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PNNL recognized for transferring innovations to the marketplace

December 21, 2012 9:21 am | News | Comments

The Federal Laboratory Consortium announced this week that the Department of Energy national laboratory in Richland is receiving three 2013 Excellence in Technology Transfer awards in recognition for creating technologies or processes that can store large amounts of renewable energy until it's needed, fight cancer and detect explosives, and then moving the innovations to the marketplace.

Artificial intelligence helps sort used batteries

December 19, 2012 12:07 pm | News | Comments

Research at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology has resulted in a new type of machine that sorts used batteries by means of artificial intelligence (AI). One machine is now being used in the U.K., sorting one-third of the country's recycled batteries.

New factor could limit life of hybrid and electric car batteries

December 13, 2012 8:02 am | News | Comments

A new study of the batteries commonly used in hybrid and electric-only cars has revealed an unexpected factor that could limit the performance of batteries currently on the road. Researchers led by Ohio State University engineers examined used car batteries and discovered that over time lithium accumulates beyond the battery electrodes—in the "current collector," a sheet of copper which facilitates electron transfer between the electrodes and the car's electrical system.

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A madder way to cultivate green batteries

December 12, 2012 7:58 am | News | Comments

Here's a reason to be glad about madder: The climbing plant has the potential to make a greener rechargeable battery. Scientists at Rice University and the City College of New York have discovered that the madder plant, aka Rubia tinctorum, is a good source of purpurin, an organic dye that can be turned into a highly effective, natural cathode for lithium-ion batteries.

Study: Wind, solar, and energy storage could power electric grid

December 11, 2012 9:49 am | by Teresa Messmore, University of Delaware | News | Comments

According to new research by the University of Delaware, renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9% of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses. The study’s authors developed a computer model to consider 28 billion combinations of renewable energy sources and storage mechanisms, each tested over four years of historical hourly weather data and electricity demands.

DOE awards up to $120 million for battery hub

December 3, 2012 8:25 am | News | Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that a multipartner team led by Argonne National Laboratory has been selected for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub. The Hub will combine the R&D firepower of five DOE national laboratories, five universities, and four private firms in an effort aimed at achieving advances in battery performance.

James' bond: Team creates seamless graphene/nanotube hybrid

November 27, 2012 12:57 pm | News | Comments

Led by Rice University chemist James Tour, researchers have successfully grown forests of carbon nanotubes that rise quickly from sheets of graphene to astounding lengths of up to 120 μm. That translates into a massive amount of surface area, the key factor in making things like energy-storing supercapacitors. The 3D structure connects graphene to nanotubes with covalent bonds, resulting in a stable structure.

Study offers new insights into catalytic activity of copper

November 9, 2012 12:38 pm | News | Comments

Catalysis is an incredibly valuable tool in the field of chemistry, but it typically requires precious metals that are both expensive and potentially harmful to the environment. Researchers in Sweden say they have discovered that copper, which is not typically known for its catalytic properties, had unexpectedly been responsible for catalytic activity as part of research into iron catalysts.

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Researchers develop effective thermal energy storage system

November 9, 2012 7:52 am | News | Comments

Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a thermal energy storage system that will work as a viable alternative to current methods used for storing energy collected from solar panels. Incorporating the researchers' design into the operation of a concentrated solar power plant will dramatically increase annual energy production while significantly decreasing production costs.

Improving lithium battery performance

November 8, 2012 8:50 am | News | Comments

Lithium batteries are used in many devices such as cell phones, computers, and cameras, among others. University of Delaware doctoral student Wei-Fan Kuan is investigating ways to improve membranes used in lithium batteries by capitalizing on the innate properties of block copolymers.

New device could allow your heartbeat to power pacemaker

November 5, 2012 3:29 pm | News | Comments

An experimental device invented at the University of Michigan is able to convert energy from a beating heart, enough to provide electricity to power a pacemaker. The innovation, which relies on piezoelectricity, could eliminate the need for surgeries to replace pacemakers with depleted batteries.

Team boosts silicon-based batteries

November 5, 2012 9:24 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice University have refined silicon-based lithium-ion technology by literally crushing their previous work to make a high-capacity, long-lived, and low-cost anode material with serious commercial potential for rechargeable lithium batteries.

