other good characteristic cost-effective design of its iron electrode. The researchers combined iron powder with a polyethylene binder, heating the mix to obtain a “pressed-plate” electrode that is simple to make and has high specific energy.

The iron-air battery is exhibiting very promising durability, with a target life of 5,000 charge-discharge cycles. Even more importantly, the batteries seem to retain good performance when they are being drained quickly: at a two-hour rate of discharge, the batteries are showing a twenty-fold increase in capacity compared to commercially available electrodes.

Shanghai Metal Corporation encourages the development and innovation of new technologies. You can visit the company’s website , contact us and follow us on twitter and facebook for more information and news on metal.

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Houria // SMC Editor

ALUMINIUM – THE BATTERY OF THE FUTURE

Why do we like so much aluminium at Shanghai Metal Corporation? This is a very easy question. Because aluminium is a very versatile material that can be employed for a wide range of purpose. For instance, according to some specialized websites in the near future aluminum may be used in the production of various electronic devices batteries. The researchers of the University of California at Stanford have announced the development of aluminum-based batteries promising better performance and a lower impact on the environment compared to current models made of lithium.

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What is more special about the aluminium batteries is that, not only their life would be significantly higher than conventional batteries (7,500 versus 1,000 cycles), but especially we should be able to fully recharge them in just a minute. Moreover, the aluminium batteries could be applied to a high number of devices such as smartphones, electric cars and laptops.

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Since aluminum is very less expensive than lithium, a further advantageous feature of the aluminium battery would be its lower cost of production. Furthermore, aluminum guarantees the total absence of any risk of fire. The environmental benefits are obvious. A smartphone battery  that takes only one minute to charge results in a considerable decrease in energy waste.

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Source: http://techleaks.in/

Do not  forget that Shanghai Metal Corporation provides you with a great selection metals such as aluminum which can be use for various applications. Check out our aluminium sheet/plate, widely used in the production of automobile, building wall and celings. Feel free to contact us for further information. We have English-speaking staff who will be more than glad to help you.

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Stefano // SMC Editor

Hang Your Garden Up-Side Down For A Sustainable Artwork

Designed for homes, LivingLight is a multifunction device that serves as luminaire and hanging garden. The concept behind LivingLight is very simple. It doesn’t need to plug into a wall to work – actually the moist soil acts as an “earth battery”. How does it work?  A copper cathodes and zinc anodes are pressed into the soil and connected to each of the 4 OLED LightBlades via 2 spring loaded contacts. These panels, in turn, are highly efficient, since it’s combined with biodegradable cellulose based thin-film battery that stores energy drawn from the electrolytes in the moist soil not used during day time.

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LivingLight can be hung from the ceiling in clusters to create ‘hanging gardens’ indoors. A thin membrane avoids soil to fall out the bottom opening, securing the upside down vegetable plants to stay put and close to the light source. Another feature is the oil-free Cork Polymer Composite (CPC) pot, which is water impermeable and rot-resistant, whilst degradable and recyclable.

The herbs are watered through an ingenious gravity-based system that provides hydration for your plants via a large top-feeding water reservoir located at the top. Made of recyclable glass the reservoir reduces the maintenance cycle, also saving the water lost through evaporation and drainage in ordinary upright indoor plants.

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LivingLight was designed by Michael Oechsle and was part of the Electrolux Design Lab 2012, reaching top 80 for global nominees. Its style and functionality call attention, especially when it comes to making the most of limited indoor spaces. It cleans and purifies the air indoors, whilst providing fresh goods grown in a sustainable and natural manner.

Shanghai Metal Corporation offers a wide range of metals such as copper, widely used in varying artifacts. To find out more, please visit our Website or send your inquiry here. Follow us on  LinkedInTwitter, FacebookInstagram and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Or you could try our new mobile app by scanning our QR code.

Source and Photo credit: trendhunter.com, foododdity.com, coroflot.com

Camilla G.//SMC Editor

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The Lux Device That Froths Your Beer To Perfection

To beer enthusiasts a head of foam is not only an aesthetic element. The foam carries a ‘trigeminal’ sensation, which gives a completely different mouth feel and body to the beer. Like capsaicin, the compound responsible for chillies’ spiciness or menthol for its cooling sensation and the fizzy feeling of carbonated beverages. Beer foam is carbonation in other words, hence a trigeminal sensation –  so it’s a tactile like you feel.

Tricks to give the perfect foam to your beer involve creating bubbles by briskly pouring the drink into the glass with a bit of splash. Although this process will give you foam, it will be destroyed by big bubbles and low density. Another trick is to add CO2 in the beer or, for a more creamy foam, nitrogen gas and nitrogen will also work wonders by “softening” the overall palate.

Rather complicated to DIY at home, Danish design studio Norm Architects (for the design brand Menu) just made your life even better. They created the Beer Foamer that separates the foam-making process from the pouring process, in order to give you that creamy, fluffy, crisp and dense feel of foam.

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The device is copper-plated and takes inspiration from the large boilers used in old beer breweries, while the bottom container is made of shatterproof glass. How it works? You pour approximately one centimeter of beer into the bottom of the transparent glass container, press the button and wait 20 seconds while a battery-powered whisk froths up the liquid. Then you pour the freshly frothed foam onto your beer.

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The Beer Foamer promises you to the precious bubbles that release the different aromas which beer makers put so much effort on as they can alter the perception of any given beer.  Well, it’s Friday today anyways so why not try it out?

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Shanghai Metal Corporation offers a wide range of metals such as copper, widely used in varying artifacts. To find out more, please visit our Website, WordPress, LinkedIn , Twitter , Facebook  and Instagram. Or you could try our new mobile app by scanning our QR code. Moreover, we sell directly from Alibaba , EC21 ,Tradekey or directly at sales@shanghaimetal.com.

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Source and pictures: wbur.org, foodnavigator-usa.com, urdesign.it, urdesignmag.com

Pics: dezeen.com, brewsnews.com.au

Camilla G.//SMC Editor