India’s first foldable phone in 2019 will be a Samsung Galaxy, A50 with Infinity-O also in pipeline … What Will this Mean to the’Flexible Electronics Markets’?


The foldable Samsung smartphone will demand an extremely higher price for its foldable display technology. The Galaxy A50 will also bring the Infinity-O display technology to the Indian market.

  • Rumours have stated that Samsung will either use a Snapdragon 855 or an Exynos 9820 chipset.
  • Samsung said at the time that the phone will act as a conventional smartphone when folded with is a smaller display panel.
  • The Galaxy A50 will be the first smartphone in India to offer Samsung’s Infinity-O display featuring narrow bezels.

Since Samsung showed off the foldable smartphone at the Samsung Developer Conference in October 2018, the world has been eager to see Samsung’s premium lineup for 2019. The Galaxy A8s unveiled a few weeks ago showed off the Infinity-O display with narrow bezels all around. Therefore, consumers are looking forward to an exciting smartphone lineup from Samsung for this year for the Indian markets. The good news is that India will also be one of the first few markets to enjoy Samsung’s latest and greatest.

According to a report from MySmartPrice, Samsung will unveil both the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy A50 within the next few months and India will witness them soon after. The Galaxy Fold will come to Indian market a few after weeks its launch in European markets. Rumours have stated that Samsung will either use a Snapdragon 855 or an Exynos 9820 chipset for powering the foldable smartphones. Additionally, it could feature 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage.

At the SDC 2018, Samsung mentioned that they were working with Google to optimise Android for the new foldable form factor. The optimisation with Google will make all apps, as well as the entire Android interface, adapt to the newer display. Samsung said at the time that the phone will act as a conventional smartphone when folded with is a smaller display panel. When unfolded, the device will reveal a large tablet-like display for a bigger viewing experience.

It is also known that the Galaxy Fold will feature dual batteries. Each half of the device will contain a battery, which means the Galaxy Fold could end up having a total battery capacity of up to 6000mAh. This would be necessary considering the demanding nature of the hardware as well as the software. The report also states a probable price for the Galaxy Fold. Samsung could eventually end offering the most expensive smartphones in its history by selling the Galaxy Fold for around $2,000 (approximately Rs 1,50,000). The device would be available in limited numbers as well.

Apart from the Galaxy Fold, Samsung will also bring the much-awaited Galaxy A50 to the Indian market. The A50 will be the first smartphone in India to offer Samsung’s Infinity-O display featuring narrow bezels. The panel will be Samsung’s Super AMOLED one rendering a full HD+ pixel resolution. The A50 is also rumoured to sport an in-display fingerprint sensor. Underneath, the A50 will be powered by an Exynos 9610 chipset accompanied by 4GB RAM and offered with a choice of either 64GB or 128GB storage variants. The A50 will be powered by Samsung’s OneUI based on Android 9 Pie out of the box. The A50 is also expected to kept alive by a 4000mAh battery.

The Galaxy A50 will be a midrange smartphone in India, with prices expected to start under Rs 25,000. The A50 is expected to be announced a few weeks after the Galaxy S10 is unveiled. The Infinity-O display is expected to trickle down to other budget Samsung smartphones in the future as well.

Tenka Energy, Inc. Building Ultra-Thin Energy Dense SuperCaps and NexGen Nano-Enabled Pouch & Cylindrical Batteries – Energy Storage Made Small and POWERFUL! YouTube Video
** A ‘Flex-form high Power density and Cycle Life battery from Tenka Energy could be just what this phone will need to EXCEL! **


Lithium vs Hydrogen – EV’s vs Fuel Cells – A New Perspective of Mutual Evolution

Electric vehicle sales are pumping, with an ever-expanding network of charging stations around the world facilitating the transition from gas-guzzling automobiles, to sleek and technologically adept carbon-friendly alternatives.

With that in mind, the community of car and energy enthusiasts still continue to open up the old ‘Who would win in a fight, lithium vs hydrogen fuel cell technology?’.


Are hydrogen fuel cell cars doomed?

Imagine being the disgruntled owner of a hydrogen-powered car, only for lithium batteries to completely take the reigns of the industry and in effect, make your vehicle obsolete. It’s not really that wild of a notion, it’s far closer to reality than you may realize, as most electric car vehicle manufacturers consider lithium to be the battery of choice, and a more progressive development tool.

Any rechargeable device in your home, like your portable battery, your camera or even your iPhone, is using lithium. It’s clearly felt in the tech world that this is the path of least resistance for the future, but what does that mean for hydrogen fuel cell technology?

In 2017, with BMW announcing a 75% increase in BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles) sales, Hyundai came out and announced that they were going to focus almost entirely on lithium batteries. They’re not abandoning their fuel cell programme, but their next line of 10 electric vehicles will feature only 2 hydrogen options. Hyundai Executive VP Lee Kwang-guk stated, “We’re strengthening our eco-friendly car strategy, centering on electric vehicles”.

Is it likely that other manufacturers will follow suit? Well, with Tesla’s Elon Musk personally stating a preference for lithium (he called hydrogen fuel ‘incredibly dumb’), and both Toyota and Honda indicating that they will pour R&D funds into this type of battery (despite earlier hesitation), the answer seems to be ‘well, we already have’.