Building a better battery for renewable energy storage

October 29, 2012 10:49 am | by Glenn Roberts Jr., SLAC | News | Comments

Solar, wind and other renewable energy sources reduce consumption of fossil fuels but also pose challenges to the electrical grid because their power generation fluctuates. A team of researchers at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has developed a mix of materials that shows promise as a cost-effective alternative to standard batteries—able to quickly and efficiently charge and discharge their energy over thousands of charges, with no energy loss after 1,000 charges.

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New technique reveals lithium in action

October 8, 2012 11:50 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT | News | Comments

Exactly what goes inside advanced lithium-air batteries as they charge and discharge has always been impossible to observe directly. Now, a new technique developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers promises to change that, allowing study of this electrochemical activity as it happens.

Researchers develop new way to determine amount of charge remaining in battery

October 8, 2012 11:09 am | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique that allows users to better determine the amount of charge remaining in a battery in real time. Using the researchers' new technique, models are able to estimate remaining charge within 5%.

Agreement will lead to commercialization of batteries for renewable energy storage

October 2, 2012 1:50 pm | by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

A Washington state firm with a 27,000 square foot manufacturing and design facility in Mukilteo has signed a license agreement with Battelle to further develop and commercialize a type of advanced battery that holds promise for storing large amounts of renewable energy and providing greater stability to the energy grid.

Nickelblock: An element's love-hate relationship with battery electrodes

September 27, 2012 12:30 pm | News | Comments

Anyone who owns an electronic device knows that lithium-ion batteries could work better and last longer. Now, scientists examining battery materials on the nanoscale reveal how nickel forms a physical barrier that impedes that shuttling of lithium ions in the electrode, reducing how fast the materials charge and discharge. The research also suggest a way to improve the materials.

Waste silicon gets new life in lithium-ion batteries

September 5, 2012 4:58 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice University and from Belgium have developed a way to make flexible components for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries from discarded silicon. The researchers created forests of nanowires from high-value but hard-to-recycle silicon. Silicon absorbs 10 time more lithium than the carbon commonly used in lithium-ion batteries.

Glass offers improved means of storing U.K.'s nuclear waste

August 24, 2012 4:56 am | News | Comments

University of Sheffield researchers have shown, for the first time, that a method of storing nuclear waste normally used only for high level waste (HLW), could provide a safer, more efficient, and potentially cheaper, solution for the storage and ultimate disposal of intermediate level waste (ILW).

Self-charging power cell converts, stores energy in single unit

August 22, 2012 3:39 am | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a self-charging power cell that directly converts mechanical energy to chemical energy, storing the power until it is released as electrical current. By eliminating the need to convert mechanical energy to electrical energy for charging a battery, the new hybrid generator-storage cell uses mechanical energy more efficiently than systems using separate generators and batteries.

Engineers damage graphene to make batteries perform far better

August 21, 2012 5:58 am | News | Comments

After making a sheet of “paper” from the world’s thinnest material, graphene, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scientists zapped it with a laser. The light blemished the ultrathin paper with countless cracks, pores, and other imperfections. The result is a graphene anode material that can be charged or discharged 10 times faster than conventional graphite anodes used in today’s lithium-ion batteries.

Energy storage system helps control fluctuation of renewable energies

August 9, 2012 9:11 am | News | Comments

At Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, several pilot plants of solar cells, small wind power plants, lithium-ion batteries, and power electronics are under construction to demonstrate how load peaks in the grid can be balanced and what regenerative power supply by an isolated network may look like in the future.

Team develops high-performance flexible solid-state battery

August 6, 2012 9:34 am | News | Comments

Using a universal transfer approach, a team of engineers in Korea have built a flexible lithium-ion battery structured with high density inorganic thin films. The innovation has potential as an essential energy source for flexible displays.

DOE grant goes to lithium-ion battery development

August 6, 2012 5:43 am | News | Comments

Washington University in St. Louis recently landed a $2 million U.S. Dept. of Energy grant with $1.2 million in matching funds from the university to design a battery management system for lithium-ion batteries that will guarantee their longevity, safety and performance. The development is geared toward electric vehicle technologies.

New battery helps breaks barriers for low-cost energy storage

August 2, 2012 5:25 am | News | Comments

A research team has built an air-breathing battery that uses the chemical energy generated by the oxidation of iron plates that are exposed to the oxygen in the air—a process similar to rusting. The concept has been around for decades, but competing chemical reaction of hydrogen generation sucked away about 50% of the battery’s energy. Recent breakthroughs have lowered this loss to just 4%.

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