Imagine a kerosene lamp that continued to shine after the fuel was spent. Materials scientists at Harvard University have demonstrated an equivalent feat in clean energy generation with a solid-oxide fuel cell that converts hydrogen into electricity but can also store electrochemical energy like a battery. This fuel cell can continue to produce power for a short time after its fuel has run out.
Researchers at Rice University have developed a lithium-ion battery that can be painted on virtually any surface. The rechargeable battery created in the laboratory of Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan consists of spray-painted layers, each representing the components in a traditional battery.
Lithium-ion batteries drive devices from electric cars to smartphones. And society is demanding more batteries with more capacity from each battery. To help meet this demand, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory users and researchers put their energy behind a clever new idea that, literally, gives batteries a bit of room to grow.
Future automotive batteries could cost less and pack more power because of a new manufacturing research and development facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The $3 million Department of Energy facility allows for collaboration with industry and other national labs while protecting intellectual property of industrial partners.
Stanford University scientists have breathed new life into the nickel-iron battery, a rechargeable technology developed by Thomas Edison more than a century ago. The team has created an ultrafast nickel-iron battery that can be fully charged in about 2 min and discharge in less than 30 sec.
The design of a nature-inspired material that can make energy-storing hydrogen gas has gone holistic. Usually, tweaking the design of this particular catalyst—a work in progress for cheaper, better fuel cells—results in either faster or more energy-efficient production but not both. Now, researchers have found a condition that creates hydrogen faster without a loss in efficiency.
A novel porous material that has unique carbon dioxide retention properties has been developed through research led by The University of Nottingham. The findings form part of ongoing efforts to develop new materials for gas storage applications could have an impact in the advancement of new carbon capture products for reducing emissions from fossil fuel processes.
Thanks to a little serendipity, researchers at Rice University have created a tiny coaxial cable that is about a thousand times smaller than a human hair and has higher capacitance than previously reported microcapacitors. The nanocable was produced with techniques pioneered in the nascent graphene research field and could be used to build next-generation energy storage systems.
Platinum catalysts in fuel cells are too expensive for large-scale production. Stanford University scientists have developed a technique that could make carbon nanotubes an attractive, low-cost alternative.
CalCEF, which creates institutions and investment vehicles for the clean energy economy, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced a partnership to launch CalCharge, a consortium uniting California's emerging and established battery technology companies with critical academic and government resources.
The Morgan Crucible Company plc announced the signing of a joint development agreement between its wholly owned subsidiary, MorganAM&T Inc., and Boston-Power Inc. to accelerate development and commercialization of MorganAM&T's advanced anode technologies based on metal-loaded carbon nanoparticles.
Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Department of Energy have released a new tool to help utilities, developers, and regulators identify the energy storage options that best meet their needs. Partnering with DNV KEMA, Sandia is releasing Energy Storage Select, or ES-Select, software under a public license to the company.
For more than a decade, scientists have tried to improve lithium-based batteries by replacing the graphite in one terminal with silicon, which can store 10 times more charge. But after just a few charge/discharge cycles, the silicon structure would crack and crumble, rendering the battery useless. Now a team led by materials scientist has found a solution: a cleverly designed double-walled nanostructure that lasts more than 6,000 cycles, far more than needed by electric vehicles or mobile electronics.
While working with an enzyme found in bacteria that is crucial for capturing solar energy, researchers in Michigan have found they can adjust the time the battery-like enzyme can store energy. In nature, the enzyme recovers from a charge-separated state in seconds, but changing the enzyme’s shape has extended storage to several hours.
SustainX, a grid-scale developer of energy storage solutions, is commercializing isothermal compressed air energy storage, which is typically accomplished using underground caverns. However, this new technology, licensed from the University of Minnesota, uses pipe-type air storage, which makes it possible to store energy in more places.
In prototypes of the lithium-sulfur battery, lithium ions are exchanged between lithium- and sulfur-carbon electrodes. The sulfur is an excellent energy storage material due to its low weight. At the same time, sulfur is a poor conductor, so researchers have a devised a way to greatly improve conductivity using a porous network of carbon nanoparticles.
For catalysts in fuel cells and electrodes in batteries, engineers would like to manufacture metal films that are porous, to make more surface area available for chemical reactions, and highly conductive, to carry off the electricity. The latter has been a frustrating challenge. But Cornell University chemists have now developed a way to make porous metal films with up to 1,000 times the electrical conductivity offered by previous methods.
It turns out you can be too thin—especially if you're a nanoscale battery. A team of researchers built a series of nanowire batteries to demonstrate that the thickness of the electrolyte layer can dramatically affect the performance of the battery, effectively setting a lower limit to the size of the tiny power sources.
A study that examines a new type of silicon-carbon nanocomposite electrode reveals details of how they function and how repeated use could wear them down. The study also provides clues to why this material performs better than silicon alone.
A research group at Drexel University has produced the first quantitative picture of the ionic liquid structure in a promising type of supercapacitor that uses microporous carbon electrodes. Ion adsorption in these electrodes produces the excellent performance exhibited by the supercapacitors, and the research could guide the design of better storage devices.
Physics researchers at the University of Kansas have discovered a new method of detecting electric currents based on a process called second-harmonic generation, similar to a radar gun for electrons that can remotely detect their speed.
Just as a wine glass vibrates and sometimes breaks when a diva sings the right note, carbon dioxide vibrates when light or heat serenades it. When it does, carbon dioxide exhibits a vibrational puzzle known as Fermi resonance. Now, researchers studying geologic carbon storage have learned a bit more about the nature of carbon dioxide.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered the means by which a polymer known as PVDF, polyvinylidene fluoride, enables capacitors to store and release large amounts of energy quickly. Their findings could lead to much more powerful and efficient electric cars.
Sandia National Laboratories researchers have developed a new family of liquid salt electrolytes, known as MetILs, that could lead to batteries able to cost-effectively store three times more energy than today's batteries. The research might lead to devices that can help economically and reliably incorporate large-scale intermittent renewable energy source into the nation's electric grid.
When it comes to driving hydrogen production, a new catalyst built at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory can do what was previously shown to happen only in nature: Store energy in hydrogen and release that energy on demand. This nickel-based complex drives the reaction, but is not consumed by it.