Toyota vs Tesla – Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles vs Electric Cars

 (Article Continued Below)

Do ‘refueling’ and ‘recharging’ stations hold the key to success?

Did you know that as of May 2017 there were only 35 hydrogen refueling stations in the entire US, with 30 of those in California? Compared to the 16,000 electric vehicle refueling stations already available in the US, with more on the way, it would seem that the logical EV purchaser would opt for a car with a lithium battery. In China, there are already more than 215,000 electric charging stations, with over 600,000 more in planning to make the East Asian nation’s road system more accommodating to EVs.

On January 30th, 2018, REQUEST MORE INFO, invested $5m into ‘FreeWire Technologies’, a manufacturer of rapid-charging systems for EVs. The plan is to install these charging systems in their gas stations all over the UK, though they did not disclose how many. So, even on the other side of the Atlantic, building a network of charging systems is a high priority.

With ‘Range Anxiety’ (the fear that your battery will run out of juice before the next charging point) being a common concern for EV owners, the noticeably growing network of refueling stations, including those with ‘fast charge’ options, are seeming to settle down the crowd of anxious early adopters.


Will the market dictate the winner in the lithium vs hydrogen car battery ‘war’?

If we look at the effects of supply and demand, the early clarity of lithium batteries as the battery of choice for alternative energy vehicles meant that there were a great time and cause for development. As a result, between 2010 and 2016, lithium battery production costs reduced by 73%.

If this trajectory continues, price parity is a when, not an if, and that when could well be encouraging you to take a trip down to your local EV dealership for an upgrade.

Demand for EVs instead of hydrogen fuel cell technology means that some of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers are showing a strong lean towards lithium batteries.

Hyundai, Honda, and VW are all putting hydrogen on the back burner. And whilst market demand for hydrogen is considerably lower, Toyota remains keen on fighting this battle, which they have been researching for around 25 years.

Their theory that hydrogen and lithium battery powered vehicles must be developed ‘at the same speed’ is a dogged one.

You could say their self-belief was completely rewarded by their faith in the Prius, with over 5 million global sales and comfortable status as the top-selling car (ever) in Japan, so there will be many who tune in to the Toyota line of thinking and overlook the market sentiment.

Price will always play a role in purchasing decisions, and with scalable cost reduction methods not yet visible or available for hydrogen fuel cell technology, it looks like lithium is going to be the battery that opens wallets.


Can lithium and hydrogen car batteries coexist?

Sure, they can co-exist, but ultimately one technology is going to come close to a monopoly while the other becomes a collector’s item, a novelty, just a blip in technological history. That’s just one theory of course. 

Another theory is that the pockets in which hydrogen fuel cell vehicles already exist and are somewhat popular, like Japan and California, will use their powerful economies to almost force their success.

Why would they do this? Because the vehicles are far more expensive than EVs by comparison, they had to start in wealthy regions, install fuelling stations and slowly spread out into other affluent neighborhoods.

It’s a long game that relies heavily on wealthy regions opting to choose the expensive inconvenience, a feat which could arguably be achieved simply by creating the most visually compelling vehicles rather than the most efficient. Style over substance, for lack of a better phrase.

Take a look! See how Lithium powers the world…


Which will stand the test of time?

Looking at this from a scientific perspective, one might say ‘Well, lithium is limited, whereas hydrogen is the most abundant gas in our atmosphere’, and one would be correct. However, science doesn’t always simplify things. Hydrogen is really hard and inefficient to capture, and therein lies a huge obstacle.

Hydrogen fuel is hard to make and distribute, too, with a very high refill cost. The final kick in the teeth is that the technology required to capture, make and distribute all of that hydrogen is not very good for the environment, and is arguably no ‘cleaner’ than gasoline. That same technology uses more electricity in the hydrogen-creation process than is currently needed to recharge lithium batteries, and therein lies the answer to this whole debate, right?

We aren’t saying lithium batteries will be around forever, but they’re more adaptable, useful, scalable and affordable as a technology, right now.

By the time hydrogen fuel cell technology is affordable to the average consumer, we will hopefully have found a true clean energy source.


Conclusion: Will the lithium vs hydrogen debate ever be over?

Lithium is this, hydrogen is that, EVs are this and that, HFCs are that and this. The cycle will perpetuate until it becomes clear which is the definitive solution, at least that’s the belief of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who said ‘There’s no need for us to have this debate. I’ve said my piece on this, it will be super obvious as time goes by.’

To be fair though, this quote from George W Bush would beg to differ, when he is quoted as saying ‘Fuel cells will power cars with little or no waste at all. We happen to believe that fuel cell cars are the wave of the future; that fuel cells offer incredible opportunity’. Well, George, you may have been right back in 2003, but this is 2018.

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Mike is Chief Operating Officer of Dubuc Motors, a startup dedicated to the commercialization of electric vehicles targeting niche markets within the automotive industry.

MIT: Unleashing perovskites’ potential for solar cells

Solar cells made of perovskite have great promise, in part because they can easily be made on flexible substrates, like this experimental cell. Image: Ken Richardson

New results show how varying the recipe could bring these materials closer to commercialization.

