Energy generation - Page 3

Charged defects in graphene can increase its energy storage abilities

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego discovered a method to increase the amount of electric charge that can be stored in graphene, in a research that may provide a better understanding of how to improve the energy storage ability of capacitors for potential applications in cars, wind turbines, and solar power.

The team attempted to introduce more charge into a capacitor electrode using graphene as a model material for their tests. The idea is that increased charge leads to increased capacitance, which translates to increased energy storage.

Read the full story Posted: Apr 22,2015

A cheap and easy way to make "crumpled" graphene may benefit electronics and energy devices

Researchers at the University of Illinois designed a single-step method of creating textures in graphene ("crumpling") to allow for larger surface areas, thus tapping into graphene's benefits for electronics. The scientists believe that "crumpled" graphene may also be used as high surface area electrodes for batteries and supercapacitors. As a coating layer, the 3D graphene could allow omniphobic/anti-bacterial surfaces for advanced coating applications.

The "crumpling" process is based on a known shape-memory polymer substrate (a material capable of returning to its original shape after being distorted, mostly by thermal means). The thermoplastic nature of the substrate also allows for the crumpled graphene morphology to be arbitrarily re-flattened at the same elevated temperature for the crumpling process. 

Read the full story Posted: Apr 22,2015

The DOE to transfer millions to back graphene-based hydrogen storage projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a grant of around $4.6 million for four projects to develop advanced hydrogen storage materials that hold the potential to enable longer driving ranges and help make innovative fuel cell systems. Among these four projects are two that involve graphene: graphene-based storage materials and hydrogen sorbents based on high surface area graphene.
The Ames Laboratory of Ames, Iowa, will receive up to $1.2 million to investigate the development of high-capacity silicon-based borohydride/graphene composite hydrogen storage materials. This project ims to develop reversible, high-capacity hydrogen storage materials with sorption kinetics.

Read the full story Posted: Apr 10,2015

Stanford scientists make graphene-aluminum battery that charges quickly and lasts over 7,000 cycles

Researchers at Stanford University developed a new battery technology based on graphene and aluminum. The stanford team claims that their aluminum battery has a number of advantages over lithium: it's flexible, can be charged in a minute instead of hours and is very durable. it's also cheaper and non-reactive (meaning compromising it will not result in sparks like lithium batteries).

The scientists used graphene foam (made by creating a metal foam, then catalyzing graphene formation on its surface) as cathode material and aluminum foil as the anode. The electrolyte the researchers used was a solution of aluminum trichloride dissolved in an organic solvent that also contained chlorine. While this granted better performance (7,500 cycles, much more than the 1,000 expected from a Li-ion battery), the voltage provided by an aluminum-ion battery is only about half of that what you'd get from a lithium-ion cell. Also, the overall power density (the amount of power you can store in a battery in relation to its size) is still insufficient.

Read the full story Posted: Apr 08,2015

Korean scientists develop a process for making graphene composites with even distribution without solvent

Researchers at The Institute of Advanced Composite Materials at Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and The Seoul National University announced that they have successfully developed a manufacturing process for high molecular composite material with even distribution of graphene without using solvent.

Researchers developed this composite material after applying heat to a mixture of cyclic butylene terephthalate (CBT) with graphene particles. With statistical calculations using a cross sectional image of graphene, the researchers evaluated the distribution of graphene with average inter-particle distance and standard deviation.

Read the full story Posted: Mar 30,2015

Imperfect graphene discovered to benefit fuel cells

A collaboration of scientists from several institutions, including Northwestern, EFRC and more, discovered that graphene that is slightly imperfect can shuttle protons from one side of a graphene membrane to the other in seconds. The selectivity and speed of the imperfect version are compared to conventional membranes, opening the door to new and simpler model of fuel cell designs.


This, of course, goes against conventional efforts to create perfect graphene as it turns out that protons move better through imperfect graphene. The defects in the graphene trigger a chemical "conveyor belt" that shuttles protons from one side of the membrane to the other in a few seconds. In conventional membranes, which can be hundreds of nanometers thick, the desired proton selection takes minutes, compared to the quick transfer in a one-atom-thick layer of graphene.

Read the full story Posted: Mar 18,2015

Sunvault to develop graphene-based supercapacitors for PV cells

Canadian Sunvault Energy has formed the Supervault Energy JV to develop UCLA-patented graphene supercapacitor technology. It announced its plans to soon enter a joint venture which "change the face of renewable energy generation and storage".

The company states that graphene will enable devices that recharge in seconds and that supercapacitors could be scaled up from portable devices, such as smartphones, to charging stations for electric vehicles. The company says that the technology can be scaled up to utility-sized applications and that it intends to incorporate the technology in its solar cells to produce a device capable of generating, transferring and storing energy in one unit.

Read the full story Posted: Mar 16,2015

Will unzipped carbon nanotubes replace platinum in fuel cells?

A study conducted at Rice University shows that graphene nanoribbons, formed into a 3D aerogel and enhanced with boron and nitrogen, perform extremely well as catalysts for fuel cells and may even pose an alternative to platinum.

The scientists chemically unzipped carbon nanotubes into ribbons and then turned them into porous metal-free aerogels with various levels of boron and nitrogen, to test their electrochemical properties. It was found that the new material provides a wealth of active sites along the exposed edges for oxygen reduction reactions necessary for fuel cells performance.

Read the full story Posted: Mar 10,2015

graphene-based catalyst outperforms iron-based one

Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University have made a step towards making low-cost catalysts commercially available, which could, in turn, reduce the cost to generate clean energy from PEM fuel cells--the most common cell being tested and used in cars and stationary power plants.

The researchers examined a non-metal catalyst to perform in acid because the standard bearer among fuel cells, the PEM (proton exchange membrane/polymer electrolyte membrane) cell uses an acidic electrolyte. The catalyst is based on a porous structure, with sheets of nitrogen-doped graphene mixed with carbon nanotubes and carbon black particles in a solution, freeze-dried into composite sheets and hardened.

Read the full story Posted: Mar 09,2015

A ten year roadmap for graphene and related materials

A science and technology roadmap for graphene, related two-dimensional crystals, other 2d materials, and hybrid systems was put together in a joint effort by over 60 academics and industrialists. The roadmap covers the next 10 years and beyond, and its objective is to guide the research community and industry toward the development of products based on graphene and related materials.

The roadmap highlights three broad areas of activity. The first task is to identify new layered materials, assess their potential, and develop reliable, reproducible and safe means of producing them on an industrial scale. Identification of new device concepts enabled by 2d materials is also required, along with the development of component technologies. The ultimate goal is to integrate components and structures based on 2d materials into systems capable of providing new functionalities and application areas.

Read the full story Posted: Feb 26,2015