Regular unleaded gasoline may soon power fuel-cell vehicles. Arthur D. Little (ADL, Cambridge, MA), a technology-based consulting firm, completed a five-year program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Out of the study, rose a reformer technology that converts gasoline and other carbon sources to hydrogen on-board an automobile. Fuel cells then convert the hydrogen to electricity which powers the vehicle. Chrysler Corporation is working on a model of a fuel cell car and hopes to demonstrate a working vehicle with this technology in the next two years. "Using the current fueling infrastructure will shrink the time frame needed to achieve fuel cell-powered family sedans," states Jeffrey Bentley, a director in Technology and Product Development business. "Fuel cells require hydrogen to operate and hydrogen is something not sold at your neighborhood service station. This breakthrough technology represents the first time that gasoline can successfully operate fuel cells." The reformer incorporates a fuel flexible design, enabling a vehicle running on this technology to use a variety of fuels.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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