Perovskites — a broad category of compounds that share a certain crystal structure — have attracted a great deal of attention as potential new solar-cell materials because of their low cost, flexibility, and relatively easy manufacturing process.

But much remains unknown about the details of their structure and the effects of substituting different metals or other elements within the material.

Conventional solar cells made of silicon must be processed at temperatures above 1,400 degrees Celsius, using expensive equipment that limits their potential for production scaleup.

In contrast, perovskites can be processed in a liquid solution at temperatures as low as 100 degrees, using inexpensive equipment. What’s more, perovskites can be deposited on a variety of substrates, including flexible plastics, enabling a variety of new uses that would be impossible with thicker, stiffer silicon wafers.

Now, researchers have been able to decipher a key aspect of the behavior of perovskites made with different formulations:

With certain additives there is a kind of “sweet spot” where greater amounts will enhance performance and beyond which further amounts begin to degrade it.

The findings are detailed this week in the journal Science, in a paper by former MIT postdoc Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena, MIT professors Tonio Buonassisi and Moungi Bawendi, and 18 others at MIT, the University of California at San Diego, and other institutions.

Perovskite solar cells are thought to have great potential, and new understanding of how changes in composition affect their behavior could help to make them practical. Image: Ken Richardson

Perovskites are a family of compounds that share a three-part crystal structure. Each part can be made from any of a number of different elements or compounds — leading to a very broad range of possible formulations. Buonassisi compares designing a new perovskite to ordering from a menu, picking one (or more) from each of column A, column B, and (by convention) column X.

“You can mix and match,” he says, but until now all the variations could only be studied by trial and error, since researchers had no basic understanding of what was going on in the material.

In previous research by a team from the Swiss École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, in which Correa-Baena participated, had found that adding certain alkali metals to the perovskite mix could improve the material’s efficiency at converting solar energy to electricity, from about 19 percent to about 22 percent.

But at the time there was no explanation for this improvement, and no understanding of exactly what these metals were doing inside the compound. “Very little was known about how the microstructure affects the performance,” Buonassisi says.

Now, detailed mapping using high-resolution synchrotron nano-X-ray fluorescence measurements, which can probe the material with a beam just one-thousandth the width of a hair, has revealed the details of the process, with potential clues for how to improve the material’s performance even further.

It turns out that adding these alkali metals, such as cesium or rubidium, to the perovskite compound helps some of the other constituents to mix together more smoothly. As the team describes it, these additives help to “homogenize” the mixture, making it conduct electricity more easily and thus improving its efficiency as a solar cell.

But, they found, that only works up to a certain point. Beyond a certain concentration, these added metals clump together, forming regions that interfere with the material’s conductivity and partly counteract the initial advantage. In between, for any given formulation of these complex compounds, is the sweet spot that provides the best performance, they found.

“It’s a big finding,” says Correa-Baena, who in January became an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Georgia Tech.

What the researchers found, after about three years of work at MIT and with collaborators at UCSD, was “what happens when you add those alkali metals, and why the performance improves.” They were able to directly observe the changes in the composition of the material, and reveal, among other things, these countervailing effects of homogenizing and clumping.

“The idea is that, based on these findings, we now know we should be looking into similar systems, in terms of adding alkali metals or other metals,” or varying other parts of the recipe, Correa-Baena says.

While perovskites can have major benefits over conventional silicon solar cells, especially in terms of the low cost of setting up factories to produce them, they still require further work to boost their overall efficiency and improve their longevity, which lags significantly behind that of silicon cells.

Although the researchers have clarified the structural changes that take place in the perovskite material when adding different metals, and the resulting changes in performance, “we still don’t understand the chemistry behind this,” Correa-Baena says. That’s the subject of ongoing research by the team. The theoretical maximum efficiency of these perovskite solar cells is about 31 percent, according to Correa-Baena, and the best performance to date is around 23 percent, so there remains a significant margin for potential improvement.

Although it may take years for perovskites to realize their full potential, at least two companies are already in the process of setting up production lines, and they expect to begin selling their first modules within the next year or so. Some of these are small, transparent and colorful solar cells designed to be integrated into a building’s façade. “It’s already happening,” Correa-Baena says, “but there’s still work to do in making these more durable.”

Once issues of large-scale manufacturability, efficiency, and durability are addressed, Buonassisi says, perovskites could become a major player in the renewable energy industry. “If they succeed in making sustainable, high-efficiency modules while preserving the low cost of the manufacturing, that could be game-changing,” he says. “It could allow expansion of solar power much faster than we’ve seen.”

Perovskite solar cells “are now primary candidates for commercialization. Thus, providing deeper insights, as done in this work, contributes to future development,” says Michael Saliba, a senior researcher on the physics of soft matter at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, who was not involved in this research.

Saliba adds, “This is great work that is shedding light on some of the most investigated materials. The use of synchrotron-based, novel techniques in combination with novel material engineering is of the highest quality, and is deserving of appearing in such a high-ranking journal.” He adds that work in this field “is rapidly progressing. Thus, having more detailed knowledge will be important for addressing future engineering challenges.”

The study, which included researchers at Purdue University and Argonne National Laboratory, in addition to those at MIT and UCSD, was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, and the California Energy Commission.

