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BMW to test ONE’s advanced battery in its iX electric SUV



(Last Updated On: June 14, 2022)

MW (BMWG.DE) will install and test a long-range battery developed by Michigan-based startup Our Next Energy (ONE) in the German automaker’s iX electric SUV, the companies said on Tuesday.

ONE’s Gemini battery will incorporate two types of battery cells, including one with advanced chemistry that can store more energy and enable vehicle range of 600 miles (965 km) or more between charges, the battery maker said. The prototype vehicle is expected to be completed by year-end, ONE said.

The Gemini battery aims to reduce the use of such traditional EV battery materials as cobalt, nickel, graphite and lithium, according to Mujeeb Ijaz, ONE founder and chief executive.

Ijaz said ONE is testing different electrode chemistries in Gemini, while evaluating the potential tradeoffs in cost, energy and sustainability.

ONE might offer a production version of the battery in three different sizes and prices, Ijaz said, including a low-end version that would cost the same as today’s conventional nickel- and cobalt-based batteries, “if not a little lower.”

Ijaz said ONE is discussing similar prototype testing of its Gemini battery with other companies.

In March, BMW’s corporate venture arm led a $65 million funding round in ONE. Other investors in that round included Coatue Management, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Assembly Ventures, Flex and Volta Energy Technologies. 

In December, ONE said an early prototype of the Gemini battery, retrofitted in a Tesla Model S sedan, delivered more than 750 miles (1,200 km) of range, well in excess of the best production electric vehicles on the market. 

Since its founding in 2020, ONE has focused development on a long-range battery that uses safer and more sustainable materials, while packing more energy into a smaller, less expensive package.

In a statement, BMW executive Juergen Hildinger said the automaker is exploring opportunities “to integrate ONE’s battery technologies into models of our future BEV (battery electric vehicle) product lineup.”

Science & Technology

Full-scale nuclear war could kill 5 billion people, study shows



(Last Updated On: August 17, 2022)

Five billion people would die in a modern nuclear war with the impact of a global famine — triggered by sunlight-blocking soot in the atmosphere — likely to far exceed the casualties caused by lethal blasts.

Scientists at Rutgers University mapped out the effects of six possible nuclear conflict scenarios. A full-scale war between the US and Russia, the worst possible case, would wipe out more than half of humanity, they said in the study published in the journal Nature Food, Bloomberg reported.

The estimates were based on calculations of how much soot would enter the atmosphere from firestorms ignited by the detonation of nuclear weapons. Researchers used a climate forecasting tool supported by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which allowed them to estimate productivity of major crops on a country-by-country basis.

Even a relatively small-scale conflict would have devastating consequences for global food production. A localized battle between India and Pakistan would see crop yields decline by an estimated 7% within five years, the study suggested, while a US-Russia war would see production fall by 90% within three to four years.

The study comes after the specter of conflict between the US and Russia was raised following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned in April that there was a “serious” risk of nuclear war breaking out, Bloombergy reported.

“The data tell us one thing,” said Alan Robock, the study’s co-author and a professor of climate science in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University. “We must prevent a nuclear war from ever happening.”

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Science & Technology

Europe drought: German industry at risk as Rhine falls



(Last Updated On: August 16, 2022)

Germany’s main industry lobby group warned Tuesday that factories may have to throttle production or halt it completely because plunging water levels on the Rhine River are making it harder to transport cargo.

Water levels on the Rhine at Emmerich, near the Dutch border, dropped by a further four centimeters in 24 hours, hitting zero on the depth gauge, AP reported.

Authorities say the shipping lane itself still has a depth of almost 200 centimeters, but the record low measurement Tuesday morning highlights the extreme lack of water caused by months of drought affecting much of Europe.

“The ongoing drought and the low water levels threaten the supply security of industry,” said Holger Loesch, deputy head of the business lobby group BDI.

Loesch said shifting cargo from river to train or transport was difficult because of limited rail capacity and a lack of drivers.

“It’s only a question of time before facilities in the chemical and steel industry have to be switched off, petroleum and construction materials won’t reach their destination, and high-capacity and heavy-goods transports can’t be carried out anymore,” he said, adding that this could lead to supply bottlenecks and short-time work might result.

Loesch warned that energy supplies could also be further strained as ships carrying coal and gasoline along the Rhine are affected.

He echoed concerns that climate change could make droughts more frequent in the future, and urged the government to help closely monitor water levels and react early to potential transportation problems on Germany’s waterways.

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European drought dries up rivers, kills fish, shrivels crops



(Last Updated On: August 14, 2022)

Once, a river ran through it. Now, white dust and thousands of dead fish cover the wide trench that winds amid rows of trees in France’s Burgundy region in what was the Tille River in the village of Lux.

From dry and cracked reservoirs in Spain to falling water levels on major arteries like the Danube, the Rhine and the Po, an unprecedented drought is afflicting nearly half of Europe. It is damaging farm economies, forcing water restrictions, causing wildfires and threatening aquatic species, AP reported.

There has been no significant rainfall for almost two months in the continent’s western, central and southern regions. In typically rainy Britain, the government officially declared a drought across southern and central England on Friday amid one of the hottest and driest summers on record.

And Europe’s dry period is expected to continue in what experts say could be the worst drought in 500 years.

Climate change is exacerbating conditions as hotter temperatures speed up evaporation, thirsty plants take in more moisture and reduced snowfall in the winter limits supplies of fresh water available for irrigation in the summer. Europe isn’t alone in the crisis, with drought conditions also reported in East Africa, the western United States and northern Mexico.

As he walked in the 15-meter wide riverbed in Lux, Jean-Philippe Couasné, chief technician at the local Federation for Fishing and Protection of the Aquatic Environment, listed the species of fish that had died in the Tille.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “On average, about 8,000 liters per second are flowing. … And now, zero liters.”

In areas upstream, some trout and other freshwater species can take shelter in pools via fish ladders. But such systems aren’t available everywhere.

Without rain, the river “will continue to empty. And yes, all fish will die. … They are trapped upstream and downstream, there’s no water coming in, so the oxygen level will keep decreasing as the (water) volume goes down,” Couasné said. “These are species that will gradually disappear.”

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