Image: Antalexion

Image: Antalexion

With climate change being a continually rising global dilemma, many scientist have turned their attention to research in the area of renewable energy sources. Even with some of the most brilliant minds working on improving efficiency and price of solar cells, they are still not widely used due to the high cost of materials used to develop the them. Now, a scientist may be on the path to cracking the code on material prices of solar cells by using nanotechnology.

Elijah Thimsen, assistant professor at the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, worked in conjunction with a team of engineers at the University of Minnesota to develop a technique to increase the performance of electrical conductivity.

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Development in Lithium-Ion Batteries

You can thank “dendrites” when your smartphone battery goes from a solid 40 percent charge to completely dead in a matter of 20 minutes. Thankfully, researchers out of Purdue University are researching these dendrites – otherwise known as the slayer of lithium-ion batteries – and developing something that could greatly improve the li-ion.

Dendrites work to destroy lithium-ion batteries by forming an anode electrode and growing until they affect battery performance – potentially resulting in complete battery failure.

The new study out of Purdue University explores this issue with the intention of creating a safer and longer-lasting lithium-ion battery that could be charged within minutes instead of hours.

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The Arizona Section of ECS will be hosting a meeting with special guest speaker Professor Robert F. Savinell.

The Arizona Section of ECS will be hosting a meeting with special guest speaker Professor Robert F. Savinell.

Date: January 26, 2014

Time: Networking and refreshments at 6:15 PM; Seminar begins at 7:00 PM

Place: University of Arizona
Tuscon, AZ 85721
Agave Room, 4th Floor of Student Union Building

Cost: Free to attend; $5 for light refreshments

Speaker: Professor Robert F. Savinell
George S. Dively Professor of Electrochemical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University
Professor Savinell is recognized as a leading authority on electrochemical energy storage and conversion. His research has been directed at fundamental science and engineering research for electrochemical systems and novel device design, development, and optimization. Dr. Savinell has over 100 publications and seven patents in the electrochemical field. He is a past chair of ECS’s Electrolytic and Electrochemical Engineering Division, a former editor of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, and a Fellow of ECS.

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Flexible, Three-Dimensional Supercapacitors

The flexible material created at Rice University has the potential for use in electronics or for energy storage.Image: Tour Group/Rice University

The flexible material created at Rice University has the potential for use in electronics or for energy storage.
Image: Tour Group/Rice University

James Tour and his group at Rice University have developed and tested a flexible, three-dimensional supercapacitor with the potential to be scaled up for commercial applications.

In this study, the researchers advanced what they had already developed in laser-induced graphene (LIG) by producing and testing the stacked, three-dimensional supercapacitors.

Their prior findings showed that firing a laser at an inexpensive polymer burned off other elements and left a film of porous graphene, which has the potential to be the perfect electrode for supercapacitors or electronic circuits.

The researchers began by making vertically aligned supercapacitors with laser-induced graphene on both sides of a polymer sheet.

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Member Spotlight – Ryohei Mori

The aluminum-air battery has the potential to serve as a short-term power source for electric vehicles.Image: Journal of The Electrochemical Society

The aluminum-air battery has the potential to serve as a short-term power source for electric vehicles.
Image: Journal of The Electrochemical Society

A new long-life aluminum-air battery is set to resolve challenges in rechargeable energy storage technology, thanks to ECS member Ryohei Mori.

Mori’s development has yielded a new type of aluminum-air battery, which is rechargeable by refilling with either salt or fresh water.

The research is detailed in an open access article in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, where Mori explains how he modified the structure of the previous aluminum-air battery to ensure a longer battery life.

Theoretically, metal-air technology can have very high energy densities, which makes it a promising candidate for next-generation batteries that could enable such things as long-range battery-electric vehicles.

However, the long-standing barrier of anode corrosion and byproduct accumulation have halted these batteries from achieving their full potential. Dr. Mori’s recently published paper, “Addition of Ceramic Barriers to Aluminum-Air batteries to Suppress By-product Formation on Electrodes,” details how to combat this issue.

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A New Generation of Electric Car Battery

Scientists out of the University of Waterloo are one step closer to inventing a cheaper, lighter and more powerful rechargeable battery for electric vehicles. At the heart of this discovery lies a breakthrough in lithium-sulfur batteries due to an ultra-thin nanomaterial.

This from the University of Waterloo:

Their discovery of a material that maintains a rechargeable sulfur cathode helps to overcome a primary hurdle to building a lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery. Such a battery can theoretically power an electric car three times further than current lithium-ion batteries for the same weight – at much lower cost.

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New Smartphone Battery Charges in Seconds

The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is coming to a close, but not before showcasing a huge breakthrough in battery technology.

The Israeli start-up company StoreDot showed off their new product at CES: a smartphone battery that can charge in just seconds.

StoreDot’s battery charges 100 times faster than the present lithium-ion batteries and can last about five hours on a two minute charge.

However, the battery cannot be retrofitted to existing devices because most phones would be fried by the 40 amps of electricity. Instead, StoreDot’s battery is completely new – containing special synthesized organic molecules.

“We have reactions in the battery that are non-traditional reactions that allow us to charge very fast, moving ions from an anode to a cathode at a speed that was not possible before we had these materials,” Doron Myersdorf, the company’s chief executive, told BBC.

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Making Poop Potable

The OmniProcessor is the ultimate example of that old expression: one man's trash is another man's treasure.Image: YouTube/Gates Notes

The OmniProcessor is the ultimate example of that old expression: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Image: YouTube/Gates Notes

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working to turn poop into drinking water with this ingenious new machine.

As part of their effort to improve sanitation in poor countries, the Gates Foundation has helped give flight to an OmniProcessor that burns human waste to produce water and electricity.

How does it work? Check out the video to see the process.

But here’s the big question – why do we need to turn waste into drinking water and electricity?

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Toyota is looking to propel the future of the fuel cell vehicle with the recent announcement that they will be granting royalty-free use to thousands of their patents.

“I’m happy and extremely proud to announce to you today that Toyota will grant royalty-free use of all 5,680 of our fuel cell patents, including pending patents,” said Senior Vice President of Toyota’s Automotive Operations, Bob Carter, on January 5 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The patents are to be used by companies manufacturing and selling fuel cell vehicles. Carter stated that these patents – which are critical to the development and production of fuel cells vehicles – will be available through 2020.

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First Hybrid-Electric Airplane (Video)

hybrid-electric-airplane

An aircraft with a parallel hybrid engine – the first ever to be able to recharge its batteries in flight – has been successfully tested in the UK, an important early step towards cleaner, low-carbon air travel.
Credit: University of Cambridge

The United Kingdom is taking an important step towards cleaner, low-carbon air travel with the first successfully tested airplane with a parallel hybrid-electric engine. The novel aircraft is the first of its kind due to the ability to recharge its batteries while in flight.

This development comes out of the University of Cambridge in conjunction with Boeing, where they have worked to successfully develop a parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system for an aircraft that will use up to 30 percent less fuel than a comparable plane with a petrol-only engine.

To create the plane, the researches used the same basic principals as in a hybrid car. The aircraft uses a 4-stroke piston engine and an electric motor/generator. When maximum power is required – i.e. during takeoff – the engine and electric motor work together to power the plane. Once cruise height is reached, the motor switches to generator mode to recharge its batteries.

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