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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 »

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 »

Turning Cement into Metal Semi-conductors

Written by , on May 29, 2013

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, working with colleagues in Japan, Finland and Germany, have found a way to turn cement into a metal semiconductor that could potentially be used to make computer chips, thin film electronics and protective coatings. The team of scientists melted mayenite, a component of alumina cement, at […]  Read more »

New Nanotechnology to Clean Polluted Water

Written by , on May 9, 2013

Scientists from Australia's Deakin University, together with French colleagues, say that they have manufactured a lightweight and reusable material that can absorb up to 33 times its weight in a wide range of spilt oils, chemical solvents and dyes, while repelling water. Deakin University's Dr Wei Wei Lei said that "The effective removal of oils, organic […]  Read more »

Nanocellulose – 2. Recyclable Solar Cells

Written by , on April 22, 2013

Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University researchers have developed efficient solar cells on cellulose nanocrystal substrates. The cellulose substrates and made from plants and can be easily recycled at the end of their life. To date, organic solar cells have usually been fabricated on glass or plastic. Neither of these is easy to recycle […]  Read more »

Nanocellulose – 1. Engineering Algae to Make a “Wonder Material”

Written by , on April 22, 2013

At the American Chemical Society Conference, Dr Malcolm J Brown Jr, a leading researcher on nanocellulose since the 1970s, has reported major advances in producing nanocellulose from blue-green algae. The great strength and light weight of nanocellulose have fostered interest in using it in everything from lightweight armour and ballistic glass to wound dressings and […]  Read more »

Cooling by Sending Heat into Space

Written by , on April 21, 2013

Researchers, led by Professor Shanhui Fan, at Stanford University are developing rooftop panels that cool buildings by sending heat into space. The panel’s materials are engineered to emit thermal radiation in a very specific wavelength that is not absorbed by the atmosphere and, so, passes through it into space. The researchers estimate that, in theory, […]  Read more »

Microbatteries Offer Both Power and Energy

Written by , on April 18, 2013

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed new microbatteries which out-power even the best supercapacitors and could drive new applications in radio communications and compact electronics. Currently capacitors are used for applications that need a lot of power because they can release energy very quickly – however, can only store a small […]  Read more »

New Material Captures CO2 & Releases in Sunlight

Written by , on February 13, 2013

Scientists at Australia's Monash University and CSIRO have created a powerful and cost-effective new tool to capture, store and potentially recycle, carbon dioxide using a novel class of materials called photosensitive metal organic frameworks. Metal organic frameworks are clusters of metal atoms connected by organic molecules. Due to their extremely high internal surface area, they […]  Read more »

New Material for More Efficient, Ultra-thin Solar Cells

Written by , on February 13, 2013

Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have discovered that a class of materials, called oxide heterostructures, can be used to create a new kind of extremely efficient ultra-thin solar cell. Professor Karsten Held from the Institute for Solid State Physics at Vienna University of Technology explained that "Single atomic layers of different oxides are […]  Read more »