Energy

New Solar Energy Storage Technique Could Boost Solar Cell Usage

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology have developed a relatively inexpensive and simple way to split water into hydrogen and oxygen through a new electrodeposition method. The method produces highly efficient solar cells that can gather solar energy for use as fuel. The research, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, could lead to a sizable increase in the amount of hydrogen available for fuel usage.

A working cell from Switzer’s research, with gas evolution. (Photo: Sam O’Keefe, Missouri S&T)

Posted in: Articles, News, Energy Storage, Solar Power
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Fuel Cell Carts Deliver Power to Airplane Galleys

Airplane galleys consume a huge amount of power. Additional power units may soon come to the rescue: housed inside trolley carts in the galleys, these units deliver both supplemental power and thus uncouple the power to the cabin and the kitchen from power supplied to the rest of the aircraft. In addition, the cart does not need new approval every time the airplane gets a retrofit or a facelift.

Housed in a trolley cart, the additional power supply for airplanes is easy to stow. (© 2014 Diehl Aerospace GmbH)

Posted in: News, Energy
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Molecules Could Harvest Sunshine for a Rainy Day

The Sun is a huge source of energy. In just one hour, planet Earth is hit by so much sunshine that humankind could cover its energy needs for an entire year if only we knew how to harvest and save it. A student at the University of Copenhagen has researched his way to a breakthrough that may prove pivotal for technologies trying to capture the energy of the Sun, and saving it for a rainy day.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Harvesting
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Electrical Power Converter Accepts Power from Renewable Energy

Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have invented a novel electrical power converter system that simultaneously accepts power from a variety of energy sources and converts it for use in the electrical grid system. The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking licensing opportunities for potential commercialization.

Posted in: News, Energy, Renewable Energy
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Fuel Breakthrough Supports Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles

Virginia Tech researchers have created hydrogen fuel using abundantly available corn stover – the stalks, cobs, and husks.

The development could support the arrival of inexpensive hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Unlike other hydrogen fuel production methods that rely on highly processed sugars, the Virginia Tech team used dirty biomass — the husks and stalks of corn plants — to create their fuel. The use of corn stover reduces initial costs and enables the use of a fuel source readily available near the processing plants.

The team used a genetic algorithm, along with a series of complex mathematical expressions, to analyze each step of the enzymatic process that breaks down corn stover into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The system uses both sugars glucose and xylose at the same time, which increases the rate at which the hydrogen is released.

Hydrogen is separated from aqueous reactants and enzymes. The enzymatic reactions within the Virginia Tech system generate high-purity hydrogen, perfect for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The initial model increased reaction rates by threefold, decreasing the required facility size to about the size of a gas station. The modest reaction conditions also indicate the feasibility of low-capital requirements for building distributed hydrogen generating and fueling stations based on the technology.

Source

Also: Learn about Hydrogen Measurement in a Cryogen Flow Stream.

Posted in: News, Biomass, Energy
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Self-Powered Intelligent Keyboard Could Provide Additional Security

By analyzing such parameters as the force applied by key presses and the time interval between them, a new self-powered, non-mechanical, intelligent keyboard could provide a stronger layer of security for computer users. The self-powered device generates electricity when a user’s fingertips contact the multi-layer plastic materials that make up the device.

Posted in: News, Board-Level Electronics, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Semiconductors & ICs
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Public Lighting System Runs on Solar and Wind Energy

A researcher at the Barcelona College of Industrial Engineering, in collaboration with the company Eolgreen, has developed the first autonomous industrialized public lighting system that works with solar and wind energy. This system, developed after four years of research, is designed for inter-urban roads, motorways, urban parks, and other public areas. It is unique in the world, and reduces the cost by 20% compared with conventional public lighting systems.

The prototype is 10 meters high and is fitted with a solar panel, a wind turbine, and a battery. The turbine runs at a speed of 10 to 200 rpm and has a maximum output of 400 watts. Work is being done on a second prototype generator that runs at a lower speed (10 to 60 rpm) and has a lower output (100 W). An electronic control system manages the flow of energy among the solar panel, the wind turbine, the battery, and the light.

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Posted in: News, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Wind Power, Lighting
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Zinc Oxide Materials Power Tiny Energy Harvesting Devices

Many types of smart devices are readily available and convenient to use. The goal now is to make wearable electronics that are flexible, sustainable, and powered by ambient renewable energy. This last goal inspired researchers to explore how the attractive physical features of zinc oxide (ZnO) materials could be used to tap into abundant mechanical energy sources to power micro devices.

They discovered that inserting aluminum nitride insulating layers into ZnO-based energy harvesting devices led to a significant improvement of the devices’ performance. The group’s findings are expected to provide an effective approach for realizing “nanogenerators” for self-powered electronic systems such as portable communication devices, healthcare monitoring devices, environmental monitoring devices, and implantable medical devices.

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Posted in: News, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Renewable Energy, Materials, Metals, Nanotechnology, Semiconductors & ICs
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Glass as Electrode Makes Batteries More Efficient

Today’s batteries provide a reliable power supply for our smartphones, electric cars and laptops, but are unable to keep up with the growing demands placed on them. Researchers have discovered a material that may have the potential to double battery capacity: vanadate-borate glass. The glass is being used as a cathode material, which is made of vanadium oxide (V2O5) and lithium-borate (LiBO2) precursors, and was coated with reduced graphite oxide (RGO) to enhance the electrode properties of the material.

The vanadate-borate glass powder was used for battery cathodes, which were placed in prototypes for coin cell batteries to undergo numerous charge/discharge cycles. In tests, the glass electrodes demonstrated a vast improvement in these batteries’ capacity and energy density.

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Posted in: News, Batteries, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Materials, Semiconductors & ICs
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Energy Harvesting Could Help Power Spacecraft of the Future

A consortium is working on a project to maximize energy harvesting on a spacecraft of the future. The initiative seeks to find energy-saving and -maximizing solutions to enable eco-friendly aircraft to stay in space for long periods of time without the need to return to Earth to re-fuel, or to avoid carrying vast amounts of heavy fuel on long-stay journeys.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting, Green Design & Manufacturing, Test & Measurement
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