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.
The biggest drawback to sources of clean, renewable energy is their intermittency: The wind doesn't always blow, the sun doesn't always shine, and so the power they produce may not be available at all times. A major goal of energy research has been to find ways to help smooth out these erratic supplies. Now the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows a promising technology that could provide that long-sought way of leveling the load.
Highly efficient 3V cathodes for rechargeable sodium-ion batteries have been developed by researchers at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago. With a near-theoretical capacity of 250 mAh/g and power densities 1,200 W/kg, these new electrodes can be used at ambient temperature.
Until now, looking inside a battery to determine its health has been difficult without destroying the battery. An international team of researchers has now development a way to do this, based on magnetic resonance imaging technology.
A joint research project between the University of Southampton and lithium battery technology company REAPsystems has found that a new type of battery has the potential to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of solar power. The study looked into the use of lithium batteries as an energy storage device in photovoltaic systems.
Since its discovery 15 years ago, lithium iron phosphate has become one of the most promising materials for rechargeable batteries because of its stability, durability, safety, and ability to deliver a lot of power at once. It has been the focus of major research projects around the world. But despite this widespread interest, the reasons for lithium iron phosphate’s unusual charging and discharging characteristics have remained unclear. Until now.
Imagine dropping your phone on the hard concrete sidewalk—but when you pick it up, you find its battery has already healed itself. A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Argonne National Laboratory are exploring ways to design batteries that heal themselves when damaged.
Liotech, a joint venture between RUSNANO and Chinese holding company Thunder Sky, has launched the world's largest high-capacity lithium-ion battery factory near Novosibirsk. Covering more than 40,000-m 2 , it has a design capacity of more than 1 GWh, or approximately one million batteries per year.
Since most of the world's governments have not yet enacted regulations to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, some experts have advocated the development of technologies to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air. But a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology study shows that, at least for the foreseeable future, such proposals are not realistic because their costs would vastly exceed those of blocking emissions right at the source, such as at the powerplants that burn fossil fuels.
Solving the mystery of prematurely dead cell phone and laptop batteries may prove to be a vital step toward creating a sustainable energy grid, according to Drexel researcher Yury Gogotsi. In a newly published piece, Gogotsi calls for a new, standardized gauge of performance measurement for energy storage devices that are as small as those used in cell phones to as large as those used in the national energy grid.
Resembling broken eggshells, graphene structures built around bubbles produced a lithium-air battery with the highest energy capacity to date, according to scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Princeton University.
Stanford University researchers have used nanoparticles of a copper compound to develop a high-power battery electrode that is inexpensive to make, efficient, and durable. It could be used to build batteries big enough for economical large-scale energy storage on the electrical grid.
University of Oregon chemists have developed a boron-nitrogen-based liquid-phase storage material for hydrogen that works safely at room temperature and is both air- and moisture-stable—an accomplishment that offers a possible route through current storage and transportation obstacles.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has signed option agreements with three companies that will lead to products designed to increase the storage capacity of batteries used to power portable devices and electric vehicles, reduce the cost of fuel cells used to generate electricity from hydrogen, and detect pests hidden behind walls in buildings.