LA Times Owner Could Power Environmental Change
A lithium-ion battery is one of the most popular types of rechargeable batteries for portable electronics. They are growing in popularity for military, electric vehicles, and aerospace applications. However, they can lead to explosions and fires, pose unique safety hazards, and are pricey. Hence, a safer and cheaper version has been long-sought. That’s where LA Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong comes in. On Wednesday, he announced an alternative rechargeable battery -- operating on zinc and air -- that costs far less than lithium-ion batteries. The announcement was made by NantEnergy, the company he owns, in conjunction with the One Planet Summit -- a gathering of world leaders to look at the commitments and implementation of the Paris Agreement [Donald Trump pulled the U.S. of this accord]. Soon-Shiong said tests of the new systems have helped power villages in Africa and Asia, as well as cell phone towers in the U.S. for the last six years. Because the technology costs much less than others -- $100 per kilowatt-hour versus lithium-ion’s estimated $300 to $400 per kilowatt-hour -- some in the energy industry have said it is low enough to transform the electric grid into a round-the-clock carbon-free system. “It could change and create completely new economies using purely the power of the sun, wind and air,” said Soon-Shiong. More here.