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Flexible supercapacitor process brings phones that charge in seconds a step closer. Researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) have devised a technique for creating flexible supercapacitors that not only store more energy than comparable devices, but can also be fully-charged in seconds and continue to be recharged more than 30,000 times without affecting performance or capacity. "If they were to replace batteries with these supercapacitors, you could charge your mobile phone in a few seconds and you wouldn't need to charge it again for more than a week," said postdoctoral associate Nitin Choudhary. Working in the NanoScience Technology Center at UCF (and building on previous work in supercapcitor nanowire technology), the researchers realized their breakthrough by experimenting with the application of newly-discovered 2D materials known as transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) only a few atoms thick to coat 1D nanowires.

However, like many nascent technologies, the UCF flexible supercapacitor has not yet been developed sufficiently for release to market. "Water-in-salt" battery bodes well for greener, safer grid storage. Scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Army Research Laboratory have used high concentrations of salt in water to create safe, green batteries that could find use in anything from large-scale grid storage to spaceships and pacemakers. Many of today's batteries are designed so that, on first charge, their energy-carrying electrolytes will break down near the negative pole and form a so-called "solid-electrolyte interphase" (SEI) layer that is electrically insulating, but still lets ions through.

The SEI allows the battery to operate at higher voltages and self-discharge more slowly. It is so important that commercial lithium-ion batteries include one, even though this means using a flammable electrolyte in a battery that can (in rare cases) quickly overheat. The safer alternative of a water-based electrolyte has been set aside for commercial applications because it was so far believed that no SEI could form in such a medium. Source: University of Maryland. World's first "aqueous solar flow battery" outperforms traditional lithium-iodine batteries. The scientists that revealed the "world's first solar battery" last year are now, following some modifications, reporting its first significant performance milestone. The device essentially fits a battery and solar cell into the one package, and has now been tested against traditional lithium-iodine batteries, over which the researchers are claiming energy savings of 20 percent.

It was last October that researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) first detailed their patent-pending design for a dye-sensitized solar cell also capable of storing its own power. With three electrodes rather than the typical four, it featured a lithium plate base, two layers of electrode separated by a thin sheet of porous carbon, and a titanium gauze mesh that played host to a dye-sensitive titanium dioxide photoelectrode. As it no longer requires air to function, the battery can now be topped with a solid solar panel forming a single solid sheet. New energy cell can store up solar energy for release at night. A photoelectrochemical cell (PEC) is a special type of solar cell that gathers the Sun's energy and transforms it into either electricity or chemical energy used to split water and produce hydrogen for use in fuel cells.

In an advance that could help this clean energy source play a stronger role within the smart grid, researchers at the University of Texas, Arlington have found a way to store the electricity generated by a PEC cell for extended periods of time and allow electricity to be delivered around the clock. Currently, the electricity generated by a PEC cell could not be stored effectively, as the electrons would quickly "disappear" into a lower-energy state.

This meant that these cells were not a viable solution for a clean-energy grid, as the electricity had to be used very shortly after being produced. That is, on sunny days, at a time when standard PV panels would already be producing energy at full tilt. The system also includes a vanadium redox-flow battery (VRB). Velkess Flywheel Offers Improved Energy Storage. Velkess Flywheel Offers Improved Energy Storage (8)Apr-20-13 By re-inventing the flywheel, inventor Bill Gray hopes to create a new option in energy storage and promote clean energy alternatives. Flywheel technology as energy storage has been around for more than a century, but the Velkess system brings it into the future. The patent pending Very Large Kinetic Energy Storage System is made of E-glass and operates in a vacuum, where it flexes in response to different forces and reduces the amount of stored power lost due to friction.

E-glass is able to store up to 20 times more energy per dollar and gains stability as it rotates, and the energy in the rotor can be safely held even during natural disasters or power outages. The Velkess has recently reached its funding goal on Kickstarter. More Info: Hollow Spheres Store Excess Offshore Turbine Power. Hollow Spheres Store Excess Offshore Turbine Power (6)May-01-13 A new offshore wind turbine concept uses huge concrete spheres to store energy for use during times of no wind. The spheres, which would weigh thousands of tons each, would serve as anchors for the turbines while also providing the means of storing excess power. Whenever the turbines generate more power than is needed, the extra energy would be sent to power a pump that would pump seawater from the huge, hollow sphere. When the wind dies down and power is needed, the water would be let to flow back into the sphere, turning a turbine attached to a generator along the way. The system would be connected to the grid, allowing the spheres to store energy from other sources such as shore-based solar arrays or base-load power plants.

More Info: Everlasting Solar Battery. Everlasting Solar Battery (5)Jul-26-13 A new solar battery able to recharge itself even in low light could be the next step in the creation of the world’s first everlasting solar battery. The prototype, created by researchers from Sol Chip, was developed by combining solar and microchip technology. The current version is able to output 8.4 volts of power, and company is developing ways to adapt the design to power devices used in agriculture, security and weather testing, with the first target being the milking industry.

Sol Chip claims to be the first company to combine solar cells with microchips, and is currently look for funding to conduct additional testing. More Info: Add Comment Comments Love to hear about what's new. I will like to know more about this technology and company and product in detail. Dear Bob, thank you for your post and for showing an interest in our product and activity..please send us your contact info via and we'll keep you up to date. Flexible Glass Improves Green Energy Storage. Flexible Glass Improves Green Energy Storage (3)Jul-31-13 A flexible, clear glass able to store renewable energy at high temperatures could help increase interest in alternative energy options and electric cars. Most modern capacitors are designed to operate at lower temperatures, which requires the addition of a bulky, heavy cooling system. In contrast, the new glass is able to function at temperatures up to, and beyond, 180 degrees Celsius. Created by a team from Penn State, the glass is one-tenth the thickness of display glass currently on the market, and, at only 10 microns thick, can be produced in thin sheets by an inexpensive roll-to-roll process.

The energy density of the glass was increased 2.5 times by a coating of high temperature polymers, which also improved its abilities to seal-heal, and it can be used in any high energy density capacitor application. More Info: Storing Solar Energy in Steam Engines. Storing Solar Energy in Steam Engines (12)Nov-10-13 Steam engine technology could provide an inexpensive option for solar power storage, bringing the cost of storing the energy down to a fraction of that of current battery storage solutions. The system consists of an array of parabolic receivers that harness solar energy to makes steam that drives the engine. While the sun is out, high pressure steam is produced to power the high pressure stage of the steam engine. The exhaust steam, which contains more than half of its original energy, is captured by condensing it into an insulated tank of water, where the water is heated and pressurized. When more energy is needed, such as at night or during peak times, the water in the tank is flashed back to steam to drive the low pressure stage of the steam engine.

The combined output of the high and low engine stages would provide power 24 hours a day. More Info: Storing Energy in Underwater Bags. Storing Energy in Underwater Bags (6)Jul-16-14 By storing energy in underwater bags, Hyrostar hopes to provide way to even out the electricity production of offshore wind farms. The bags, called "flexible accumulators," would be anchored under the water at a depth of 80 meters, where the weight of the water would pressurize the air within the bag and allow more energy to be stored by volume. When the stored energy is needed, the pressure from the water would push air to the surface and through an expander, where it would power a generator and supply energy to the grid. The Hydrostar team has focused on using existing components as much as possible, which provide a known life-span and are also more familiar to technicians.

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