Illustration for article titled EcoModo - The Best of Treehugger

This week at TreeHugger: A Lithium Iron Phosphate breakthrough could mean better (cheaper, more powerful) batteries for electronics, hybrids and electric cars. Researchers have figured out a way to use micro-lenses to make better OLEDs, generating up to 70 lumens/watt! Google has decided to invest in a battery and an electric car company. And finally, a study shows that big screen plasma TVs use more juice than plug-in vehicles. Arumugam Manthiram, a professor of materials engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, has shown that a new technique that uses microwaves can reduce both the amount of time it takes, and the temperatures required to make li-iron phosphate batteries. Instead of many hours and 700 degrees Celsius, his technique only takes a few minutes and 300 degrees. Researchers at the U. of Michigan and Princeton are saying they made OLEDs that can produce 70 lumens per watt (compared to 15 lumens per watt for incandescent), and that they might be able to do even better than that. To achieve that impressive efficiency, they are using a grid combined with micro-lenses, all of it on the nano-scale (the lenses are 5 micrometers wide). Google's philanthropic arm, via its RechargeIT program, has just bet $2.75 million on two companies trying to make plug-in hybrids and electric cars a reality: Aptera Motors, maker of the three-wheeled two-seater Typ-1, and ActaCell, a spinoff from the University of Texas at Austin that is working on lithium-ion battery technology. "Plasma TVs, industry officials say, consume about four times the electricity as recharging a plug-in hybrid. Yet utilities have managed to cope with the increased loads as thousands of new televisions came on line." This is a very good sign for the next few years when plug-in hybrids and electric cars are expected to come to market. TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter