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Candle soot could power electric car batteries: Indian researchers

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Hyderabad, Oct 8 Burning a candle could be all that it takes to make an inexpensive but powerful electric car battery, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad have found.

The research revealed that candle soot could be used to power the kind of lithium-ion battery that is used in plug-in hybrid electric cars.

“We are very excited about the results. This new approach is very easy and the costs involved are minimal — it would make battery production cheaper,” said Chandra Sharma, one of the study authors.

Sharma estimated that one hybrid car would need ten kg of carbon soot, which would be deposited in about an hour using candles.

Their discovery opens up the possibilities of using carbon in more powerful batteries, driving down the cost of portable power.

Lithium-ion batteries power many devices, from smartphones and digital cameras all the way up to cars and even aircraft.

The batteries work by having two electrically-charged materials suspended in a liquid to produce a current.

Carbon is used as one of those materials in smaller batteries, but for bigger, more powerful batteries — such as those used in electric cars — carbon is not suitable because of its structure, which cannot produce the required current density.

In the new study, Sharma and Manohar Kakunuri found that because of the shape and configuration of the tiny carbon nanoparticles, the carbon in candle soot is suitable for use in bigger batteries.

What is more, because the soot could be produced quickly and easily, it is a scalable approach to making batteries.

When a candle burns, it gives off clouds of black soot made of carbon.

The researchers looked at the soot collected from the tip of a candle flame and from the middle of the flame and compared the size, shape and structure of the carbon.

The results showed that the burning process forms nanoparticles of carbon that are 30-40 nanometres across and are joined together in an interconnected network.

They also found that the soot recovered from the tip of a candle flame, which burns at 1400 degrees Celsius, has fewer impurities like wax, making it perform better as an electrical conductor.

In tests, the researchers found the soot effective as a conducting material in a battery.

The researchers now plan to develop a candle soot battery to test the technology further.

The findings appeared in the journal Electrochimica Acta.

(IANS)

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New Application Shows U.S. And Canadian Commuters Their Carbon Footprint

Whitworth said the company also plans to sell the data it collects.

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Multiple apps are displayed on an iPhone in New York.. VOA

A mobile application launched in dozens of U.S. and Canadian cities on Monday measures the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions of inner-city travel, its creators said, letting concerned commuters map their so-called carbon footprints.

Mapping app Cowlines can suggest the most efficient route as well which uses the least fuel, combining modes of transport such as bicycling and walking, within cities, its Vancouver, Canada-based creators said.

Some two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to settle in urban areas by 2050, according to the United Nations.

The trend presents an environmental challenge, given that the world’s cities account for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions.

CO2, Antarctica, ozone layer, carbon
Carbon atoms move between rocks, rivers, plants, oceans and other sources in a planet-scale life cycle. Flickr

Not only will the app measure a trip’s emissions and suggest alternatives, it will provide the data to cities and urban planners working on systems from subway lines to bike-sharing programs, said Jonathan Whitworth, chief strategy officer at Greenlines Technology, which created the app.

“As you would imagine here in Canada, especially Western Canada, most people are driven by the environmental side of it,” Whitworth told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The app aims to encourage users in 62 U.S. and Canadian cities to use cleaner modes of transportation, from mass transit to walking or biking, he said.

Carbon
A Tri-Met light rail train rolls through downtown Portland, Oregon. VOA

In the United States, mass transit accounts for less than 2 percent of passenger miles traveled, according to Daniel Sperling, founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis.

“People are starved for good information and data for good travel choices,” said Sperling.

The app’s suggested route is a cowline – city planner parlance for the fastest route, said Whitworth. In pastoral settings, a cowline is the most direct path cattle use to reach grazing grounds.

Also Read: Brazil Cut Its Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels Lower Than 2020 Emission Goals

The app shows users after a trip how many kilograms of carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions they are responsible for, Whitworth said.

While other apps such as Changers CO2 Fit track users’ carbon footprints, Cowlines claims its methodology, certified by the International Organization for Standardization, is most accurate, he said.

Whitworth said the company also plans to sell the data it collects. (VOA)