Purdue University: New chemical conversion process turns plastic waste into fuel

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One of the biggest problems facing the Earth’s environment right now is the abundance of plastic waste. An estimated 5 billion tons of plastic is collecting in landfills or filling the oceans, and if not addressed, it will plague the decades to come by degrading into toxic chemicals, polluting the land and sea and destroying the habitats of wildlife. As scientific research looks for a solution, one possible option is trying to turn the waste into a usable fuel source.

A groups of chemists from Purdue University have developed a new process that can convert common types of plastic into a fuel similar to gasoline and diesel. Their research, recently published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, details how polypropylene, which is often found in toys, medical devices, and food packaging, can be converted into a fuel pure enough to be used in motor vehicles.

The researchers explain that their conversion process uses supercritical water, or water that has the characteristics of both a liquid and a gas based on pressure and temperature conditions. Specifically, they heated water until it was between 716 and 932 degrees Fahrenheit, with pressures that were 2,300 times that found at sea level. It was discovered that purified polypropylene would turn into oil when added to this mix, with the conversion process taking less than an hour at 850 degrees Fahrenheit.

Polypropylene is said to make up roughly a quarter of the world’s 5 billion tons of plastic waste, but lead researcher Linda Wang believes their new process could convert 90% of polypropylene into fuel. There’s no word on how or when this conversion process might be widely implemented, but Wang says the recycling industry should be motivated to move quickly, as the fuel it produces can be sold for a profit.

University of Manchester – How Can Graphene Help Desalination?(Video+)


Researchers at The University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute in the UK have succeeded in making artificial channels just one atom in size for the first time. The new capillaries, which are very much like natural protein channels such as aquaporins, are small enough to block the flow of smallest ions like Na+ and Cl- but allow water to flow through freely. As well as improving our fundamental understanding of molecular transport at the atomic scale, and especially in biological systems, the structures could be ideal in desalination and filtration technologies.


Graphene Man UK 1920_dsc-0640-932465


Read More from the University of Manchester

Like …. Scientists develop a new method to revolutionise graphene printed electronics

EIA Outlook 2019: The ‘Extremely Conservative’ Case for Renewables Growth


Outside analysts see better long-term growth prospects for wind, solar and electric vehicles than the projections offered up in the government report.

by Kevin Stark of GTM

[“Wind power, in particular, sees virtually no growth in the EIA’s forecast. (however)       ” …. Digging into the numbers, in the short term, the EIA expects that renewable energy generation from wind and solar will be the fastest-growing source in the U.S. over the next two years.]

The U.S. Energy Information Administration last week published the federal government’s annual long-term energy outlook report. Top-level items focused on the surging production of U.S. oil and natural gas, which the EIA expects will make the U.S. a net energy exporter in 2020. By comparison, EIA’s clean energy growth projections were far more modest.

The U.S. has not exported more energy than it imports in 70 years. The change is thanks mostly to a massive increase in crude oil and natural gas production in the U.S., as well as people consuming less power.

Additionally, while the Annual Energy Outlook 2019 signals rapid growth in renewable energy electricity generation in the short term, it paints an underwhelming picture of the long-term growth for renewables in the U.S. The EIA projects solar and, in particular, wind growth will level off while natural gas is expected to continue to grow as the leading source of generation in the U.S.


But energy analysts and experts say that the government’s projections are overly conservative in some places, and the outlook doesn’t take into account a range of government policy commitments around the development of wind and solar generation, or the expected uptake in electric vehicles.

“This is an outlook of a world in which there are no new policies at any level and in which technologies fail to improve in the ways they’ve been improving for decades so far,” said Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of environmental engineering at Rice University.

“EIA imagines its mandate to be to look at status quo policies and with the assumption that every mayor, governor, EPA administrator and president from now until 2050 sits on their hands and doesn’t enact policy,” Cohan said. “That’s what they see as their mandate. They make extremely conservative — probably unrealistically conservative — assumptions about how clean energy technologies will improve over time.”

Near-term renewables growth

Digging into the numbers, in the short term, the EIA expects that renewable energy generation from wind and solar will be the fastest-growing source in the U.S. over the next two years.

EIA estimates that generation from utility-scale solar will grow by 10 percent in 2019, and by 17 percent in 2020. Wind will grow by 12 percent and 14 percent over the next two years, respectively. Renewables are projected to surpass coal in overall power-sector generation over the next few years.

A challenge for renewables in the EIA projections is that their growth is driven by federal tax credits, which have been allowed to lapse every few years until Congress extends them, according to Steve Clemmer, director of energy research and analysis with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“When EIA has done their modeling over the years, they’ll assume whatever the current law is for the tax credits,” he said.

Clemmer said that the report signals a recognition that renewables will be a leading source of U.S. power generation in the long term, but he said a much more aggressive climate policy is needed to encourage investment in renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies to curtail the worst impacts of climate change.

In December 2015, Congress passed a five-year extension of the federal Production and Investment Tax Credit for wind and solar, respectively. The UCS advocated for Congress to continue passing multi-year extensions of the tax credits to allow renewable growth to continue with momentum and drive down costs further.

