Open menu

Nanotechnology Spotlight

Behind the buzz and beyond the hype:
Our Nanowerk-exclusive feature articles

Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

RSS Subscribe to our Nanotechnology Spotlight feed

Showing Spotlights 1 - 8 of 122 in category Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Applications (newest first):

 

Defects in graphene enable selective permeability of gases

graphene_defectsDespite their potential, the practical use of Li-O2 batteries is seriously limited by the corrosion of Li metal by ambient water vapor from air. One way to circumvent this issue is to use an oxygen selective membrane that allows only oxygen into the battery while stopping or slowing water vapor intake. The membrane must be mechanically robust and yet sufficiently thin and light so as to not increase deadweight of the battery. Researchers now have discovered a way to make the thinnest possible oxygen selective membrane using graphene.

Posted: Apr 25th, 2017

Sodium-ion batteries become fully stretchable

battery_electrodeResearchers have demonstrated an all-stretchable-component sodium-ion full battery, designed and manufactured by integrating stretchable graphene-modified PDMS sponge current collector, sodium-ion conducting gel polymer separator, and elastic PDMS substrate. This first-of-its-kind battery design maintains better mechanical properties compared with most reported designs using one or more rigid components that fail to meet the stretchability requirement for the entire device.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2017

A self-healing rechargeable battery with ultralong cycling life

cathode_materialIn new work, scientists describe a lithium?sulfur battery prototype using commercially viable micron-sized sulfur as cathode materials but with unprecedented cycling life that has never been achieved before. This success in achieving exceptionally long battery life is ascribed to a concept of self-healing. By mimicking a biological self-healing process, fibrinolysis, the team introduced an extrinsic healing agent, polysulfide, to enable the stable operation of sulfur microparticle (SMiP) cathodes.

Posted: Apr 19th, 2017

A giant leap towards inexpensive and large-scale fabrication of triboelectric nanogenerators for sustainable energy

diodesNotwithstanding the progress in extracting renewable energy from many natural resources through nanotechnologies, some 60 research groups worldwide have now begun to develop triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) for harvesting energy from 'good (mechanical) vibrations' including human walking and ocean waves, which are otherwise wasted. Nanostructuring the materials in a TENG device amplifies the produced energy by increasing the contact area of the surfaces. Researchers have found a new way to scalably manufacture large area TENGs with a very high-throughput using off-the-shelf materials.

Posted: Apr 12th, 2017

Cell generator: Harvesting energy from cells for micro biomedical applications

cell_generatorRecently, great progress has been made in the development of bio-hybrid devices with enhanced biological, mechanical and electrical designs. Several muscular tissue based actuators have been described and devices with cultured heart cells have also been reported to produce electrical outputs. Now, researchers have demonstrated a novel bio-hybrid system, the 'Cell Generator'. The researchers integrated piezoelectric material with 3D-engineered living constructs for energy harvesting and electricity generation.

Posted: Mar 31st, 2017

Improving Li-ion batteries with nanostructured conductive polymer gels

gel_frameworkThe electrode in lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries is an integrated system in which both active materials and binder systems play critical roles in determining its final properties. In order to improve battery performance, a lot of research is focussing on the development of high-capacity active materials. However, without an efficient binder system, these novel materials can't fulfill their potentials. Researchers have now developed a new binder system with a nano-architecture promotes both electron and ion transport, which enhances the energy per unit mass and volume of the electrode.

Posted: Mar 28th, 2017

Emerging redox flow battery technology for grid-scale storage

redoc_flow_batteryFlow batteries are regarded as one of the most promising energy storage technologies for stationary large-scale storage because the power capability and the energy storage capability of these storage systems can be sized independently, which benefits load balancing, peak shaving, power conversion and stand-alone power system. As an emerging rechargeable battery technology, lithium redox flow batteries (Li-RFB) represent an important advance which is distinct from conventional solid-state rechargeable batteries. Researchers have now demonstrated an all-metallocene-based non-aqueous redox flow battery with stable cycling performance and comparable energy density with current related energy storage technologies.

Posted: Feb 27th, 2017

A nanotechnology approach to generating electricity from water evaporation

water_evaporationResearchers have shown that evaporation from the surface of a variety of nanostructured carbon materials can be used to generate electricity: the evaporation driven water flow in nanoporous carbon film converts ambient thermal energy into electricity via the water molecules' interaction with the carbon material. The team fabricated their device from a sheet of carbon black and two electrodes made from multi-walled carbon nanotubes. When inserted into deionized water, an open-circuit voltage between the two electrodes is generated.

Posted: Feb 21st, 2017