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Heartland Tech Weekly: Spreading the word about startups beyond your backyard

Last week, I attended the first stop on Steve Case’s latest “Rise of the Rest” tour in Central Pennsylvania, which aims to highlight startup activity in traditionally under-the-radar tech communities in the U.S. The tour stopped in the cities of Harrisburg, Lancaster, and York — all towns that have traditionally relied on manufacturing to grow their economy, and whose business leaders are looking for ways to diversify their cities’ economies.

As a reporter who writes about startups outside of Silicon Valley and New York every day, it no longer surprises me to hear about a town of 50,000 people that has a small but thriving robotics startup — successful startups can be created anywhere. But talking with entrepreneurs, investors, and economic development leaders on the Rise of the Rest tour reminded me that it’s one thing to create cutting-edge startups in your community, and quite another to spread the word.

One anecdote in particular that stood out to me came from Sam Abadir, the founder of Aspire Ventures, a Lancaster-based early stage VC firm that focuses on artificial intelligence and Internet of Things companies. “I’ll give speeches at the local Rotary and they’ll say, ‘You can’t make that happen,’” Abadir said.

Making leaders of old-school economic development groups aware that these kind of cutting-edge startups exist in their backyard is another challenge. I spoke with the CEO of a Lancaster-based construction firm, who said that he wanted to work more with startups in the area, “but didn’t know where to start.”

I’m curious to hear from readers about what barriers they feel exist between the startups in their community and more established businesses or business development groups. Send feedback, news tips, or story suggestions to me via email — bookmark our Heartland Tech Channel, and please remember to share these #HeartlandTech stories on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Thanks for reading,

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter

P.S. Please enjoy this video from Columbus Business First, “Steve Case, J.D. Vance stop in Columbus during venture capital bus tour.


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About Ms. A. C. Kennedy

Ms. A. C. Kennedy
My name is Ms A C Kennedy and I am a Health practitioner and Consultant by day and a serial blogger by night. I luv family, life and learning new things. I especially luv learning how to improve my business. I also luv helping and sharing my information with others. Don't forget to ask me anything!

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick