Analysis Probes Charge Transfer in Battery Electrodes
The electrochemical reactions inside the porous electrodes of batteries and fuel cells have been described by theorists, but never measured directly. Now, a team at MIT has figured out a way to measure the fundamental charge transfer rate — finding some significant surprises.
The study found that the Butler-Volmer (BV) equation, usually used to describe reaction rates in electrodes, is inaccurate, especially at higher voltage levels. Instead, a different approach, called Marcus-Hush-Chidsey charge-transfer theory, provides more realistic results — revealing that the limiting step of these reactions is not what had been thought.
The new findings could help engineers design better electrodes to improve batteries’ rates of charging and discharging, and provide a better understanding of other electrochemical processes, such as how to control corrosion.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/analysis-probes-charge-transfer-battery-electrodes
Fuel Cell Runs on Spit
Saliva-powered micro-sized microbial fuel cells can produce minute amounts of energy sufficient to run on-chip applications, according to an international team of engineers.
Bruce Logan, Evan Pugh Professor and Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering, Penn State, credits the idea to fellow researcher Justine Mink. “The idea was Justine’s because she was thinking about sensors for such things as glucose monitoring for diabetics and she wondered if a mini microbial fuel cell could be used,” Logan says. “There is a lot of organic stuff in saliva.”
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/fuel-cell-runs-spit
Wind Can Provide a Surplus of Reliable, Clean Energy
The worldwide demand for solar and wind power continues to skyrocket. Since 2009, global solar photovoltaic installations have increased about 40 percent a year on average, and the installed capacity of wind turbines has doubled.
The dramatic growth of the wind and solar industries has led utilities to begin testing large-scale technologies capable of storing surplus clean electricity and delivering it on demand when sunlight and wind are in short supply.
Now, a team of Stanford Univ. researchers has looked at the “energetic cost” of manufacturing batteries and other storage technologies for the electrical grid. At issue is whether renewable energy supplies, such as wind power and solar photovoltaics, produce enough energy to fuel both their own growth and the growth of the necessary energy storage industry.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/03/wind-can-provide-surplus-reliable-clean-energy
Study Aims to Reduce Threat from Satellite Batteries
Across a satellite’s working life, batteries keep the craft’s heart beating whenever it leaves sunlight. But after its mission ends, those same batteries may threaten catastrophe.
Space debris mitigation rules require the complete deactivation of electrical power sources aboard a satellite on retirement, in order to guard against explosive accidents that might produce fresh debris dangerous to other satellites.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/03/study-aims-reduce-threat-satellite-batteries
Sugar May Fuel Electronics
Researchers are charged up about biobatteries, devices able to harness common biological processes to generate electricity. Most biobatteries are unable to generate large amounts of power, but researchers recently developed a prototype version that has the potential to be lighter and more powerful than the batteries typically found in today’s portable electronic devices, including smartphones.
In the body, sugar is converted into energy in a process called metabolism, which decomposes sugar into carbon dioxide and water while releasing electrons. Biobatteries produce energy though the same conversion process by capturing the electrons that are generated in the decomposition of sugar with the same tools that the body uses. Because biobatteries use materials that are biologically based, they are renewable and non-toxic, making them an attractive alternative to traditional batteries that need metals and chemicals to operate.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/03/sugar-may-fuel-electronics
System Delivers Real-time View of Battery Electrochemistry
Using a new microscopy method, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory can image and measure electrochemical processes in batteries in real time and at nanoscale resolution.
Scientists at ORNL used a miniature electrochemical liquid cell that is placed in a transmission electron microscope to study an enigmatic phenomenon in lithium-ion batteries called the solid electrolyte interphase, or SEI, as described in a study published in Chemical Communications.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/02/system-delivers-real-time-view-battery-electrochemistry
Research Brings New Twist to Sodium Ion Batteries
A Kansas State Univ. engineer has made a breakthrough in rechargeable battery applications.
