Notwithstanding 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.
Recently, 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.
The 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.
Flow 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.
Researchers 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.
Researchers have demonstrated that nanoengineered SnO anodes suppress volume change and prolong sodium ion battery cycle life. Sodium ion batteries are promising alternative to lithium ion batteries, particularly for home based and grid level storage solutions. Tin monoxide has been demonstrated to have excellent physical and chemical properties and has a large theoretical capacity as battery anode, for instance for sodium ion batteries. Unfortunately, though, it also exhibits large volume change during the sodiation and lithiation process, which makes it unsuitable as a high-performing anode material.
Researchers have successfully demonstrated a facile but effective regulation strategy to render uniform Li deposits by incorporating fluoroethylene carbonate additives. This addresses an issue where safety and uniform deposits of Li ion are critical issues for promoting the practical application of metallic Li as anode for post Li-ion batteries, including rechargeable Li-S, Li-air batteries, and even Li metal batteries which utilize intercalation compounds as cathodes.
The oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is the core process - but also the bottleneck - for the cathode reaction of energy-conversion devices like certain types of fuel cells and metal-air batteries. Nanocarbon materials are very promising alternatives for the noble metal catalysts, especially platinum, that have been used to boost this reaction. New work comprehensively reviews and correlates activity origins of nanocarbon-based ORR electrocatalysts, considering the dopants, edges, and defects. Specific doping at defective edges is expected to render practical applications for metal-free nanocarbon electrocatalysts.