Category Archives: Economics

EV Battery technology

With The 745-mile Solid-state Battery, Toyota Just Became A Force To Reckon With

Story by James O’Neil • Jul 22

With The 745-mile Solid-state Battery, Toyota Just Became A Force To Reckon With© Provided by TopSpeed

  • Toyota has been secretly developing a solid-state battery for EVs with a range of 745 miles and a charge time of 10 minutes, which could revolutionize the industry.
  • The battery will provide EVs with the same driving range as traditional vehicles, eliminating the need for frequent charging stops during long trips.
  • While Toyota has been a proponent of hydrogen cars, this breakthrough in EV batteries suggests a shift in the company’s approach to the post-ICE future.

Perhaps we’ve gotten too accustomed to the tech-bro approach to corporate PR, in which companies loudly trumpet every half-baked idea that may or may not fizzle into anticlimactic failure. Today, a company waiting until a concept is totally finished and ready for deployment seems almost quaint. While Toyota has hitherto seemed staunchly opposed to EVs, its research and development department has been developing what may be the biggest breakthrough in EV batteries away from the prying eyes of publicists: a solid-state car battery with a range of 745 miles and a charge time of ten minutes. (For those who prefer metric, that’s a range of 1200 kilometers and a charge time of six hectoseconds.)

For the first time in the history of mass-production EVs, a battery-powered car will have the same driving range as one with an engine and a gas tank. Anyone listening carefully will hear EV-driving dads breathe a sigh of relief as they contemplate how they won’t need to pull over and pry their children away from convenience store candy shelves every two hours while they wait for the car to charge. The great family road trip hasn’t gotten any more bearable in the post-engine era, but may get a bit more cheapskate-friendly.

What Is A Solid-State Battery?

solid-state battery is quite simple to explain. It stores its electrical charge in a solid electrolyte (other types of batteries use a liquid or paste-like one). They’re commonly used in small devices like pacemakers, RFIDs, and other things that demand little electricity. Because they have a very high energy density compared to other battery types (that is, they can store more electricity than other batteries of the same size), solid-state batteries seem like a natural fit for electric cars. But they don’t do well in cold weather, tend to weaken quickly after repeatedly getting charged and drained, are particularly costly, and have other issues that prevent them from going into every laptop, smartphone, and car.

The rise of EVs has made battery research a lot more profitable than it was a mere ten years ago, and scientists have been working on overcoming the shortcomings of solid-state batteries. Toyota is the first company that has come out and said it may have solved the range and battery weight problems.

If this becomes a production reality it solves many issues including range, recharge time, battery weight & eliminates lithium.

Digging 10 miles underground could yield enough geothermal energy to power Earth

Digging 10 miles underground could yield enough geothermal energy to power Earth (excerpts from a recent article)

A geothermal power company ‘is developing technology to blast rock with microwaves to potentially drill the deepest holes on Earth.’

Representational image of a geothermal plant

As fossil fuels cause increasing dangerous emissions, companies everywhere are looking to reduce their production of greenhouse gases.

One key way to do that is through geothermal, said Matt Houde, co-founder and project manager at Quaise Energy, according to a press release published on Thursday.

“The total energy content of the heat stored underground exceeds our annual energy demand as a planet by a factor of a billion. So tapping into a fraction of that is more than enough to meet our energy needs for the foreseeable future,” said Houde.

Today, however, we can’t drill deep enough to unlock that energy because we lack some key technology. 

“If we can get to ten miles down, we can start to find economic temperatures everywhere. And if we go even deeper, we can get to temperatures where water [pumped to the site] becomes supercritical,” a steam-like phase that will allow “a step change improvement in the power production per well and so cheapen the cost of energy,” Houde said.

He points to the deepest hole that’s been drilled to date: the Kola borehole. Despite advanced developments, the notable hole just goes 7.6 miles down and took 20 years to complete because conventional equipment like mechanical drill bits couldn’t withstand the conditions at those depths. 

“And the truth is, we’ll need hundreds if not thousands of Kola boreholes if we want to scale geothermal to the capacity that’s needed,” Houde said. 

Hector Vargas, Quaise Energy 

Enter Quaise, which “is developing technology to blast rock with microwaves to potentially drill the deepest holes on Earth. And no, I’m not stealing a plot device from Star Trek. This technology is real and has been proven in [an MIT] lab,” said Houde.

