Round-up: nanotech provides battery power
We could go on and on like the Duracell bunny about advances in battery and super-capacitor technology but we’ve decided to go with the flow (of ions) and create today’s short round-up of recent news around the subject.
Nanotecture’s super-capacitor tech ready for market
University of Southampton super-capacitor spin-out Nanotecture says it is ready to commercialize its technology based on nanoporous materials. Nanotecture has developed an asymmetric hybrid super-capacitor able to deliver quick bursts of high power which could be used in hybrid electric vehicles, uninterruptable power supplies and energy recovery systems such as regenerative braking. While the first applications will be in energy storage others could follow in areas such as drug delivery.
Porosity linked to energy storage
The firm created in 2003 has been working on a process called liquid crystal templating originally developed by the university, to ensure that it can create ‘tailored’ materials with a specific number and density of pores. These include metal powders used to coat electrodes.
A surfactant is used to create a template on to which material such as metal salts are deposited. When the surfactant is removed a honeycomb of pores is left behind. High porosity leads to high energy storage capacity and a massively increased surface area: Nanotecture says its super-capacitors can store up to three times the specific energy of a conventional capacitor and discharge it three times as fast.
European partner trials nano powder
An unspecified ‘major European chemical company’ has been trialling the powder process and has shown that the process is both low cost and scalable.
MIT’s fast discharge battery has hybrid potential
Nature reports that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed materials for a high power lithium-based battery that discharges in just 10-20 seconds, roughly 100 times faster than a conventional rechargeable battery.
Finding ways to improve charge and discharge rates is the key to developing applications such as hybrid car batteries that need to be plugged into the supply for as short a time as possible.
Byoungwoo Kang and Gerbrand Ceder of MIT’s Computational and Experimental Design of Emerging Materials Research group say using lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) nanoparticles with a five nanometer-thick glassy coating that speeds up the delivery of ions gives their battery the discharge rate of a super-capacitor.
Power Paper wraps up GE battery deal
Israeli flexible battery firm Power Paper has signed a deal with GE Global Research to jointly develop self-powered organic light emitting diode (OLED) technology lighting devices. The idea is to create a first generation of products that enable thin, flexible strips of light to be used where no power source is available such as search and rescue missions, camping or in emergency lighting.
The firm has also collaborated with Estee Lauder among others and its investors include Infinity Group, Apax Partners, Amadeus Capital Partners and Bank of America Capital Partners.
Japan plans home battery project
Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry ministry is finding a project aimed at creating a rechargeable battery that lasts 20 years. The aim is popularize the strage and use of solar energy in the home by increasing battery capacities 20-fold within about a decade, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Cambridge finds source of phone fires
Researchers at Cambridge University have found out why lithium batteries in mobile phones and laptops sometimes catch fire: short circuits are caused by a build-up of lithium fibres on the batteries’ carbon anodes.
And we thought it was something we said.