Griffith Hack Clean & Sustainable Technologies

Melbourne Lands International Clean Energy Expo by Griffith Hack

Victoria has beaten other states and countries to be the first outside the UK to host one of the world’s most highly-regarded renewable and clean energy expos, Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor has announced.

Mr Batchelor said the All-Energy Australia Expo and Conference would be held on 7 and 8 October this year at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.


A123 patent for lithium battery health monitoring by Justin Blows

In our regular searches of the clean & sustainable technology patent literature we found this recently published International Patent Application byA123 Systems, a company famous for R&D in lithium ion cells & batteries, particularly lithium iron phosphate cells.  A123 is working with General Motors on a battery system for the Chevy Volt, which uses an internal combustion engine merely to provide electricity to run the all-electric powered drive system.  Here are some other patents by A123.

While lithium ion cells have a very high power density (~90 – 150Whr/kg) compared to other types of rechargeable cells, complete discharge and excess heat can ruin the cell, perhaps with venting and then ignition of the organic electrolyte from within a cell (remember the exploding laptops?).  Consequently, lithium ion batteries are typically equipped with a temperature sensor, State of Charge (SOC)  monitor, current regulators, and a voltage tap on each cell.  The battery has an on board computer making sure that it operates within safe parameters.


The A123 specification explains that its important to know the state of charge and state of health of each cell in a lithium ion battery so power use can be controlled to promote cell life and safety.  This specification describes the use of a reference electrode incorporated into a cell to provide improved state-of-charge (SOC) and state -of-health (SOH) monitoring over the lifetime of the battery.  Simplified cell designs are provided having a reference electrode without the need for an additional port in the cell can or capping lids for the reference electrode terminal.  In short, as shown in the diagram above, the cell casing 830 becomes the reference electrode.

Justin Blows

Fast charge Lithium battery invented by Justin Blows
March 24, 2009, 9:14 am
Filed under: News | Tags: , ,

According to this report, MIT researches have invented a lithium iron phosphate battery that can charge in seconds rather than minutes. 

This is expected to have application for electric vehicles were fast charging and high discharge rates for rapid acceleration are desirable.

The researchers are confident that the technology could be brought to the market in a few years.

Justin Blows

2008 was great year for Solar PV. by Justin Blows
March 23, 2009, 8:12 am
Filed under: News | Tags: , , ,

According to this report, solar PV grew 110% in 2008.  The leading markets were Spain, Germany, US, Korea, Italy and then Japan in that order.

The report suggests, as I have previously stated in a previous blog, that government policy and particularly feed in tariffs are the key driver for solar PV.  Let’s hope the feed in Tariffs proposed for the ACT and Victoria proceed!  If the Australian market responds to feed in tariffs as foreign markets have, it may be a good time to file your patent applications to protect your interests.

Justin Blows

Australian parliamentary committee want 80% emission cuts by Justin Blows
March 20, 2009, 9:04 am
Filed under: News | Tags:

According to this report, an Australian parliamentary committee comprising labour and green MPs recomend a 2050 greenhouse gas emissions target of a 80% reduction.  Its unclear if the emissions cuts suggested are relative to 1990 or 2009 levels.  The committee suggest that the 80% cut proposal should be taken into international negotiations for a new global climate change agreement, which would then be in line with current US and UK policy.


In any case, the apparently strong language used by the committee is in contrast with the increasignly weak sounding Austrlian governmnet which has committed to only a 5% cut.  Some commentators have suggested that the Government’s heart is no longer in climate change mitigation.  It is unclear how the government will respond to the recommendation.

Justin Blows

Sustainable Energy – without the hot air by Justin Blows

I’m currently reading the free book Sustainable Energy – without the hot air by David JC MacKay, an academic from The University of Cambridge.

I’m impressed.  This book convincingly investigates the energy needs  of an average  person (including food, transport, space heating, light, stuff, farming, gadgets) in the developed world and explores energy options for a sustainable future.  The emphasis is on estimating hard numbers for the limits of what can be physically achieved.  While written for the UK specifically, many of the lessons will hold for Australia and other countries.

The book convincingly argues that a sustainable energy future is possible, but wow, big changes are on the way.

Justin Blows

Cleantech says ‘No’ to US patent reforms by Justin Blows
March 16, 2009, 9:16 am
Filed under: News | Tags: , ,

According to this report, a group of clean and sustainable technology companies in the US are lobbying for a strong US patent system.  They are concerned that moves to ‘weaken’ the US patent system would decrease capital for investment, stifle innovation and slow down green-job growth.

Their letter makes interesting reading, and highlights the many benefits the patent system has for clean and sustainable technology companies.

Justin Blows