🚙 TRANSPORTATION: Detroit-based General Motors is entering a partnership with Phoenix-based zero-emissions truck startup Nikola. GM will engineer and build the Nikola Badger electric truck as well as its batteries. Vehicle production is expected to start by the end of 2022.
- Nikola will use two of GM’s electric vehicle battery technologies in its vehicles: the Ultium battery system and the Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell. GM says its Ultium battery technology uses silicon and lithium-ion anodes, which boosts energy density, increases affordability, and reduces reliance on rare metals.
- GM will take an 11% ownership stake in Nikola under the $2 billion in-kind services deal.
- The partnership is considered a major milestone for commercializing GM’s emerging technologies. It comes on the heels of GM’s agreement with Honda last week to create an auto alliance that would jointly accelerate next-generation technologies, including electric vehicle innovations.
💧 HYDROGEN: SunHydrogen renewed and expanded its sponsored research agreement with the University of Iowa for the next year. This will increase funding and staffing to accelerate the development and commercialization of nanoparticle technology to create renewable hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water.
🔋 BATTERIES: Argonne National Laboratory researchers are examining lithium-sulfur batteries as a lower cost, higher charge density alternative to lithium-ion batteries. They’re working on solutions to address lithium-sulfur batteries’ low energy efficiency and poor life cycle.
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🎮 VIDEOGAMES: Researchers at Northwestern University developed a hand-held videogame system that uses no batteries. As the first system to harvest energy from the user’s actions and integrated solar panels to power itself, the breakthrough could revolutionize sustainable gaming options.
🔌 EFFICIENCY: A state representative in Minnesota proposed establishing a $40 million grant program to promote the development and installation of energy efficient technologies in buildings that are being reconstructed after having been destroyed during this summer’s civil unrest, reports Northfield News.
🏃 ACCELERATOR: Twin Cities-based companies Cargill and Ecolab announced the newest cohort to join their partner Techstars’ Farm-to-Fork Accelerator, and entrepreneurs from Madison, Wisconsin; Rochester, Minnesota; and St. Louis are among the 11 early-stage startups chosen. Program participants aim to improve aspects of the food system, including sustainability, via technology.