“We’ve seen over the last decade as wind and solar have grown significantly, Congress has extended the tax credits several times and that’s provided a boost to renewables,” said Clemmer. “But it’s also created a bit of a boom-and-bust cycle. When the tax credits have expired, the industry has really built out a lot of renewables right before the expiration, and then there’s been a lull, and then after the credits get extended, development picks up again.”

Carbon dioxide emissions

EIA projects that carbon emissions from burning coal and petroleum will decline in the U.S., but overall emissions will level off from an increase in natural gas.

“One reason why emissions in the power sector are actually leveling out in the EIA’s forecast is because the U.S. is building out a lot of gas. Some of the nuclear is retiring; some of the coal is retiring; but the addition of gas and renewables is not enough to actually drive down emissions,” Clemmer said.

While other analysts are bullish on the long-term potential for wind generation, the EIA is not, and it projects that the construction of new wind farms will slow rapidly by the mid-2020s. New offshore wind capacity is virtually nonexistent.

“They expect that almost no wind farms will be added once the wind Production Tax Credits phase down, and that we will never create an offshore wind industry,”  Cohan said.

This doesn’t seem likely, he said. Last year, the Interior Department began a process to allow businesses to lease waters in the Pacific Ocean for large-scale wind farm projects off California’s coast, and utilities and regulators want these new projects to produce power within the next five years. Last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed nearly quadrupling offshore wind in that state by 2035.

Clemmer and Cohan both said that EIA’s projections for solar growth look more realistic for the industry, with linear growth over the next three decades.

One reason for that is that the current Investment Tax Credit for solar is set at 30 percent, but it is not going to go away. Rather, it will ramp down to a permanent 10 percent tax credit. “When you combine that with the continued cost reductions that we’ve seen for solar, the EIA is projecting that solar is still going to be cost-effective, and they’re projecting continued deployment of solar,” Clemmer said.

Electric vehicles (barely) see an uptick

EIA projections show only a modest uptick in the sale of electric vehicles, with conventional gas-powered cars far outselling EVs into mid-century. In the past, EIA has projected that electric vehicles will see slow growth and less use than gas-powered alternatives.

This forecast comes despite the fact that EV sales increased by 81 percent last year, driven by a huge bump in the sale of Tesla’s Model 3.

“It is shockingly unrealistic forecast that they expect there to remain a yawning gap between the cost of electric cars and gasoline cars, electric trucks and diesel trucks,” Cohan said.

Skewing policy debates

Conservative, long-term projections from the EIA are not a new phenomenon, nor an expression of Trump administration policies to bolster fossil fuel industries. But the conservative estimates do pose an issue, as the federal report could skew cost estimates of pursuing clean energy technologies during policy debates.

“In the face of rapid and uncertain technological changes, we need models even more as decision-support tools. However, those models must be updated to capture key changes in techno-economic forces in each sector,” Jesse Jenkins, an energy consultant and Harvard-affiliated energy expert, wrote on Twitter.

“EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook isn’t used in an exploratory manner and their…model isn’t sufficient for modeling our changing landscape, particularly in the electricity sector,” he said.

Analysts were quick to point out the daylight between other long-term estimates and the EIA’s projections, which don’t include commitments made by global leaders as part of the Paris climate agreement.

The International Energy Agency, for example, now produces two scenarios that seriously consider the Paris Agreement. Even the major oil and gas companies include these kinds of scenarios in which emissions targets are met and there is a rapid uptake of electric cars and renewable energy production.

“We’ve seen with wind and solar that the industries have experienced major cost reductions on the order of 60 to 75 percent over the last decade,” Clemmer said. “And I think the EIA has had trouble keeping up with those gains.”

Israeli Scientists Claim They’re On The Path To A Cure For Cancer – ACS Cautions

Israele 3

It doesn’t seem possible. But they say it’s true. A small team of Israeli scientists is telling the world they will have the first “complete cure” for cancer within a year, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday. And not only that, but they claim it will be brief, cheap and effective and will have no or minimal side-effects.

“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, chairman of the board of Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), a company founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator in the Kiryat Weizmann Science Park in Ness Ziona, Israel, just north of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

A development-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in discovery and development of therapeutic peptides, AEBi developed the SoAP platform, a combinatorial biology screening platform technology, which provides functional leads—agonist, antagonist, inhibitor, etc.—to very difficult targets.

Still skepticism was high among those in the know. Weighing in on behalf of the American Cancer Society (ACS) on his blog, “A Cure For Cancer? Not So Fast,” Len Lichtenfeld, MD, ACS chief medical officer cautioned: “…it goes without saying, we all share the aspirational hope that they are correct. Unfortunately, we must be aware that this is far from proven as an effective treatment for people with cancer, let alone a cure.”

YOUNG ISRAELI CANCER RESEARCHRead More: Why Others Think This Claim Is Not Likely to Happen

Lichtenfeld went on to list several key points that he says must be kept in mind no matter what media reports say:

1. This is a news report based on limited information provided by researchers and a company working on this technology. It apparently has not been published in the scientific literature where it would be subject to review, support and/or criticism from knowledgeable peers.

