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Just because winter break is coming up for many students doesn't mean it's a bad time for a chemistry lesson. This one comes courtesy of Ohio State University and poses new questions about the functional lifetime of a typical lithium-ion battery as used in a hybrid or battery electric vehicle.


What is perceived as the main barrier to seeing an electric vehicle (EV) in every driveway? Simple: a range that's too short and charging times that are too long. Now, what if a battery technology was developed that would allow you could drive for 500 miles straight and then recharge the battery in 10 minutes? Exactly. There would be a lot wailing and gnashing of teeth by those who just sank billions into tar sand projects and pipelines.


Lithium-ion battery breakthroughs seem to pop up on a daily basis. Universities, engineering firms, battery makers and automotive companies constantly promote their research studies, which promise to advance li-ion technology to the next level.


Danish industrial catalyst company Haldor Topsoe A/S is set to invest DKK 100 million (US$17 million) in a new subsidiary, Topsoe Fuel Cell, to build a fuel-cell pilot plant. The facility is being built to produce Solid Oxide Fuel-Cells (SOFC) with plans in the works to build a commercial plant by 2010.

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