Solar energy beamed from space
Solar EVs from Lightyear
The forward-leaning morning newsletter for those
who love all things green
January 16, 2023
Topics: Solar power, CalTech, world's first solid state batteries, Yoshino, CES, cannabis, Montana, solar EVs, Lightyear, microplastics, Princeton
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🤔Imagine this one Harvesting solar power in space and wirelessly supplying the energy back to Earth is more challenging than it sounds, yet a team of Caltech researchers is one step closer to making it happen. On January 3 they launched their Momentus Vigoride spacecraft on the Transporter 6 mission from a SpaceX rocket. The technology will gather the information that will enable them to develop panels and materials that can orbit in outer space and transmit electricity back to Earth.
The device, aka the Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD), is expected to begin returning data to Earth in the next few weeks. The vision began over 12 years ago when Donald Bren, a California native and successful, multi-billionaire and philanthropist fervently embraced the idea after reading about it in an issue of Popular Science magazine. By 2013 he and his wife made the financial donation to Caltech to bring the project to life. If all goes accordingly, this will provide an infinite supply of clean solar power to the world.
On the launch day Bren said: “For many years, I’ve dreamed about how space-based solar power could solve some of humanity’s most urgent challenges. Today, I’m thrilled to be supporting Caltech’s brilliant scientists as they race to make that dream a reality.” Tap here for a live version of Lou Reed singing Satellite of Love.
🔋Forty years after the first lithium-ion batteries This year's Consumers Electronics Show (CES) just wrapped up last week in Las Vegas. The show was Vegas-style fabulous and featured many amazing products, ranging from next-generation electronics to EVs. Southern California-based solid battery maker Yoshino also came to display the world's first solid-state batteries.
Solid-state batteries are far more durable, powerful, lighter and charge faster than lithium-ion batteries. More than four decades ago, Dr. Akira Yoshino developed the first lithium-ion battery technology. Yoshino has launched four models (B330, B660, B2000, and B4000), which can be used to power things like handsets, EVs, and even homes. The company first displayed the solid-state batteries in November at AAPEX 2022 show, and at the CES they were ETL certified, a product compliance standard for North American safety requirements.
🍁Montana's legal cannabis market The Montana cannabis sector celebrated last week alongside New Year. The state's adult-use industry became one year old. Congrats! According to the Department of Revenue, the department that regulates the legal cannabis market, the adult-use and medical cannabis sales in Q3 of 2022 surpassed $303 million.
In addition, recreational cannabis sales exceeded experts' projections, accounting for up to 70% of the total sales at over $202 million. Montana raised over $35 million in industry related taxes. Green making green to benefit so many. The fourth quarter results are expected to be out by next week, and experts project that recreational sales will exceed $300 million in Q4.
🚘Lightyear: the solar EV This year's international Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in Las Vegas last week, won't be easily forgotten. Traditional auto companies like VW, BMW, and Stellantis showed their EV lines, and the Dutch solar EV pioneer, Lightyear were all there, and leaning forward into green technologies.
Lightyear saw great interest in its first solar EV, the Lightyear 0, which it recently started delivering to customers. Lightyear opened a waitlist for its second solar EV, dubbed Lightyear 2. Their new solar EV will be cheaper (less than $40,000), will have charge range around 500 miles and promises to be more powerful. The company said that it will start producing the new solar EV models in 2025.
🥚Microplastics, bread and egg-whites Microplastic pollution has gotten worse in the environment. Scientists report a significant pollution increase in marine environments, to the extent that these pollutants are now inside the bodies of humans, and filtering them out of the environment has been impossible. The April18, 2022 issue of AGREEN1 covered the topic. Now Princeton Engineering researchers have a solution.
The team is led by Professor Craig Arnold of Princeton's Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and director of the Institute of Materials at the University, were able to develop an aerogel material from egg whites, which can remove not just microplastics but also salt from seawaters at efficiencies of 99% and 98%, respectively. The researchers revealed that their solution could also serve in energy storage and insulation.
Professor Arnold said; "I was sitting there, staring at the bread in my sandwich, and I thought to myself, this is exactly the kind of structure that we need.” His team helped by making different bread recipes mixed with carbon to recreate the aerogel structure. Through trial and error, and process of elimination the team discovered that only egg whites were required. All from a simple sandwich... food is for thought!
Stay Curious... Who are we?
Fun question of the day: Is coffee your favorite morning beverage?
Who are we?
Last fun question of the day: Did you walk outdoors at least 1 day a week?
100% of respondents said YES
Thanks again for being you. Until the next issue, be sure to add more green to your life!
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