2. My colleagues here at American Cancer Society tell me phage or peptide display techniques, while very powerful research tools for selecting high affinity binders, have had a difficult road as potential drugs. If this group is just beginning clinical trials, they may well have some difficult experiments ahead.

3. This is based on a mouse experiment which is described as “exploratory.” It appears at this point there is not a well-established program of experiments which could better define how this works—and may not work—as it moves from the laboratory bench to the clinic.

4. We all have hope that a cure for cancer can be found and found quickly. It is certainly possible this approach may be work. However, as experience has taught us so many times, the gap from a successful mouse experiment to effective, beneficial application of exciting laboratory concepts to helping cancer patients at the bedside is in fact a long and treacherous journey, filled with unforeseen and unanticipated obstacles.

5. It will likely take some time to prove the benefit of this new approach to the treatment of cancer. And unfortunately–based on other similar claims of breakthrough technologies for the treatment of cancer–the odds are that it won’t be successful.

“Our hopes are always on the side of new breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. We are living in an era where many exciting advances are impacting the care of patients with cancer,” Lichtenfeld went on. “We hope that this approach also bears fruit and is successful. At the same time, we must always offer a note of caution that the process to get this treatment from mouse to man is not always a simple and uncomplicated journey.”

From Forbes – Robin Seaton Jefferson – 

MIT: Optimizing solar farms with ‘Smart Drones’

mit-raptor-maps-01_0As drones increasingly take on the job of inspecting growing solar farms, Raptor Maps’ software makes sense of the data they collect. Image courtesy of Raptor Maps

MIT spinoff Raptor Maps uses machine-learning software to improve the maintenance of solar panels.

As the solar industry has grown, so have some of its inefficiencies. Smart entrepreneurs see those inefficiencies as business opportunities and try to create solutions around them. Such is the nature of a maturing industry.

One of the biggest complications emerging from the industry’s breakneck growth is the maintenance of solar farms. Historically, technicians have run electrical tests on random sections of solar cells in order to identify problems. In recent years, the use of drones equipped with thermal cameras has improved the speed of data collection, but now technicians are being asked to interpret a never-ending flow of unstructured data.

That’s where Raptor Maps comes in. The company’s software analyzes imagery from drones and diagnoses problems down to the level of individual cells. The system can also estimate the costs associated with each problem it finds, allowing technicians to prioritize their work and owners to decide what’s worth fixing.

“We can enable technicians to cover 10 times the territory and pinpoint the most optimal use of their skill set on any given day,” Raptor Maps co-founder and CEO Nikhil Vadhavkar says. “We came in and said, ‘If solar is going to become the number one source of energy in the world, this process needs to be standardized and scalable.’ That’s what it takes, and our customers appreciate that approach.”

Raptor Maps processed the data of 1 percent of the world’s solar energy in 2018, amounting to the energy generated by millions of panels around the world. And as the industry continues its upward trajectory, with solar farms expanding in size and complexity, the company’s business proposition only becomes more attractive to the people driving that growth.

Picking a path

Raptor Maps was founded by Eddie Obropta ’13 SM ’15, Forrest Meyen SM ’13 PhD ’17, and Vadhavkar, who was a PhD candidate at MIT between 2011 and 2016. The former classmates had worked together in the Human Systems Laboratory of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics when Vadhavkar came to them with the idea of starting a drone company in 2015.

The founders were initially focused on the agriculture industry. The plan was to build drones equipped with high-definition thermal cameras to gather data, then create a machine-learning system to gain insights on crops as they grew. While the founders began the arduous process of collecting training data, they received guidance from MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service and the Martin Trust Center. In the spring of 2015, Raptor Maps won the MIT $100K Launch competition.

But even as the company began working with the owners of two large farms, Obropta and Vadhavkar were unsure of their path to scaling the company. (Meyen left the company in 2016.) Then, in 2017, they made their software publicly available and something interesting happened.

They found that most of the people who used the system were applying it to thermal images of solar farms instead of real farms. It was a message the founders took to heart.

“Solar is similar to farming: It’s out in the open, 2-D, and it’s spread over a large area,” Obropta says. “And when you see [an anomaly] in thermal images on solar, it usually means an electrical issue or a mechanical issue — you don’t have to guess as much as in agriculture. So we decided the best use case was solar. And with a big push for clean energy and renewables, that aligned really well with what we wanted to do as a team.”

Obropta and Vadhavkar also found themselves on the right side of several long-term trends as a result of the pivot. The International Energy Agency has proposed that solar power could be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050. But as demand grows, investors, owners, and operators of solar farms are dealing with an increasingly acute shortage of technicians to keep the panels running near peak efficiency.

Since deciding to focus on solar exclusively around the beginning of 2018, Raptor Maps has found success in the industry by releasing its standards for data collection and letting customers — or the many drone operators the company partners with — use off-the-shelf hardware to gather the data themselves. After the data is submitted to the company, the system creates a detailed map of each solar farm and pinpoints any problems it finds.

“We run analytics so we can tell you, ‘This is how many solar panels have this type of issue; this is how much the power is being affected,’” Vadhavkar says. “And we can put an estimate on how many dollars each issue costs.”

The model allows Raptor Maps to stay lean while its software does the heavy lifting. In fact, the company’s current operations involve more servers than people.

