Category Archives: Batteries and efficient energy storage

New technology help you charge your phone battery in under a minute

StoreDot, a company based out of Tel Aviv, Israel has developed a battery technology that can charge your phone’s battery in under one minute. You can see a video demonstrating this here:

The nanotechnology powering this system was actually discovered through Alzheimer’s research. A particular protein that shortens neurons (causing Alzheimer’s) also showed particularly high capacitance, demonstrating a property called “charge trapping”.

We think this could have massive positive impact on making electric cars more practical, removing the main drawback of batteries over gasoline (charging time).

StoreDot discribes themselves thus:

StoreDot is a company with a ground-breaking technology, based on its discovery of new generation, self-assembled Nanodots of biological origin. Representing elementary biological building blocks, these multifunctional Nanodots are at the core of several patented innovations by StoreDot, and constitute the future nanotechnology and advanced nano-photonic devices, including smartphones, TV’s, energy storage devices and more.

These nano- crystals are uniform in size, 2 nanometers in diameter, and consist of bioorganic peptide molecules. They possess multi-functional intrinsic properties such as: unique fluorescence within the visible region; electrochemical, charge trapping, piezoelectric, nonlinear optical and others.

StoreDot’s novel approach of applying visible fluorescing Nanodots introduces a dramatic improvement in essential components of environmentally-friendly flexible displays. Due to their electrochemical attributes Nanodots are being used for preparing of new generation-batteries and supercapacitors. Bioorganic Nanodots have the potential to enhance current technologies of smartphones and TV displays, batteries, bio-LEDs, and bio-lasers. Furthermore, their biocompatibility presents a unique opportunity to apply them in nanomedicinal technology, drug delivery, food security labeling and more.

Learn more about them at StoreDot.com.

Batteries made of Sugar that are 10x more powerful than Lithium Batteries!

Seems too good to be true – batteries that are made of a renewable resource (sugar), are 100% biodegradable, provide 10x the power of Li batteries, and can be swapped, not recharged! But that’s the news today out of Virginia Tech. You can see the full release from Virginia Tech here.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 22, 2014 – A Virginia Tech research team has developed a battery that runs on sugar and has an unmatched energy density, a development that could replace conventional batteries with ones that are cheaper, refillable, and biodegradable.

The findings from Y.H. Percival Zhang, an associate professor of  biological systems engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering, were published yesterday in the journal Nature Communications.

While other sugar batteries have been developed, Zhang said his has an energy density an order of magnitude higher than others, allowing it to run longer before needing to be refueled.

In as soon as three years, Zhang’s new battery could be running some of the cell phones, tablets, video games, and the myriad other electronic gadgets that require power in our energy-hungry world, Zhang said.

“Sugar is a perfect energy storage compound in nature,” Zhang said. “So it’s only logical that we try to harness this natural power in an environmentally friendly way to produce a battery.”

In America alone, billions of toxic batteries are thrown away every year, posing a threat to both the environment and human health, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Zhang’s development could help keep hundreds of thousands of tons of batteries from ending up in landfills.

This is one of Zhang’s many successes in the last year that utilize a series of enzymes mixed together in combinations not found in nature. He has published articles on creating edible starch from non-food plants and developed a new way to extract hydrogen in an economical and environmentally friendly way that can be used to power vehicles.

In this newest development, Zhang and his colleagues constructed a non-natural synthetic enzymatic pathway that strips all charge potentials from the sugar to generate electricity in an enzymatic fuel cell. Then, low-cost biocatalyst enzymes are used as catalysts instead of costly platinum, which is typically used in conventional batteries.

Like all fuel cells, the sugar battery combines fuel — in this case, maltodextrin, a polysaccharide made from partial hydrolysis of starch — with air to generate electricity and water as the main byproducts.

“We are releasing all electron charges stored in the sugar solution slowly step-by-step by using an enzyme cascade,” Zhang said.

Different from hydrogen fuel cells and direct methanol fuel cells, the fuel sugar solution is neither explosive nor flammable and has a higher energy storage density. The enzymes and fuels used to build the device are biodegradable.

The battery is also refillable and sugar can be added to it much like filling a printer cartridge with ink.

Support for the current research comes from the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech and Cell-Free Bioinnovations, a biotech start-up, located in Blacksburg, Va. Additional funding was contributed by the National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research grant to Cell-Free Bioinnovations Inc. Zhiguang Zhu, the first author of this paper, and a 2013 biological systems engineering graduate of Virginia Tech, is the principal investigator for the National Science Foundation grant.

 

 

Ecos-Powercube gives you anytime solar power – anywhere in the world

For organizations that need to install an office quickly, virtually anywhere in the world where the sun shines, the unique Ecos- Powercube can be up and running in no time without needing a generator.

powercube-intro

The solar panels fold out, and the cube has batteries that are charged during the day that provide power all night long, if needed.

Perfect for a remote research station, exploration office, and of course, military purposes.

See more information from Ecosphere Technologies.

Liquid Metal Batteries – the missing renewable link?

Donald R. Sadoway, an MIT Professor, spent 6 years looking into how to radically change the cost equation for batteries, knowing that without wide-scale battery deployment sustainable power sources such as solar and wind will not reach their potential. Instead of trying to improve current battery technology, he changed the equation by looking for batteries that can literally be made from dirt.

He and a small team at MIT created a “liquid metal” battery, made from Magnesium and Antimony, that can be deployed at scale and is cost competitive with carbon fuels. They have since formed a company Liquid Metal Battery Corporation.

For more, see the LMBC website. Or listen to Dr Sadoway’s talk at the TED conference. It’s quite impressive

Increasing battery efficiency through nanoparticle suspensions

Solar and Wind power, and electric cars, require major advances in storage technology.  A Cambridge, MA based company named 24M, is working on concentrated nanoparticle suspensions of common lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery cathode materials to create an energy-dense liquid that can slowly flow over a membrane like the separators used in conventional Li-ion batteries. A similar suspension of an anode material like graphite or lithium titanate (LTO) flows over the membrane on the other side.

This process will significantly increase the storage capacity of batteries and, in a paper released recently by company founder Yet-Ming Chiang, may approach the cost storage parameter required for the next level Electric Cars and Smart Grids.

“The authors project that the suspensions will contribute some $40/kWh to $80/kWh to the cost of the battery, potentially meaning that system-level costs could hit the widely cited targets of $250/kWh for electric vehicle batteries or $100/kWh for stationary (grid storage) batteries”  From Smart Grid News

The company is shrouded in secrecy, so there’s  not much additional information available, but we will keep an eye on announcements as they are made!