Energy

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on energy, from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories.

Briefs : Energy
Combustion Gas Heat Exchanger
Combustion Gas Heat Exchanger

Two very challenging problems facing the U.S. and the world are energy security and global climate change, largely due to dependence on fossil fuels. Cost-effective technologies have been developed that are...

Combustion Gas Heat Exchanger
Briefs : Energy
Two-Dimensional Materials Improve Efficiency of Lithium-Air Batteries
Two-Dimensional Materials Improve Efficiency of Lithium-Air Batteries

Lithium-air batteries are poised to become the next replacement for currently used lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles, cell-phones, and computers....

Two-Dimensional Materials Improve Efficiency of Lithium-Air Batteries
Briefs : Energy
Hybrid Cathodes Could Boost Energy Capacity of Lithium Batteries
Hybrid Cathodes Could Boost Energy Capacity of Lithium Batteries

Today's lithium-ion batteries use cathodes (one of the two electrodes in a battery) made of a transition metal oxide. Batteries with cathodes made of sulfur are considered a...

Hybrid Cathodes Could Boost Energy Capacity of Lithium Batteries
Briefs : Energy
Wearable Liquid Unit Harvests Energy
Wearable Liquid Unit Harvests Energy

Researchers have created wearable technology to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. It presents a step toward the practical realization of self-powered, human-integrated technologies.

Wearable Liquid Unit Harvests Energy
Briefs : Energy
Process Directly Converts Methane to Methanol
Process Directly Converts Methane to Methanol

Methanol is a key feedstock for the production of chemicals, some of which are used to make products such as plastics, plywood, and paints. Methanol also can fuel vehicles or be reformed to...

Process Directly Converts Methane to Methanol
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Fuel Cell Technology Runs on Solid Carbon
Fuel Cell Technology Runs on Solid Carbon

Whereas hydrogen fuel cells (e.g., proton exchange membrane (PEM) and other fuel cells) generate electricity from the chemical reaction between pure hydrogen and oxygen, direct carbon fuel cells...

Fuel Cell Technology Runs on Solid Carbon
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Thin-Film System Converts Heat from Electronics into Energy
Thin-Film System Converts Heat from Electronics into Energy

Nearly 70 percent of the energy produced in the United States each year is wasted as heat. Much of that heat is less than 100 °C and emanates from things like computers, cars, or...

Thin-Film System Converts Heat from Electronics into Energy
Briefs : Software
Aircraft Engine Icing Event Avoidance and Mitigation
Aircraft Engine Icing Event Avoidance and Mitigation

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a new means of avoiding and mitigating icing events for aircraft flying above 14,000 feet, dramatically improving aviation...

Aircraft Engine Icing Event Avoidance and Mitigation
Briefs : Energy
Graphene Lid Extends Photoemission Electron Microscopy to Liquids
Graphene Lid Extends Photoemission Electron Microscopy to Liquids

By capping liquids with graphene (an ultrathin sheet of pure carbon), researchers can easily image and analyze liquid interfaces and the surface of nanometer-scale objects...

Graphene Lid Extends Photoemission Electron Microscopy to Liquids
Briefs : Materials
3D Printing of Flexible Circuits

A process was developed for 3D printing that can be used to produce transparent and mechanically flexible electronic circuits. The electronics consist of a mesh of silver nanowires that can be printed in suspension and embedded in various flexible and transparent plastics (polymers). This technology can enable...

Briefs : Energy
Multistep Self-Assembly for Reconfigurable Materials

Self-assembling synthetic materials come together when tiny, uniform building blocks interact and form a structure; however, nature lets materials like proteins of varying size and shape assemble, allowing for complex architectures that can handle multiple tasks.

Briefs : Aerospace
Automated Guided Wave System for In-Process Cure Monitoring of CFRP Composite Laminates
Automated Guided Wave System for In-Process Cure Monitoring of CFRP Composite Laminates

In the polymer composites industry, cure cycles are typically developed from trial-and-error or a more effective processing science approach to reduce...

Automated Guided Wave System for In-Process Cure Monitoring of CFRP Composite Laminates
Briefs : Energy
Integrated Silicon Photonic Switch Demonstrates Lowest Signal Loss Ever in High-Speed Data Transmission
Integrated Silicon Photonic Switch Demonstrates Lowest Signal Loss Ever in High-Speed Data Transmission

Experimental photonic switches developed at UC Berkeley have shown promise toward the goal of fully optical, high-capacity switching for...

Integrated Silicon Photonic Switch Demonstrates Lowest Signal Loss Ever in High-Speed Data Transmission
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion
Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion

Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion (ShAPE™) allows creation of wire, bar, and tubular extrusions that show significant improvement in material properties; for example, magnesium extrusions have...

Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion
Briefs : Energy
Supergel System Cleans Radioactively Contaminated Structures
Supergel System Cleans Radioactively Contaminated Structures

A system was developed that can remove radioactive cesium contamination from porous structures such as brick and concrete that are hard to clean, as well as contamination from...

Supergel System Cleans Radioactively Contaminated Structures
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Hybrid Transformer
Hybrid Transformer

Researchers have developed a hybrid transformer that has the benefit of a full planar transformer design but uses a wire-wound secondary winding to keep the parasitic winding capacitances lower. Alone, planar transformers...

Hybrid Transformer
Briefs : Wearables
Stretchable Power Source for Wearables
Stretchable Power Source for Wearables

Researchers have created highly stretchable supercapacitors for powering wearable electronics that consist of crumpled carbon nanotube (CNT) forests. The supercapacitors demonstrated solid performance...

Stretchable Power Source for Wearables
Briefs : Materials
Phase-Switching Liquids as Anti-Icing Materials
Phase-Switching Liquids as Anti-Icing Materials

Techniques to prevent frost and ice formation on surfaces rely heavily on heating or on liquid chemicals that need to be repeatedly reapplied because they easily wash away. Even advanced...

Phase-Switching Liquids as Anti-Icing Materials
Briefs : Automotive
Breakthrough Could Enable Infrared Cameras for Electronics, Self-Driving Cars
Breakthrough Could Enable Infrared Cameras for Electronics, Self-Driving Cars

There's an entire world our eyes miss, hidden in the ranges of light wavelengths that human eyes can't see. But infrared cameras can pick up this light emitted as...

Breakthrough Could Enable Infrared Cameras for Electronics, Self-Driving Cars
Briefs : Energy
Wood-Based Technology Creates Electricity from Heat

Researchers have transformed a piece of wood into a flexible membrane that generates energy from the same type of electric current (ions) on which the human body runs. This energy is generated using charged channel walls and other unique properties of the wood’s natural nanostructures. With...

Briefs : Energy
One-Pot Bioconversion of Distiller’s Grains to Advanced Biofuels
One-Pot Bioconversion of Distiller’s Grains to Advanced Biofuels

Increase in bioethanol production throughout the US has led to an increase in the process coproduct — distiller’s grains with solubles (DGS). DGS can be used to feed...

One-Pot Bioconversion of Distiller’s Grains to Advanced Biofuels
Sensor Technology : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Diagnose Lithium Batteries
Diagnose Lithium Batteries

Batteries with metallic lithium anodes offer enhanced efficiency compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries because of their higher capacity. However, safety concerns and a short lifespan stand in the way. To...

Diagnose Lithium Batteries
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Using Laser Metal Printing to Cool Computer Chips

Traditionally, electronics are cooled using a heat sink that transfers the heat generated by the electronic system into the air or a liquid coolant. For the heat sink to work, it has to be attached to the CPU or the graphics processor via a thermal interface material such as thermal paste. It...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Graphene Coating Takes Oxygen Out of Lithium Battery Fires
Graphene Coating Takes Oxygen Out of Lithium Battery Fires

Lithium batteries allow electric vehicles to travel several hundred miles on one charge. Their capacity for energy storage is well known — so is their tendency to occasionally...

Graphene Coating Takes Oxygen Out of Lithium Battery Fires
Briefs : Energy
Battery Electrolyte Doubles Driving Range for Electric Vehicles

Conventional electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries that power household electronics like computers and cellphones are not suitable for lithium-metal batteries. Lithium-metal batteries that replace a graphite electrode with a lithium electrode are the holy grail of energy...

Briefs : Power
Generating Electrical Power from Waste Heat
Generating Electrical Power from Waste Heat

Directly converting electrical power to heat is easy; however, converting heat into electrical power is not as easy. To address this issue, a tiny silicon-based device was developed that can...

Generating Electrical Power from Waste Heat
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Eliminating Corrosion Extends Life of Lightweight Batteries
Eliminating Corrosion Extends Life of Lightweight Batteries

Metal-air batteries are one of the lightest and most compact types of batteries but when not in use, they degrade quickly, as corrosion eats away at their metal electrodes. While...

Eliminating Corrosion Extends Life of Lightweight Batteries
Briefs : Materials
Self-Powered, Washable, Wearable Displays

Clothing usually is formed with textiles and has to be both wearable and washable for daily use; however, smart clothing has had a problem with its power sources and moisture permeability, which causes the devices to malfunction. To solve this problem, a textile-based, wearable display module technology...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Impact-Resistant Battery Electrolyte Solidifies When Hit
Impact-Resistant Battery Electrolyte Solidifies When Hit

Lithium-ion batteries commonly used in consumer electronics are notorious for bursting into flame when damaged or improperly packaged. Inspired by the unusual behavior of some liquids...

Impact-Resistant Battery Electrolyte Solidifies When Hit
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rotary Electrical Contact
Rotary Electrical Contact

Researchers have developed a fundamentally new type of rotary electrical contact that addresses the two limitations of conventional brush/slip ring technology: 1) short operating lifetime due to sliding-contact...

Rotary Electrical Contact