Introducing a Battery So Eco-Safe You Can Actually Eat It

A new saltwater power storage unit could be the key to stemming climate change.

Could common saltwater be the key to cleaner energy?

Solar and wind energy have been game changers, to be sure, but they’ve also proven to be unreliable for large-scale use. Dependent on weather, they often require extra, non-green back-up energy for those literal rainy days. As a result, a high-powered battery is often employed as a backup. Unfortunately, these same batteries often have a short shelf-life, are toxic to the environment, expensive, and occasionally can even catch fire. This has created a demand in the industry for bio-safe batteries that are both cheap and green.

Inside the factory making a revolutionary new battery. Photo via Aquion.

After seeing this need, Carnegie Mellon professor Jay Whitacre sprung to action, and has spent the last five years prototyping a battery so safe you can even eat and drink it. With the help of a team of engineers at his start-up, Aquion Energy--based inside an old railroad engine foundry in Pittsburgh, PA--Whitacre has developed a battery that can be built out of saltwater and other organic components. Unlike the kind you buy at the hardware store, these batteries are meant for use on large-scale projects like power farms and massive grids. The energy, which is absorbed during daylight hours, is then released during the evening.

A peek into the battery causing all the buzz.

French consulting firm Yole Développement estimates that this invention could be “a $13.5 billion opportunity by 2023, ” according to OZY. Aquion has so far raised $135 million in funding, and counts Bill Gates and Shell Oil as investors.

Photo via Aquion.

The invention has also won praise from the MIT Technology Review, Fortune, Popular Science and others for its promise as “a global energy innovator.” Ultimately it’s hoped that by switching from harmful, easily discarded batteries to a more natural option, the population will be better shielded from the devastating effects of usage spikes and natural disasters. In the long run, the team also hopes switching to this renewable energy will help fight climate change.

Photo via Aquion.

Currently over 75 international partners use Aquion batteries, and that number is expected to grow as word gets out. With climate change moving at such a rapid pace, can we really afford to wait?

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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The Planet

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

via Found Animals Foundation / Flickr

Service dogs are true blessings that provide a wide array of services for their owners based on their disability.

They can provide preventative alerts for people with epilepsy and dysautonomia. They can do small household tasks like turning lights on and off or providing stability for their owners while standing or walking.

For those with PTSD they can provide emotional support to help them in triggering situations.

However, there are many people out there who fraudulently claim their pets are service or emotional support animals. These trained animals can cause disturbances in businesses or on public transportation.

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