Gurpreet Singh, assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering, and his student researchers are the first to demonstrate that a composite paper — made of interleaved molybdenum disulfide and graphene nanosheets — can be both an active material to efficiently store sodium atoms and a flexible current collector. The newly developed composite paper can be used as a negative electrode in sodium-ion batteries.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/01/research-brings-new-twist-sodium-ion-batteries
Battery Promises Renewable Energy Breakthrough
A team of Harvard scientists and engineers has demonstrated a new type of battery that could fundamentally transform the way electricity is stored on the grid, making power from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar far more economical and reliable.
The novel battery technology is reported in a paper published in Nature on January 9. Under the OPEN 2012 program, the Harvard team received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) to develop the innovative grid-scale battery and plans to work with ARPA-E to catalyze further technological and market breakthroughs over the next several years.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/01/battery-promises-renewable-energy-breakthrough
Human beings don’t come with power sockets, but a growing numbers of us have medical implants that run off electricity. To keep our bionic body parts from powering down, a group of Arizona researchers is developing a safe, noninvasive and efficient means of wireless power transmission through body tissue. The team presents their findings at the 166th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, held Dec. 2–6.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/12/method-recharges-medical-device-batteries-ultrasound
Solar Battery Overcomes Wearable Electronics Hurdle
Though some people already seem inseparable from their smartphones, even more convenient, wearable, solar-powered electronics could be on the way soon, woven into clothing fibers or incorporated into watchbands. This novel battery development, which could usher in a new era of “wearable electronics,” is the topic of a paper in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
Taek-Soo Kim, Jung-Yong Lee, Jang Wook Choi and colleagues from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology explain that electronic textiles have the potential to integrate smartphone functions into clothes, eyeglasses, watches and materials worn on the skin. Possibilities range from the practical — for example, allowing athletes to monitor vital signs — to the aesthetic, such as lighting up patterns on clothing.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/11/solar-battery-overcomes-wearable-electronics-hurdle
Pressure Cooking Improves Car Batteries
Batteries that power electric cars have problems. They take a long time to charge. The charge doesn’t hold long enough to drive long distances. They don’t allow drivers to quickly accelerate. They are big and bulky.
Researchers at UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have redesigned the component materials of the battery in an environmentally friendly way to solve some of these problems. By creating nanoparticles with a controlled shape, they believe smaller, more powerful and energy efficient batteries can be built. By modifying the size and shape of battery components, they aim to reduce charge times as well.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/11/pressure-cooking-improves-car-batteries
Battery Electrode Heals Itself
Researchers have made the first battery electrode that heals itself, opening a new and potentially commercially viable path for making the next generation of lithium ion batteries for electric cars, cell phones and other devices. The secret is a stretchy polymer that coats the electrode, binds it together and spontaneously heals tiny cracks that develop during battery operation, says the team from Stanford Univ. and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/11/battery-electrode-heals-itself
System Could Harness Power to Explore Sea from Sea
Exploring the deep oceans presents huge technical challenges, many of which could be overcome if there were some cheap and efficient way to deliver power to machines while at depth. To tackle this problem, a collaborative research team including Ryuhei Nakamura from the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science has now demonstrated a remarkable system that uses natural hydrothermal vents on the sea floor to generate electricity.
Nakamura and colleagues at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the Univ. of Tokyo developed a robust robotic system that essentially works like a household battery. Hydrothermal fluid from deep-sea vents is enriched with reduced or electron-rich ions, while seawater contains oxidized or electron-depleted ions. By placing one electrode in the hydrothermal fluid and another in the seawater nearby, the system creates a chemical gradient that produces an electric current.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/10/system-could-harness-power-explore-sea-sea
Supercapacitor Stores Electricity on Silicon Chips
Solar cells that produce electricity day and night, not just when the sun is shining. Mobile phones with built-in power cells that recharge in seconds and work for weeks between charges.
These are just two of the possibilities raised by a novel supercapacitor design invented by material scientists at Vanderbilt Univ. that is described in a paper published in Scientific Reports. It is the first supercapacitor that is made out of silicon so it can be built into a silicon chip along with the microelectronic circuitry that it powers. In fact, it should be possible to construct these power cells out of the excess silicon that exists in the current generation of solar cells, sensors, mobile phones and a variety of other electromechanical devices, providing a considerable cost savings.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/10/supercapacitor-stores-electricity-silicon-chips