“The Capacitor Challenge” Wins XPRIZE Video Contest, Exemplifies Growing Interest in Energy Storage Technology

xprizewinnerToday XPRIZE Foundation announced that “The Capacitor Challenge”, a video calling for innovation in ultracapacitor technology, is the winner of their “What’s Your Crazy Green Idea” video contest [see my previous post about the contest].  The $25,000 prize was awarded to the video creators Kyle Good and Bryan Le of Irvine, California for receiving the most votes for their video entry in the contest.  The “What’s Your Crazy Green Idea” video contest was a call by the XPRIZE Foundation for ideas in the realm of green innovation that may serve as the basis of a goal for a future XPRIZE award.

The XPRIZE Foundation has not made an announcement about an official ultracapacitor XPRIZE yet, but the XPRIZE Foundation has a track record of offering very large prizes to encourage rapid innovation.  Several years ago they awarded a $10 million prize to Scaled Composites for launching the first reusable privately constructed vehicle into space.

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Video Calling for Ultracapacitor Innovation Makes Final Cut for X PRIZE Green Video Contest

imagesA video calling for innovation in ultracapacitor technology has made the final cut for the X PRIZE Foundation’s “Crazy Green Idea” video challenge.  The X PRIZE Foundation offers large awards for the achievement of one of their defined goals, typically involving scientific and engineering innovation.  They select goals with potential benefit to humanity.  In October of 2004 the X PRIZE Foundation awarded $10 million to Scaled Composites for the being the first private team to build and launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks.  The historical flight of the Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne spaceplane attracted international attention.

The “Green Video Idea” is a call by the X PRIZE Foundation for submission of videos containing ideas for future X PRIZE goals.  “The Capacitor Challenge” was submitted by Kyle Good from Irvine, California, calling for innovations in capacitor technology.

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Formula One Cars to Go Hybrid

F1Formula One (F1) racing appears to stand in contrast with current global trends. The fuel thirsty high performance vehicles thumb their nose at modern practical automotive trends of fuel frugality. However, Formula One racing is in transforming in a way that will make it a leader in high performance fuel efficient technology. Max Mosley, president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body for Formula One racing, sent a letter to the Formula One community laying out a process for Formula One race cars to become hybrids[1].  The process is already underway.

Mosley said: “Formula One is becoming unsustainable. The major manufacturers are currently employing up to 1000 people to put two cars on the grid. This is clearly unacceptable at a time when all these companies are facing difficult market conditions.

Also, with attention on energy problems world-wide, Formula One cannot afford to be profligate in its use of fuel.”

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Energy Storage: From Gasoline to Ultracapacitors

Energy cannot be created or destroyed.  Scientists have accepted this theory of conservation of energy for ages[1].  But this theory seems to be in juxtaposition with the conventional thought of energy being a scarce resource.  If energy cannot be created or destroyed, why are we always scrambling to find new sources of energy?  While energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can change form.  And there are only certain forms of energy that we can practically harness for use.  One of those forms is potential energy[2].  How we work with potential energy, transport it and harness its potential, is an area of significant evolution in science.

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