Battery prototype from Switzerland could be more safe and reliable

Researchers in Switzerland have designed a new prototype battery that could store more energy than existing batteries, while keeping up with the high levels of safety and reliability. The battery prototype is based on sodium technology opposed to the more common lithium batteries found in most mobile phones. The science behind how the lithium batteries work by ions leaving the cathode to move to the anode. The use of a metallic anode such as sodium would increase the amount of energy that could be stored in a battery, in which the researchers at the University of Geneva have put into action.

“But we still had to find a suitable solid ionic conductor that, as well as being non-toxic, was chemically and thermally stable, and that would allow the sodium to move easily between the anode and the cathode,” explained Hans Hagemann, professor of physical chemistry at Geneva. The prototype uses solid electrolytes rather than liquid, which allows them to use a metal anode without risking of dendrites.

The researcher at the University of Geneva’s prototype is a boron based conductor, in which is enabled to sodium ions to roam freely within the battery, because of the inorganic conductor, it removes the chance of the battery catching fire. The problem the researchers found was trying to keep the three layers of the battery close, in which they come up with a solution of dissolving the part of electrolyte in a solvent.

Arndt Remhof, the project leader said that they also tested it over 250 charge and discharge cycles, and found that 85% of the energy capacity was still functional. ““But it needs 1,200 cycles before the battery can be put on the market,” say the researchers. “In addition, we still must test the battery at room temperature, so we can confirm whether or not dendrites form, while increasing the voltage even more. Our experiments are still ongoing.”

UK economy is going to remain weakened as they fail to intergrate engineering into the school curriculum.

Reports say that the lack of exposure of engineering to school students, up to the age of 16 there isn’t a great deal of insight in the school’s educational system. Because of this lack of knowledge of engineering to high school students it is threatening to the nation’s economic health and productivity. A report of “we think it’s important but don’t quite know what it is: The culture of engineering in schools”, is talking about how little we implicate engineering into the school’s curriculum so therefore it is too late for when students plan their careers after high school as they lack the knowledge in engineering, students are less likely to choose engineering as a career path.

Also suggested by the report is that there is a lack of female engineers in the UK with only 9% of all engineers being women. Therefore, the government and school board needs to rethink their school curriculum to include a subject on engineering, or have some form of resources for engineering that all the students are available to.

Peter Finegold, head of education and skills at the IMechE, said “We accept that government is unlikely to fundamentally change the curriculum or introduce engineering as a stand-alone school subject,” Finegold continued. “Therefore, we recommend that the socially beneficial, problem-solving aspects of engineering are integrated into the existing curriculum, particularly in science and technology subjects, enhancing young people’s exposure to engineering and its world-changing potential.”

Some suggestions made by Peter Finegold are things such as making sure that there is a calling on the government to have some form of “head” of engineering to act as a sort of dictator in the fact that he chooses what students require in terms of resources to help teach engineering at a very high level in high school. With the engineering industry providing for 5.7 million jobs and contributing over £480bn to our economy, therefore making it a valuable industry with in the UK’s economy. Including the with Brexit on the horizon and the inability to invest in foreign engineers, we must improve our own engineering industry through the schools educational system to make it a viable and valuable career choice for students.

1,400 jobs are set to be cut by Transport for London

The Transport for London engineering section, which is an expensive and valuable part of TfL’s service throughout the day also helping improve efficiency and maintain the tube network, are planning to cut up to 1,400 jobs in hope to cut spending while still maintaining their service. The estimated figure that they would be saving could go up to £5.5bn by 2021.

The national union of Rail, Maritime and Transport had been criticised before their 30th anniversary of the King’s Cross fire, where 31 people died. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “All the Tube and TfL unions have been sent written details of the next phase in the wrongly named transformation process.

The RMT Union demanded that no cutting of jobs would take place so close to the 30th anniversary as it means that they are reducing the safety within the infrastructure. Also stated that the manager “The Mayor needs to stand up for TfL and demand restoration of the full capital grant and proper central government funding for the Tube.”

Already 40% of the Tube Network, projects are ongoing as there is modernisation of the Circle, Hammersmith and Metropolitan lines. The Transport for London website says that of the equipment that is used on the rail line is too old and needs replacing and would require a considerable number of engineers to help speed up the process while not overworking the employees and they may cause mistakes. They plan on introducing the new technology in order to reduce and increase capacity.

Uber sign deal with Volvo in to improve their already established fleet of autonomous taxis.

The ride-sharing firm Uber have announced that they have agreed a deal with Volvo, the Swedish car manufacturer owned by the Geely group in China, to sell a fleet of 24,000 autonomous driving cars to Uber, it is used on its 90 series and their new SUV the XC60. This would help boost Ubers position in their already competitive market, as by unpopular demand Transport for London (TfL) stripped Uber from their operating licence.

Uber and Volvos alliance are set to prolong as previously they’ve collaborated in a $300m investment in a project to have a fleet of autonomous taxis in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Therefore, they could work together on future products as they look to set forward into the autonomous industry.

Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said: “The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology, and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption.” Håkan Samuelsson along with other car manufacturers believe that autonomous is the next step in the automotive industry and have previously tested their cars successfully. Firm such as Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and Non- car manufacturer Google have already stepped into the industry therefore the market has already been tested and due to the interest of autonomous cars Volvo are safe to enter the market.

Uber and Volvo engineers are closely working together to develop Volvos XC90 premium SUVs in which are supplied to Uber. The engineers plan to make sure that all the SUVs incorporate the necessary safety, redundancy and the workings of the autonomous-driving technology in order for Uber to equip their own self-driving technology.

Regardless of the Uber deal, Drive Me London is a project planned by Volvo in which they are developing its own autonomous car strategy, and has already said that they plan of releasing the fully autonomous car by 2021, but they do plan on carrying out a large autonomous driving trial in the UK.

$4 million to be won at Toyota Mobility Foundation competition.

At the Toyota Mobility Foundation in partnership with Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, A $4m challenge has been invested in to aid people who have lower limb paralysis. The competition is looking for teams around the world to create user-centred technologies that will ‘radically improve’ mobility for people with lower-limb paralysis.

Toyota Mobility Foundation have said that the challenge will reward the development of a of a personal mobility system as lower-limb paralysis, in which 250,000 – 500,000 people a year are affected by this because of new cases of spinal cord injury found globally every year. The aim is to is to use both the intelligent systems and future mobility solutions to help people walk again or to speed up recovery.

“This is the beginning of our challenge, a three-year journey concluding in Tokyo in 2020,” said Ryan Klem, director of programs for the Toyota Mobility Foundation. “A journey where the greatest minds in technology, design and engineering, from every corner of the world, will compete to make the environment and society more accessible for people with lower-limb paralysis. We know we don’t have solutions yet: this Challenge is about working with the people who can help develop them.”

The $4m challenge will be hosted as a sort of contest in where there will be 5 final contestants who will already be awarded $500,000 to take their concepts to build a prototype and the winner will eventually get an extra $500,000 to help get their product to market. The challenge also aims to attract the support of smaller innovators who might struggle to use assistive technology market. Funding of $50,000 of 10 groups with excellent concepts. The deadline for the Challenger entries is August 15th, 2018 whilst the deadline for discovery Awards falls in February 7th 2018.

Elon Musk unveils Tesla Semi-truck at an event in Los Angeles

Elon musk announces at an event in Los Angeles that Tesla are developing and manufacturing a Semi truck in which he claims that it will be cheaper to run from day one over diesel lorries. Set to be on the roads in 2019, the Tesla Semi truck will be able to reach 60 mph in just 5 seconds without the trailer attached, and towing the US highways maximum weight of around 36 tons then capable of doing 60 mph in 20 seconds. The Tesla Semi is will have a range of 500 miles when travelling at highway speeds with just a 30 minutes charge at one of the company’s supercharger stations.

“We also have four independent motors,” Elon Musk told the crowd at SpaceX’s Hawthorne facility in southwest LA. “So there’s a motor on each of the rear wheels, and an independent front suspension, so it’s incredibly comfortable to drive this truck.” The Tesla’s semi-truck has advanced autopilot features that include lank keeping and automatic emergency braking, on top of this it has a warning for forward collision. The truck will also be included with a jack-knifing prevention system in which that jack-knifing means that If a vehicle towing a trailer skids, the trailer can push the towing vehicle from behind until it spins the vehicle around and faces backwards. This may be caused by equipment failure, improper braking, or adverse road conditions such as an icy road surface.

More advantages the Tesla Semi-truck has over the Diesel Semi-truck includes that the Tesla has a low centre of gravity that means rollover risk is reduced, also the steering wheel is positioned directly centre. The Semi-truck is installed Tesla armour glass as the front windscreen in which according to Elon Musk can withstand a nuclear explosion.

The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk said, “when you take everything into account, when you take the lease cost, the insurance cost, maintenance, all of the factors, the fully accounted for the true cost trucking, a diesel truck will be 20 per cent more expensive to run than a Tesla Semi.” The average diesel truck price per mile is $1.51 whereas the Tesla Semi is at an estimated $1.26.

UK government launches Year of Engineering campaign to inspire next generation of engineers

In attempt to inspire young people in a line of engineering, the UK government launches Year of Engineering campaign, they’ve pledged to work with hundreds of industry partners throughout 2018 to encourage young people and their parents to take a closer look at engineering. Parents and teachers are in a push to try and get more young people into the line of engineering due to a decrease of 20,000 engineering graduates, a suspected lack of skill has an impact on the productivity nationally.

The plan is to hold large scale activities in which large investments in which Shell plan on already investing £1 million into a programme for thousands of schoolchildren called the Tomorrow’s Engineers Energy Quest programme. The campaign helps engineering fairs that encourage engagement between Big Bang Fair and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious programme and to make sure that they try and create a bond between Engineering firms with these “Career fairs” and then on with the engineering firms and education outlets or actual candidates themselves.

