In another move to protect the ozone layer, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and American Power Corp. (Boston) have formed an alliance to field test 3 kW fuel-cell systems for residential and commercial markets. The test will evaluate up to 25 "alpha series" prototype fuel cells to assess their technical and economic potential for services with power requirements in the 1-50 kW range. A typical residence uses 1-2 kW over a 24-hr period. The newer polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel-cell technology has advanced rapidly in the last couple of years, the team reports. American Power's Residential Power Generator, which uses natural gas, propane, or other hydrocarbon fuels as the power source, allows a home to operate either on or independent from a utility power grid. American Power is currently commercializing PEM cells that range from 1 kW up to several megawatts for niche markets. EPRI will lead a field evaluation and demonstration program and manage a users' group. Users will provide feedback on fuel-cell performance, reliability, and durability. EPRI is seeking sponsors to order up to 25 units for delivery in mid-1998. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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