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Posts Tagged: "hydrogen"

Nikola Accuses Tesla of Design Patent Infringement on Aerodynamic Truck Cabin Features

On April 30th, alternative fuel vehicle manufacturer Nikola Corporation filed a complaint alleging claims of design patent infringement against electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc. Filed in the District of Arizona, Nikola’s complaint accuses Tesla of copying various elements of design patents held by Nikola in the area of heavy duty semi truck cabin design.

Sustainable, green aviation and the pursuit of fuel alternatives

Fuels derived from biomass are not the only option being pursued to solve the problem of switching away from petroleum-based fossil fuels, or at least getting more mileage from those fuels. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140339367, titled Efficient Low Carbon Emission Airplane Integrating Jet Fuel and Cryogenic Fuel Systems, would protect a hybrid fuel airplane having at least one cryogenic fuel tank conforming to the airplane body’s outer mold line as well as a jet fuel tank located in the airplane’s wing. This configuration, developed by the Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) of Chicago, IL, would introduce the use of cryogenic fuels, which are fuels that require storage at extremely low temperatures in order to remain in a liquid state. Cryogenic fuels could be attractive for the airline industry because they create low emission levels and possess a high energy density per mass unit of fuel. One challenge, however, is that cryogenic fuels require large volume tanks because they have a low volumetric energy density per liter. It is because of these benefits and challenges that Boeing is pursuing alternative airplane designs to accommodate for the use of cryogenic fuels.

Fuel cell vehicle development increases despite EV dominance in alternative fuel car market

Car manufacturers around the world tend to fall into either the EV or the FCV camp when assessing their developments in alternative fuel-powered vehicles. There are far more players in the electric vehicle field, which is headed up by Nissan Motor Company (TYO:7201) and Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA). In 2014, those two companies accounted for nearly 60,000 new vehicle sales, about half of all new electric vehicle sales that year. Other car makers developing electric vehicles include BMW, Ford, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen. Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) occupies the lead position among hydrogen fuel cell vehicle makers in terms of development. This January, we profiled Toyota’s decision to offer cost-free licensing of nearly 6,000 hydrogen fuel cell patents only a few months after Tesla decided to completely open source the few hundred EV patents it holds in its corporate portfolio.

Patented Technology for a Hydrogen Economy

In this follow-up piece, we focus on recently patented technologies that deal with all aspects of hydrogen generation and the use of hydrogen fuels. We begin our discussion with a trio of patents related to various processes of hydrogen generation. Storing and transportation of hydrogen has been cited as an issue for more implementation of hydrogen technologies, which is why we were happy to include a couple of patents aimed at solving these problems. Methods for refilling hydrogen fuel cells and a couple of technologies for recovering greenhouse gases created by hydrogen generation processes are also discussed below.

Increase Renewable Energy with Better Hydrogen Storage Tech

Before widespread application of hydrogen in electrical utilities can be addressed, however, a number of shortcomings have yet to be solved. Although hydrogen can be derived from a number of sources, most of the world’s current hydrogen manufacture requires natural gas, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Natural gas is still a fossil fuel and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when combusted for these processes. Storing and transportation of hydrogen is also very important as hydrogen, compared to other fuels, has a low energy for its volume even though it has a high energy for its weight. The ability to store and transport hydrogen in cost-effective ways is currently a stumbling block on the path towards greater use of this alternative energy carrier in electrical systems.

GE Patents: Patents of Note: Medical Inventions & Alternative Energy Systems

General Electric has been awash in recently issued patents pertaining to medical technologies, and we discuss an intriguing collection of these inventions. One patent protects an improved anaesthesia delivery system that monitors oxygen levels in patients undergoing anaesthesia. Another protects a system for recognizing family relationships among patients for better tracking of medical histories. Finally, we look at a couple of patents protecting technologies for energy generation systems, including one protecting a method of monitoring communication networks in wind farms to quickly identify network issues which need to be fixed for accurate energy production reporting.

Tesla on Patents: Open Source Altruism or Shrewd Business?

Musk has been creating some waves in his role as CEO of Tesla Motors. In a self-authored blog post published on the official Tesla Motors blog, Musk announced that the company was trying to make the company ‘open source’ by allowing other people to infringe on their patent portfolio with the supposed intent of encouraging the development of electric vehicle technologies . . . Of course, it is hard to ignore the reality that several weeks before this allegedly altruistic proclamation by Musk, Toyota announced that it would be phasing out its deal with Tesla Motors. Not surprisingly, a little more than a week after the Musk announcement Toyota unveiled its hydrogen car. Time is reporting that the car will be introduced first in Japan in 2015 and eventually in the U.S. market during the summer of 2015, likely at a price tag of $70,000.

Panasonic Invention Increases Efficiency, Reduces Fuel Cell Waste

Fuel cell technologies have become a bigger focus in our world as we seek to get away from fossil fuel emissions, and today’s featured patent application looks to take a big step in that direction. This technology improves the strength of seals within fuel cells, improving the efficient use of fuel gases for energy generation. Other intriguing patent applications we discuss today involve some novel medical device technologies as well as improved lighting arrays for light-emitting diodes and electroluminescence systems. Panasonic is a heavyweight in the world of patent protections, and it has recently been issued dozens of patents protecting its electronic products. One patent we discuss relates to methods of improving music playback in electronic devices when an incoming phone call is registered. Another interesting patent relates to portable beds in medical facilities which can easily transport patients from room to room. We also noticed a couple of patents again related to various lighting technologies developed by this corporation.

Fuel Cells and Bayh-Dole: The Pursuit of a Hydrogen Energy

HyperSolar, Inc. has developed a technology that they claim will produce hydrogen that is renewable and utilizes natural power sources: sunlight and water. Who knows whether the HyperSolar/UC technology will ultimately lead to the dawn of a hydrogen energy economy. What we do know is that without the forward-thinking legislation that gives Universities incentive to partner with the private sector there would be no such potential. As alluring as alternative, cheap, clean energy is, efforts to get from where we are to where we ultimately need to go will be extremely expensive and the research highly speculative. Such high cost and extremely speculative research is realistically only carried out by Universities.