The tiny operation belies a company that’s carved out a formidable space for itself in the solar industry. Last year, Raptor Maps processed four gigawatts worth of data from customers on six different continents. That’s enough energy to power nearly 3 million homes.

Vadhavkar says the company’s goal is to grow at least fivefold in 2019 as several large customers move to make the software a core part of their operations. The team is also working on getting its software to generate insights in real time using graphical processing units on the drone itself as part of a project with the multinational energy company Enel Green Power.

Ultimately, the data Raptor Maps collect are taking the uncertainty out of the solar industry, making it a more attractive space for investors, operators, and everyone in between.

“The growth of the industry is what drives us,” Vadhavkar says. “We’re directly seeing that what we’re doing is impacting the ability of the industry to grow faster. That’s huge. Growing the industry — but also, from the entrepreneurial side, building a profitable business while doing it — that’s always been a huge dream.”

Next-Gen Lithium-Ion Batteries – Combining Graphene + Silicon Could it be the Key?


Researchers have long been investigating the use of silicon in lithium-ion batteries, as it has the potential to greatly increase storage capacity compared to graphite, the material used in most conventional lithium-ion batteries. By some estimates, silicon could boast a lithium storage capacity of 4,200 mAh/g—11 times that of graphite.

However, despite its benefits, silicon comes with its own challenges.

“When you store a lot of lithium ion into your silicon you actually physically extend the volume of silicon to about 3 to 3.8 times its original volume—so that is a lot of expansion,” explained Bor Jang, PhD, in an exclusive interview with R&D Magazine. “That by itself is not a big problem, but when you discharge your battery—like when you open your smart phone—the silicon shrinks. Then when you recharge your battery the silicon expands again. This repeated expansion and shrinkage leads to the breakdown of the particles inside of your battery so it loses its capacity.”

Jang offers one solution—graphene, a single layer sheet of carbon atoms tightly bound in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice.

“We have found that graphene plays a critical role in protecting the silicon,” said Jang, the CEO and Chief Scientist of Global Graphene Group. The Ohio-based advanced materials organization has created GCA-II-N, a graphene and silicon composite anode for use in lithium-ion batteries.

The innovation—which was a 2018 R&D 100 Award winner—has the potential to make a significant impact in the energy storage space. Jang shared more about graphene, GCA-II-N and its potential applications in his …

Interview with R&D Magazine:


           Photo Credit: Global Graphene Group


R&D Magazine: Why is graphene such a good material for energy storage?

Jang: From the early beginning when we invited graphene back in 2002 we realized that graphene has certain very unique properties. For example, it has very high electrical conductivity, very high thermal conductivity, it has very high strength—in fact it is probably the strongest material known to mankind naturally. We thought we would be able to make use of graphene to product the anode material than we can significantly improve not only the strength of the electrode itself, but we are also able to dissipate the heat faster, while also reducing the changes for the battery to catch fire or explode.

Also graphene is extremely thin—a single layer graphene is 0.34 nanometer (nm). You can imagine that if you had a fabric that was as thin as 0.34 nanometers in thickness, than you could use this material to wrap around just about anything. So it is a very good protection material in that sense. That is another reason for the flexibility of this graphene material.



BatteryRead More: Talga’s graphene silicon product extends capacity of Li-ion battery anode

Another interesting feature of graphene is that is a very high specific surface area. For instance if I give you 1.5 grams of single layer graphene it will be enough to cover an entire football stadium. There is a huge amount of surface area per unit weight with this material.

That translates into another interesting property in the storage area. In that field that is a device called supercapacitors or ultracapacitors. The operation of supercapacitors depends upon conducting surface areas, like graphene or activated carbon. These graphene sheets have, to be exact, 2630 meters squared per gram. That would give you, in principle, a very high capacity per unit gram of this material when you use it as an electron material for supercapacitors. There is are so many properties associated with graphene for energy applications, those are just examples, I could talk about this all day!



R&D Magazine: Where is the team currently with the GCA-II-N and what are the next steps for this project?

Jang: Last year we began to sell the product. In Dayton, OH, where we are situated at the moment we have a small-scale manufacturing facility. It is now about a 50-metric-ton capacity facility and we can easily scale it up. We have been producing mass qualities of this and then delivering them to some of the potential customers for validation. We are basically in the customer validation stage for this business right now.

We will continue to do research and development for this project. We will eventually manufacture the batteries here in the U.S., but at the moment we are doing the anode materials only.

R&D Magazine: What types of customers are showing interest in this technology?

Jang: Electrical vehicles are a big area that is growing rapidly, particularly in areas in Asia such as China. The electrical vehicle industry is taking the driver’s seat and is driving the growth of this business worldwide right now. E-bikes and electronic scooters are another rapidly growing business where this could be used.

Another example is your smart phone. Right now, if you continue to use your phone you may be able to last for half a day or maybe a whole day if you push it. This technology has the ability to double the amount of energy that could be stored in your battery. Electronic devices is another big area for application of this technology. 

A third area is in the energy storage business, it could be utilized to store solar energy or wind energy after it has been captured. Lithium-ion batteries are gaining a lot of ground in this market right now.

