How Green Is My Plug-In?

The carbon impact of the millions of electric vehicles soon to hit the road will depend on the grids that supply them

12 min read
Opening illustration for this feature article.
Illustration: Holly Lindem

Opening illustration for this feature article. Illustration: Holly Lindem

“Our goal is to remove the car from the environmental debate,” says Larry Burns, vice president for R&D and strategic planning at General Motors. His vision is that one day cars will emit no harmful pollutants from their tailpipes—or perhaps they’ll have no tailpipes at all. And if the beleaguered automaker survives that long, GM may be able to achieve that goal.

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Before Ships Used GPS, There was the Fresnel Lens

This bright idea revolutionized lighthouses and saved lives

3 min read
 A Fresnel lens at the Seguin Island Light Station in Maine.

The Fresnel lens used in the Seguin Island Light Station in Georgetown, Maine.

Edwin Remsberg/AP

Ships today use satellite-based radio navigation, GPS, and other tools to prevent accidents. But back at the beginning of the 19th century, lighthouses guided ships away from rocky shores using an oil lamp placed between a concave mirror and a glass lens to produce a beam of light.

The mirrors were not very effective, though, and the lenses were murky. The light was difficult to see from a distance on a clear night, let alone in heavy fog or a storm.

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Researchers Develop Smaller Photonic Topological Insulator

A novel device covers a wider range of frequencies and could boost 5G, radar, and quantum computers

3 min read
Illustration shows a gold surface marked to show non-overlapping clock generator 12.5% duty cycle clocks and to the left 2GHz cock input. Rising from 4 sections each containing 4 triangles are 12 cylinders .

Conceptual diagram of the Floquet TI implemented in a 45 nm silicon-on-insulator CMOS process.

CUNY/Nature Electronics

Novel devices known as photonic topological electromagnetic circuits may one day support 5G wireless broadband networks and advanced radar systems, a new study finds.

Topology is the branch of mathematics that explores what features of shapes may survive deformation. For instance, an object shaped like a doughnut can be deformed into the shape of a mug, so that the doughnut’s hole forms the hole in the cup’s handle. However, the object couldn’t lose its hole without changing into a fundamentally different shape.

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Why Battery Energy Storage Is Moving to Higher DC Voltages

Download this free whitepaper to learn how battery energy storage up to 1500 VDC can deliver power efficiencies and cost reductions

1 min read

The explosive growth of the battery energy storage industry has created a need for higher DC voltages in utility-scale applications.

Download this free whitepaper and learn how you can achieve a smooth transfer of power, efficiencies and cost reductions with battery energy storage system components up to1500 VDC.