I think this is a very interesting development, whether or not it ever bears fruit today or takes a while to do so. One of the things well noted at the end of Chuck's piece by Dotter is "this is just the beginning." The only way we are ever going to see any sustainable innovation around renewable energy and EV battery development is to try things out, refine them, work out the bugs, throw out what doesn't work, and move on to the next development.
Not everything will work, not everything will stick. But each little move is progress. So with that in mind, I think this is a great development, even if it just inches us a tiny bit closer down the path to harvesting renewable energy. Also a great example of the intersection of automotive technology and mainstream IT technology, but that's fodder for another comment!!
So I'm guessing that Renewable Energy generators will voluntarily spray paint their electrons blue while there will be additional regulations passed requiring dirty (Natural gas, Coal, Nuclear) Energy generators to paint their electrons red. And then the lithium-ion recharging station will preferentially utilize the "good" electrons according to color?
For me this begs the question as to what's the definition and/or usage of the term "Renewable Electrons." Looking at it in an engineer sense, I would say that this is really a marketing term that refers to power sourced in a certain way --i.e., excess energy available from the grid, incrementally cost essentially zero (other than the adjudication of the delivery via apps, Onstar etc.) because on a pure technical basis the term doesn't on the face of it make any sense. Am I off base here?
I would have to agree with you, Alex. I interpreted it as a fancy way of referring to the smart grid which we hear so much about, and more about apps that allow you tap into on-demand energy capabilities, not any real engineering innovation that had any to do with physical electrons.
I agree with Beth's first comment. Obviously we're not "there" yet, whether "there" means having enough energy in the smart grid to power up our electric cars, replacing all petro-based plastics with bio-based ones, recycling all plastics, or making all plastic items only out of recycled plastics (note those last two are not the same thing). But if we don't start we'll never get there, either. Many European countries, as well as Japan, started tackling some of these issues 20 years ago (*only* 20 years after the first Earth Day) and they are much more advanced than anything we've got going in the US after 40 years of dithering or ignoring the problems instead of working on their possible solutions.
No, you're not off base here, Alex. This is essentially a marketing effort. I think it's really targeted at those who want to feel that they're not using coal to power their Volt. They hope they're using renewables. But it's impossible to know where your particular energy is coming from and the chances that it's coming from renewables is very, very slim today.
I guess that some people are going to buy a Volt because it will make them feel good that they are theoretically doing a little bit to help the environment. If the system tells that set of consumers that they are also pulling energy from renewable sources, it will make them feel better, and a happy consumer is someone that will buy from you again.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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