Northeast Florida Roundup
UF engineer, two colleagues invent sensor to extend electric car battery
Longer Battery Life
Three UF engineers invent a sensor that generates its own power using external magnetic fields.
Cars today have multiple sensors that perform all manner of tasks, from alerting drivers to vehicles in their blind spots to warning of low tire pressure or a door that’s ajar. Minimizing the drain on the car’s battery from those sensors is crucial, particularly in electric vehicles.
University of Florida engineering professor Jennifer Andrew and two engineering colleagues, David Arnold and Matthew Bauer, have developed a sensor that doesn’t run off a car’s battery, which would extend the range of an electric vehicle.
The device consists of nanowires that use ambient magnetic fields near the sensor to generate power. Each wire is made of layers of barium titanate and cobalt ferrite, which changes shape when it’s exposed to a magnetic field, such as that generated by the turning of gears in a car engine. This shape change causes a similar response in the barium titanate, which, in turn, creates voltage that powers the sensor.
“It’s one thing to drive an electric vehicle around a city. But if you want to go on a road trip, you have to think, ‘Where am I going to charge it?’ ” Andrew says. “The less we drain the battery with sensors, the more we can extend the vehicle’s range.”
UF has secured a provisional patent for the technology, and the researchers’ industrial partner, New Hampshire-based Allegro Micro-systems, has licensed the patent for the sensor.
- Jacksonville’s municipal utility, JEA, chose a city-owned site on West Adams Street downtown for its new headquarters. Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. has proposed building a 207,810-sq.-ft. office tower and an 850-space garage for JEA, which is looking to move for the first time in 31 years. Ryan plans to buy the property from the city and finalize a lease agreement with JEA by the end of this summer. The project is to be completed in fall 2021.
- April Green, COO of Baxter Technology and CFO/COO for Bethel Baptist Institutional Church in Jacksonville, is JEA’s new board chair.
- Former local TV newscaster Nikki Kimbleton joined the city of Jacksonville as director of public affairs. Her predecessor, Marsha Oliver, left the job to oversee community outreach for The Players/PGA Tour.
- Atlanta-based Fuqua Development unveiled plans for a mixed-use project on 67 acres near I-295 in Jacksonville. The $300-million project, called the Exchange at Jacksonville, will include shops, restaurants, offices, apartments, a movie theater and hotels. Fuqua plans to begin construction in early 2020. J
- Jacksonville's Downtown Investment Authority will seek development ideas for the former city hall and Duval County courthouse properties on East Bay Street. The city had considered putting a convention center on the 8.3-acre site, but Mayor Lenny Curry rejected the idea, saying downtown should focus first on developing more hotel space and “lifestyle and entertainment” amenities.
- Pollack Shores Real Estate Group is building a 175-unit apartment complex, called Olea at Nocatee, in Ponte Vedra. The project, to be completed in summer 2020, will be marketed to Baby Boomers.