Venkataraman Thangadurai, University of Calgary chemistry professor and associate head.

University of Calgary Chemistry Professor Venkataraman Thangadurai’s background in solid-state batteries, solid oxide fuel cells, proton conducting SOFCs, and gas sensors have made him a source for information over the years. Because of this, the longtime ECS and battery division member has been invited to present several presentations this spring.

International Battery Event

This March,  Thangadurai will speak at the International Battery Seminar & Exhibit taking place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The annual event showcases state of the art energy storage technology developments for consumer, automotive, military, and industrial applications, as well as offer attendees insights from guest speakers sharing their thoughts on significant material advancements, product development, manufacturing, and application of battery systems and enabling technologies.

ECS Biannual Meetings

Similar to the International Battery Seminar & Exhibit, ECS hosts biannual meetings on a broader scale, including a diverse number of topics in the electrochemical, solid state science, and technology field, of which Thangadurai has been a recurring speaker of.

In 2018, he attended AiMES as an invited guest speaker presenting his work, “Chemical and Electrochemical Stability of Fast Lithium Ion Conducting Garnet-Type Metal Oxides in H2o, Aqueous Solution, CO2, Li and S,” available in ECS Meeting Abstracts.

(more…)

Cheap, Renewable Hydrogen is Coming

Hydrogen gas: it’s storable, can refuel a car in minutes (versus batteries which can take hours to recharge), and its waste product is water. It is the holy grail of clean-energy advocates.

The only problem is that the electrolyzers that make hydrogen from renewable energy are quite expensive. But, that soon may change, according to Ars Technica.

According to a new paper in Nature Energy, researchers from universities in Germany and at Stanford University have created a financial model for a wind farm connected to a hydrogen electrolyzer. (more…)

Chuanfang (John) Zhang, Valeria Nicolosi, and Sang-Hoon Park. Credit: Naoise Culhane

Have you ever wished you could increase your cellphone battery life? Well, that technology may very well already be here.

Researchers from AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering, at Trinity College Dublin, have announced the development of a new material which offers the potential to improve battery life in everyday electronics, like smartphones, according to Irish Tech News.

The discovery could mean that the average phone battery life, roughly 10 hours of talk time, could increase to 30-40 hours.

MXenes, an ink-based nanomaterial, not only significantly improves battery life, but it also offers its batteries the flexibility to become smaller in size, without losing performance. (more…)

A researcher at Georgia Tech holds a perovskite-based solar cell. Credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech

Perovskite-based solar cells are all around great. They offer energy efficiencies similar to those of traditional silicon-based cells, are lightweight, simple and cheap to produce, and offer physical flexibility that could unlock a wide new range of installation methods and places, according to Georgia Teach Research Horizons.

The only problem: figuring out how to produce perovskite-based energy devices that last longer than a couple of months.

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, University of California San Diego, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology may be closer to solving that problem. (more…)

Kang Xu on Fluorinating Interphases

Kang Xu, lead author.

“What is the most ideal [solid-electrolyte interphase] SEI or interphase that would enable the next generation of the battery chemistries?”

It was a question that had been lingering in the minds of Kang Xu, fellow of US Army Research Laboratory and team leader; Chunsheng Wang, University of Maryland chemical and biomolecular engineering department professor, as well as one of the most cited researchers of 2018; and Ying Shirley Meng, University of California, San Diego nanoengineering professor, fellow of The Electrochemical Society, and associate director of the International Battery Association.

Together, the trio set out to pursue this question, resulting in the publication of their paper “Perspective—Fluorinating Interphases.” (more…)

Lead engineers, Xiaobo Yin and Ronggui Yang.
Image credit: Glenn Asakawa/CU-Boulder

According to Forbes, engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder have created a new material that works like an air conditioning system for structures—cooling rooftops with zero energy consumption.

The material, about the same thickness as aluminum foil, is rolled across the surface of a rooftop, reflecting incoming solar energy back into space while simultaneously purging its own heat. Adding to its appeal, the material is adaptable and cost-effective for use in large-scale residential and commercial applications, as it can be manufactured on rolls. (more…)

It’s winter. And with that comes heavy coats, icy winds, and occasionally, below freezing temperatures: conditions not favorable for batteries.

Car batteries

Temperature extremes, in general, are not favorable to batteries. According to Lifewire, lead-acid batteries drop in capacity by about 20 percent in normal to freezing weather, and down to about 50 percent in temperatures that reach about -22 degrees Fahrenheit.

As a result, you may find your car battery giving out on any given winter morning. This is due to reduced capacity and increased draw from starter motors and accessories. This is because starter motors require a tremendous amount of amperage to get going: knocking out the capacity of even the newest batteries. (more…)

When it comes to growing crops, it’s a balancing act. You need just the right amount of sun, water, and soil composition to keep plants happy and blooming.

Researchers have recently discovered that light sensors might be able to help with that. According to New Food, the sensors work by actively measuring the various wavelengths of light coming off of crop leaves. These measurements are then used to calculate how much nitrogen crops need for optimal health. (more…)

Let’s face it. Anyone can benefit from a boost in their cell phone’s battery life, with the use of social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the daily connectedness of email, texting, FaceTime, and selfies, it’s a surprise if our cell phone batteries last a day—which most often they don’t. Cut to, Apple’s newly released smart battery case that extends the life of their latest iPhones: the XS and XR. (more…)

Magnesium Batteries: New Discovery

University of Houston researchers Yan Yao, left, Hui Dong and Yanliang Leonard Liang. Photo Credit: University of Houston

A new version of high-energy magnesium batteries has been discovered by researchers from the University of Houston and the Toyota Research Institute of America, according to Phys.org. The battery operates with limited electrolytes while using an organic electrode, allowing it to store and discharge much more energy than earlier magnesium batteries.

Yan Yao, an ECS member, UH Student Chapter faculty advisor, and an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UH, said the researchers identified chloride—in the commonly used electrolyte—as a contributor to magnesium batteries’ sluggish performance.

Yao, a principal investigator with the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, used the chloride-free electrolyte to test organic quinone polymer cathodes with a magnesium metal anode; the battery remaining stable through 2,500 cycles.

Magnesium batteries are particularly exciting as magnesium itself offers far more natural advantages over lithium. (more…)

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