Right now, another rapidly growing area is the drone. Drones are used, not only for fun, but for agricultural purposes or for surveillance purposes, such as during natural disasters.  Drones are seeing a lot of applications right now and batteries are very important part of that.

R&D Magazine: Are there any challenges to working with graphene?

Jang: One of the major challenges is that graphene by itself is still a relatively high cost. We are doing second-generation processes right now, and I think in a couple of years we should be able to significantly reduce the cost of graphene. We are also working on a third generation of processes that would allow us to reduce the cost even further. That is a major obstacle to large-scale commercialization of all graphene applications.

The second challenge is the notion of graphene as a so-called ‘nanomaterial’ in thickness that a lot customers find it difficult to disperse in water or disperse in organic solvent or plastic in order to combine graphene with other types of materials, make a composite out of it. Therefor people are resistant to use it. We have found a way to overcome this either real challenge, or perceived challenge. We can do that for a customer and then ship that directly to the customer.

There is also an education challenge. It is sometimes difficult to convince engineers, they want to stick with the materials they are more familiar with, even though the performance is better with graphene. That is a barrier as well. However, I do think it is becoming more well known.

Laura Panjwani
Editor-in-chief R & D Magazine

Super-stable antinomy carbon composite anodes to boost potassium-ion battery storage performance


Potassium-ion batteries (PIBs) have been considered as promising alternatives to lithium-ion batteries due to the rich natural abundance of potassium (K) and similar redox potential with Li+/Li.

However, due to the large K ion radius and slow reaction dynamics, the previously reported PIB anode materials (carbon-based materials, alloy-based anodes such as tin and antimony, metal oxides, etc.) suffer from a low capacity and fast capacity decay.
In order to achieve a high capacity and excellent cycle stability for K storage process, rational design of the electrode materials and proper selection of the electrolytes should be considered simultaneously.
Recently, two research teams led by Prof. Chunsheng Wang and Prof. Michael R. Zachariah from the University of Maryland, College Park, have designed and fabricated a novel antimony (Sb) carbon composite PIB anode via a facile and scalable electrospray-assisted strategy and found that this anode delivered super high specific capacities as well as cycling stability in a highly concentrated electrolyte (4M KTFSI/EC+DEC).
This work has been published in Energy and Environmental Science (“Super Stable Antimony-carbon composite anodes for potassium-ion batteries”).


Figure 1. Schematic illustration of electrospray-assisted strategy for fabricating antimony @carbon sphere network electrode materials. (© Royal Society of Chemistry)
We have successfully fabricated a novel antimony carbon composite with small Sb nanoparticles uniformly confined in the carbon sphere network (Sb@CSN) via a facile and scalable electrospray-assisted strategy.
Such a unique nanostructure can effectively mitigate the deleteriously mechanical damage from large volume changes and provide a highly conductive framework for fast electron transport during alloy/de-alloy cycling process.
Alongside the novel structural design of the anode material, formation of a robust solid-electrolyte-interphase (SEI) on the anode is crucially important to achieve its long-term cycling stability.
The formation of a robust SEI on the anode material is determined by both the surface chemistries of active electrode materials as well as electrolyte compositions such as salt anion types and concentrations.
Therefore, designing a proper electrolyte is extremely important for the anode to achieve a high cycling stability.
In our study, we have for the first time developed a stable and safe electrolyte of highly concentrated 4M KTFSI/EC+DEC for PIBs to promote the formation of a stable and robust KF-rich SEI layer on an Sb@CSN anode, which guarantees stable electrochemical alloy/de-alloy reaction dynamics during long-time cycling process.
Cycling performance of antimony carbon sphere network electrode materials
Figure 2. Cycling performance of antimony carbon sphere network electrode materials at 200mA/g current density in the highly concentrated electrolyte (4M KTFSI/EC+DEC). (© Royal Society of Chemistry)
In the optimized 4M KTFSI/EC+DEC electrolyte, the Sb@CSN composite delivers excellent reversible capacity of 551 mAh/g at 100 mA/g over 100 cycles with a capacity decay of 0.06% per cycle from the 10st to 100th cycling and 504 mAh/g even at 200 mA/g after 220 cycling. This demonstrates the best electrochemical performances with the highest capacity and longest cycle life when compared with all K-ion batteries anodes reported to date.
The electrochemical reaction mechanism was further revealed by density functional theory (DTF) calculation to support such excellent Potassium-storage properties.
Capacity comparison of Sb@CSN anode with previous reported anodes in potassium ion batteries
Figure 3. Capacity comparison of Sb@CSN anode with previous reported anodes in potassium ion batteries. (© Royal Society of Chemistry)
In conclusion, these outstanding performances should be attributed to the novel nanostructure of Sb nanoparticles uniformly encapsulated into conductive carbon network and the formation of a more stable and robust KF-rich SEI layer on Sb@CSN in the optimized 4M KTFSI electrolyte.
These encouraging results will significantly promote the deep understanding of the fundamental electrochemistry in Potassium-ion batteries as well as rational development of efficient electrolyte systems for next generation high-performance Potassium-ion batteries.
Yong Yang, Research Associate, Prof. Zachariah Research Group, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Riverside
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