Geothermal is available 24/7, which “can help balance out the intermittent flows of wind and [solar],” added Houde. Deep geothermal plants will also have a “minimal surface footprint,” meaning they won’t require much land.  

Finally, Houde said, geothermal is “the perfect energy source to take advantage of the largest workforce in the world, the oil and gas industry.” That industry has “11 million jobs in the US alone, and a skill set that is exactly what’s needed for geothermal to rapidly scale.”

Quaise is utilizing new technology that replaces drill bits with millimeter wave energy that melts and then vaporizes the rock to create ever-deeper holes. Developed at MIT over the last 15 years. scientists have demonstrated that millimeter waves could indeed drill a hole in basalt. 

An ideal technology

Houde explained that millimeter waves “are ideal for the hard, hot, crystalline rock deep down that conventional drilling struggles with.” They are not as efficient in the softer rock closer to the surface, but “those are the same formations that conventional drilling excels at.” Hence the company combines both approaches to be more efficient.

Now, Houde has ambitious plans for his new technology. “Our current plan is to drill the first holes in the field in the next few years,” Houde said. “And while we continue to advance the technology to drill deeper, we will also explore our first commercial geothermal projects in shallower settings.”

The Need for Workforce Growth

The Need for Workforce Growth

The U.S. economy loses billions of dollars a year due to the sharp decline in refugee admissions, economist says,Florida%20Gov

Our government estimates that there are about 11 million undocumented persons currently living in our country. Many of these people have been living here for generations. Despite what many think, most of these people did not come across our borders illegally. Two of the most preferred methods are to enter on a tourist visa and to come across on a temporary work visa. The way our system works is that it is very difficult to track down persons who overstay their visas if they do not want to be found. To complicate the issue of the shortage of workers willing to work for low wages it is easy for these immigrants to gain employment. Many enterprises knowingly hire illegals and I do not blame them as there is a demand for lower-wage employment that cannot be satisfied through traditional methods. What would our workforce shortage be like if we did not have these workers?

U.S. economy loses billions of dollars a year due to the sharp decline in refugee admissions, economist says

Last Updated: Sept. 22, 2022 at 1:10 p.m. ETFirst Published: Sept. 20, 2022 at 2:35 p.m. ET  BY Zoe Han

For each missing refugee, it costs the ongoing GDP $30,962 per year, according to an Oxford Review of Economic Policy paper

Although the past refugee exclusion policy carries complex implications, it has ‘permanent, ongoing, annual costs’ to the economy, according to new research.

 The decline of refugees arriving in the U.S. costs the overall economy over $9.1 billion a year, according to a peer-reviewed paper published in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy. 

“The sharp reduction in U.S. refugee admissions starting in 2017 costs the overall U.S. economy today over $9.1 billion per year,” the paper concluded. It also cost public coffers “at all levels of government” over $2 billion per year, it added.

“Beyond claiming a need for protection, refugees and asylum seekers are economic actors. All are consumers, most are (or become) workers and many are (or become) investors,” the author Michael Clemens, director of migration, displacement, and humanitarian policy at the Center for Global Development, wrote.

The paper studied the impact of the more restrictive refugee admission policies from 2017 to 2020. The exclusion policy has blocked approximately 73% of the refugees that would have arrived in 2018, Clemens estimated.

The drop in international migrants costs the economy $30,962 per missing refugee per year on average, and costs the government $6,844 per year per missing refugee, the study found. 

The report comes at a time of heightened tensions around refugees and migrants. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, sent two flights of Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard from San Antonio, Texas last week. A Texas sheriff opened an investigation on Monday into the legality of the flights.

The amount of admitted refugees to the U.S. fell to 30,000 in 2019 from 84,994 in 2016.  This has adverse economic consequences for the country, economist Michael Clemens said.

Julio Henriquez, an attorney who met with several migrants, said they “had no idea of where they were going or where they were,” the Associated Press reported.

The amount of admitted refugees in the U.S. fell to 30,000 in 2019 from 84,994 in 2016, according to Migration Policy Institute data

“In short, the implications of prior, recent refugee-exclusion policy in the United States are complex,” Clemens wrote on Twitter TWTR. “Many are non-economic, obviously. But they include a large, ongoing, permanent economic cost to the average American.”

The problem stems from two facts: 1. Our aging population 2. Our negative “internal” population growth rate. We need to either document the current illegal workforce or deport them. This will allow them to pay taxes. We need to streamline the legal immigration process and make it easier, quicker, and more affordable.