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Energy Dense “Biobattery” Runs on Sugar

Written by , on March 18, 2014

A research team at Virginia Tech university, led by Professor Y.H. Percival Zhang, has developed a sugar-powered fuel cell that stores ten times as much energy as the equivalent-size lithium-ion battery. The new sugar-powered cell has an energy density an order of magnitude higher than previous “”biobatteries” – allowing it to run longer before needing to […]  Read more »

Storing Energy in Silicon Cells

Written by , on March 17, 2014

Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville have devised a way to store electricity on a silicon-based supercapacitor that potentially would let mobile phones recharge in seconds and continue to operate for weeks without recharging. Whereas batteries store energy in chemical reactions, supercapacitors store electricity by assembling ions on the surface of a porous material. As […]  Read more »

More Efficient, Self-cleaning Solar Cells

Written by , on March 17, 2014

Researchers from Changchun University of Science and Technology, Xi’an Technological University and Cardiff University have found that a patterned layer on top of the active part of a solar panel can avoid the energy losses due to reflection from the surface. They have devised an approach to the lithographic process used to “print” microelectronic circuits […]  Read more »

Mega Flow Batteries Promise Cheap Large-scale Storage

Written by , on March 14, 2014

Flow batteries generate an electrical charge from the interaction of a liquid electrolyte flowing past either another liquid or a solid. The liquid electrolyte is stored in separate tanks until it is needed. Large flow batteries have the potential to be relatively cheap because you only need to add an extra tank to increase their […]  Read more »

Solar Power at Night?

Written by , on March 11, 2014

Physicists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, led by Federico Capasso, a world-renowned expert in semiconductor physics, photonics and solid-state electronics, have proposed a device that would harvest energy from Earth's infrared emissions into outer space. The device would consist of a "hot" plate at the temperature of the Earth and air, […]  Read more »

Using Viruses to Make Better Batteries

Written by , on March 10, 2014

Lithium-air batteries hold the promise of drastically increasing power per battery weight. However, achieving this requires solving a number of challenges, including the need to develop better, more durable materials for the batteries' electrodes and improving the number of charging-discharging cycles the batteries can withstand. MIT researchers believe that a combination of genetic engineering and […]  Read more »

Recycling Carbon Dioxide Using Gold Nanoparticles

Written by , on March 10, 2014

By using gold nanoparticles of just the right size, researchers from Brown University in Rhode Island have developed a catalyst that selectively converts carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide which can be used to make alternative fuels and useful chemicals. The scientists already knew that cabon dioxide can be converted into carbon monoixde by the presence […]  Read more »

Lithium-Sulfur – The Next Generation of Batteries?

Written by , on March 7, 2014

The most widely accepted technology for batteries today is lithium-ion, which is practical for consumer electronics but not for anything much bigger. For large-scale energy storage from vehicles to solar panels, wind turbines or the electricity grid, lithium-ion is too expensive. Since their discovery in the 1960s, it has been believed that lithium-sulfur batteries, which […]  Read more »

Walking on Eggshells

Written by , on February 28, 2014

According to the US Department of Agriculture, approximately 412,769 tonnes of discarded eggshells must be transported and disposed of in the US alone every year. Now scientists at the University of Aveiro in Portugal have developed a method of using this eggshell waste in the production of ceramics. The process involves incorporating crushed eggshells into […]  Read more »

Cold-tolerant, Oil-Producing Sugarcane

Written by , on February 26, 2014

A team led by researchers at the University of Illinois is using recent advances in plant biotechnology to increase sugarcane's geographic range, boost its photosynthetic rate and turn it into an oil-producing crop for biodiesel production. The team introduced genes into the sugarcane that boost natural oil production in the plant's stems to about 1.5%.  […]  Read more »