By encouraging young people to go to engineering fairs it allows them to be face to face with experienced engineers and roles models, they aim for young people to show their creative side and to use their innovation. There are also trying to diversify the industry which is predominantly white male, where 91% is male and 94% white. Companies such as Siemens. The Science Museum Group, Ocado, Usborne, BAE Systems and Crossrail have decided to get involved with encouraging the next generation of you engineers.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Engineering makes a significant contribution to our economy and this government is determined to strengthen it further. To ensure we have a high-skilled economy that is fit for the future, our Industrial Strategy is committed to helping people and businesses by boosting engineering and ensuring everyone has the skills needed to thrive in a modern economy.” – “Engineering is an exciting and stimulating job where you can make a real difference, improving and enriching people’s lives, sometimes on a global scale.”

Scottish engineering firm, Burntisland Fabrication are set to go into administration

Workers at a Scottish engineering firm, Burntisland Fabrication are planning to march on the Scottish parliament to ensure they have safeguarding of their future as the company with a workforce of 1,400 in fife are in danger of going into administration. The Scottish government have ensured that they will be closely working with Burntisland Fabrication, although staff are in risk of not getting paid staff have continued to work on their current order.

The Scottish engineering company provides large scale equipment for offshore oil and gas companies, things including platforms for offshore wind turbines and tidal generators. The problem came from a row between the company and Dutch-owned contactor Seaway Heavy Lifting, therefore emergency talks have happened at Burntisland Fabrication to talk about appointing administrators

A march on the Scottish Parliament is set to happen where hundreds of workers from the Scottish engineering company will join in. Scottish Secretary, Gary Smith, said he wouldn’t let Burntisland and that it isn’t an option. Gary Smith told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “They are the people employed doing the jobs of the future. “We need to stand up and fight and defend Scottish manufacturing and today you will see the enormous dignity and the great resolve these workers have got” and that We’re going to fight this through and I’m confident we’re going to get an outcome.”

Burntisland Fabrication don’t only have a yard in Burntisland, but they’ve got yards in Methill and Arnish on Lewis, across all 3 yards they have 251 permanent staff and 1,132 agency workers, including 440 members in the GMB union. The Scottish engineering company is in discussion in whether it can continue trading or not.

Debryshire engineering firm, Rowlescourt Engineering fold dues to a loss of 35 jobs.

Rowlescourt engineering, a Derbyshire rail engineering firm has folded due to a loss of 35 jobs after just recently marking it’s 40th anniversary this year. They felt that they were coming into increasing pressure from competitors which caused them to cease trading. Rowlescourt engineering was founded in 1977 and they specialise in machined and fabricated goods for the railway industry.

The type of equipment that they manufactured and produced were things such as track-side furniture, signal equipment and rail vehicle components for different rail companies in the UK such as Aspin Group, Siemens, Tarmac ABB, National Rail and Global Rail Construction. It had gained a reputation within the rail companies designing equipment for railway infrastructure.

In 2016, Rowlescourt engineering, which was originally started and based in Pinxton but moved to its current site in the mid-1980s, achieved sales of £1.21 million. But despite this, the company came across some difficulties due to increased competition. Administrators Kelly Burton and Lisa Hogg are planning to sell off the Rowlescourt’s land, building and equipment.

Lisa Burton, administrator said “While it is always disappointing when jobs are lost, it also opens the door for new investors. “This is a rare opportunity to obtain a wide range of unencumbered assets which could have a number of applications. We are looking to conclude a sale as quickly as possible.”

NASA are designing first mechanical rover to explore the surface of Venus

NASA are planning to design and develop a mechanical rover to explore the surface of Venus in surface for “Earth 2.0”. Although previously NASA attraction to Mars as the Earths second home, they believe that Venus is another viable option. Such as that Venus is fairly close to Earth than Mars by about 9 million miles. “We’re looking for an Earth 2.0 elsewhere in the universe. They’re good candidates to have evolved life, and we might want to try to send humans there one day. The question is, why is Venus Earth’s evil twin sister?” – Jonathan Sauder, JPL.

A few characteristics about Venus’ planetary system make it sure more unlikely then not, as the surface has thick layer of opaque clouds above preventing the surface to be visible from Earth and the surface can reach up to 475°c above the melting point of lead which is more than 90 times that on Earth, other similar properties include composition and gravity. 1985 was the year of the most recent out of the 10 landers to reach the planet and due to the high temperature and corrosive properties, the longest a probe has stayed is 2 hours and 7 minutes achieved in 1982. No rovers have ever sent to. Venus

Before NASA send any manned mission to Venus to research it to see if it is deemed inhabitable which is why they would need to send a rover in able to see the temperature change can affect the rover to an extreme also to explore rocky slopes to understand and study geological features. They’re expecting to use a mechanical rover rather than an electrical rover as the extreme changed in temperatures can affect the rover. It uses mechanical engineering to transfer data in Morse code such as wind speeds and temperatures, also it isn’t completely mechanical as it uses high temperature electronic systems to work at 450°C.