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?

Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less