Making a better battery – CBS News

Commercial buildings use more electricity than any other building type in the US.  Roughly 65% according to DOE statistics.  But, the problem is WHEN they use energy – daytime and early evenings.  That creates a problem for the power grid which falls short throughout the day and has too much at night.  Energy storage solves that problem.

So, in the race for better batteries, scientists are re-discovering…  basic science still holds true.  The KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).  Instead of hunting for exotic new materials that are hard to find or unsafe, building experts like 3fficient are relying on one of the most plentiful, sustainable materials on planet Earth.  Good ole’ H2O.  Ice Energy, has been making ice storage for utilities for several years now, but recently, they have partnered with 3fficient to design and install pre-packaged ice storage units that bolt directly to commercial a/c units.  After a little engineering and mechanical connections, these “ice batteries” create ice at night with their super efficient compressors and then the melted, ice cold water runs through the a/c unit coil to blow perfect cool air into the space below.  Since it’s a closed loop, no additional water is needed so the storage medium lasts and lasts and lasts.  The initial water comes straight out of the spigot.  The compressors are commercial grade and have a life at least 200% – 300% longer than Tesla and other Lithium batteries.

Daytime a/c energy use gets cut by 90 – 95% which saves a lot of costs for the customer.  More importantly, it reduces the need for more expensive solar power or (in comparison) short-lived electric batteries.  For utility customers on a time of use rate (most commercial customers and soon everyone in CA), the short term peak demand (kW) charges are a huge portion of the bill.  Most buildings have a daily power spike when everything is on, especially all the a/c units.  That 15 or 30 minute spike can cost dearly. as it sets the bill for the month or even the year. So, when you have a plug n play tool that reliably levelizes your daily power curve, you’ll save a lot of money.  Utilities will love you for it and so will your bottom line!

While exotic “invented by Nasa engineers” tech may seem cool, sometimes “old school” is even cooler!  Check out this Nova Video about it called, Making a better battery, featuring David Pogue – the gadget guy.

Can your bench do this? Here’s how solar furniture attracts visitors and makes your company look amazing.

Ah, the good old bench. It’s the background subject of affection in many movies. A couple holding hands on a park bench. An old man sitting on a bench feeding pigeons. Two strangers sitting on a bench engaging in a conversation on a beautiful spring day. Remember when you last went outside and just sat on a bench?

Some things thankfully never change. People do still sit outside and in fact, we’re outside more than ever.  On sunny days, we like to sit in the shade. Because we are so busy, when we do take time to rest, we’re usually on our smartphone and wishing we could recharge our device batteries while recharging our mental batteries.  We expect more from everything these days and even benches are keeping up with the times.

3fficient heard from cities, business building owners, and universities who all said they’d love to see a bench that charged phones using solar energy. They also said they’d like other options, like providing internet access and lighting while getting local environmental and traffic data nearby. 3fficient answered the call and is proud to present our new initiative that we call Project FreeCharge.

Working with furniture and clean tech engineers has been really rewarding.  The lowly park bench is getting a big makeover with amazing new features:

  • Comfortable resting place with shade and weather protection
  • Smart lighting that knows when it’s time to dance with the music or alert public safety
  • Power adapters and outlets for mobile and portable devices
  • Instant alert and emergency activated monitoring for public safety
  • Solar panels that transform sunlight into energy
  • Smart energy storage that works up to 14 days without sunshine
  • Daily energy and environmental reporting
  • Drop in 1-day installation.
  • Sustainable materials

Why consider new self-powered benches?  Organizations that have installed smart renewable-energy-powered urban furniture tell us they communicate a strong message of sustainability to their customers.  They are simple to install and essentially free to operate because they don’t require connectivity to the electrical grid.  3fficient benches are battery-powered and provide incredible value.

So, next time you are outside, take a look at that old familiar bench and ask yourself, what if that bench could do more?  What if it charged devices for free?  What if it could track the number of visitors to that area?  What if it provided lighting that increased security?  What if it could call emergency services with the push of a button.  That would be amazing, right?

Take a moment to visit FreeCharge and see communities can DO MORE WITH LESS.