Tuning electrode surfaces to optimize solar fuel production

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Scientists have demonstrated that modifying the topmost layer of atoms on the surface of electrodes can have a remarkable impact on the activity of solar water splitting. This photocurrent drives the chemical reactions that split water into oxygen and hydrogen. Choi and Galli, experimental and theoretical leaders in the field of solar fuels, respectively, have been collaborating for several years to design and optimize photoelectrodes for producing solar fuels.

Solar 170

New liquid alloy electrode significantly lowers operating temperature of sodium-beta batteries; improved performance

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Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have devised an alloying strategy that enables sodium-beta batteries to operate at significantly lower temperatures. The new electrode enables sodium-beta batteries to last longer, helps streamline their manufacturing process and reduces the risk of accidental fire. The traditional design of sodium-beta batteries consists of two electrodes separated by a solid membrane made of the ceramic material beta alumina.

2014 191

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Tesla batteries switched on at world’s largest solar farm in the Middle East


A Tesla battery system comprised of Powerpack units was successfully switched on at the 1GW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, one of the world’s biggest renewable energy projects. The Tesla Powerpacks were switched on by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).

Univ. of Texas researchers propose lithium- or sodium-water batteries as next generation of high-capacity battery technology; applicable for EVs and grid storage

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Example of a lithium-water rechargeable battery. Researchers at the University of Texas, including Dr. John Goodenough, are proposing a strategy for high-capacity next-generation alkali (lithium or sodium)-ion batteries using water-soluble redox couples as the cathode. The present sodium-sulfur battery operates above 300 °C. In theory, the decomposition potential of water is 4.27 A = lithium or sodium (Li or Na), M represents a metal and 1 ≤ n < z.

2011 191

Researchers develop all-weather solar cell that generates power from rain as well as from sun

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While many technical advances have made solar cells more efficient and affordable, a disadvantage remains in the fact that solar cells produce no power when it’s raining. Now, however, researchers from the Ocean University of China (Qingdao) and Yunnan Normal University (Kunming, China) have developed an all-weather solar cell that is triggered by both sunlight and raindrops by combining an electron-enriched graphene electrode with a dye-sensitized solar cell.

2016 183

Caltech engineers devise new thermochemical cycle for water splitting for H2; recyclable, non-toxic, non-corrosive and at lower temperatures

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The thermochemical production of hydrogen and oxygen from water via a series of chemical reactions is of interest because it directly converts thermal energy into stored chemical energy (hydrogen and oxygen), and thus can take advantage of excess heat given off by other processes. Research on thermochemical water splitting cycles largely began in the 1960s and 1970s and involved nuclear reactors and solar collectors as the energy sources, the team notes in their paper.

2012 185

Researchers Develop Lithium-Water Electrochemical Cell for the Controlled Generation of H2 and Electricity

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Schematic representation and operating principles of the lithium–water electrochemical cell used for hydrogen generation: (1) external circuit and (2) inside of lithium–water electrochemical cell. Scientists from the Energy Technology Research Institute, AIST in Tsukuba, Japan, have developed a lithium-water electrochemical cell for the controlled generation of hydrogen and electricity. sea water) by using sunlight.

2010 170

NSF to award $13M to projects focused on electrochemical and organic photovoltaic systems

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Advanced systems such as lithium-air, sodium-ion, as well as lithium-ion electrochemical energy storage are appropriate. Photocatalytic or photoelectrochemical processes for the splitting of water into H 2 gas, or for the reduction of CO 2 to liquid or gaseous fuels are appropriate. Batteries Fuel Cells Fuels Li-O2 Solar Solar fuelsThe US National Science Foundation (NSF) will award more than $13 million to projects in the Energy for Sustainability program.

2017 161

Rio Tinto commits $2.4B for Jadar lithium project; planning 58,000 tons/year lithium carbonate by 2029

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In addition, Jadar will produce borates, which are used in solar panels and wind turbines. For example, to date the company has finalized 12 environmental studies and more than 23,000 biological, physical and chemical analyses of air and water. Rio Tinto has committed $2.4

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DOE awards Cummins $5M for automation of electrolyzer cell and stack assembly

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Proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers use a solid polymer electrolyte, and alkaline electrolyzers use an electrolyte solution, such as potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide mixed with water. When any type of electrolyzer is powered by renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar or hydro, it produces “green” hydrogen.

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CalSEED awards $4.2M to early-stage clean energy innovations

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Cyclonatix, Inc is developing an industrial-sized motor/controller to operate with either DC or AC power sources, for applications in electric vehicles, solar-powered pumps, HVAC&R, gas compressors, and other commercial and industrial machines which require high efficiency, variable speed/torque, and low cost. Taka Solar Corporation is developing a solar panel that utilizes an advanced tube-based architecture to package perovskites.

2020 290

Stanford study quantifies energetic costs of grid-scale energy storage over time; current batteries the worst performers; the need to improve cycle life by 3-10x

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As the percentage of electricity supply from wind and solar increases, grid operators will need to employ strategies and technologies, including energy storage, to balance supply with demand given the intermittency of the renewable supply. What little capacity there is comes from pumped hydroelectric storage, which works by pumping water to a reservoir behind a dam when electricity demand is low. When demand is high, the water is released through turbines that generate electricity.

2013 251

New nanoparticle copper compound cathode could enable low-cost, long-life and high-power potassium-ion batteries for grid storage

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Short-term transients, including those related to wind and solar sources, present challenges to the electrical grid. To maximize the benefit of the open structure, the researchers needed to use ions that fit; hydrated potassium ions proved to be a much better fit compared with other hydrated ions such as sodium and lithium. The researchers chose to use a water-based electrolyte. Batteries Power Generation Smart Grid Solar WindA team at Stanford led by Prof.

2011 250

Researchers convert atmospheric CO2 to carbon nanofibers and nanotubes for use as anodes in Li-ion and Na-ion batteries

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Researchers from George Washington University and Vanderbilt University have demonstrated the conversion of atmospheric CO 2 into carbon nanofibers (CNFs) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) for use as high-performance anodes in both lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries. The conversion process builds upon the solar thermal electro-chemical process (STEP) introduced by GWU Professor Stuart Licht and his colleagues in 2009. times above that of sodium-ion batteries with graphite electrodes.

2016 190

ORNL advancing LDH sorbent to recover lithium from geothermal brine wastes

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However, lithium is sourced almost exclusively from other countries, either concentrated using a solar evaporation process from natural brine sources or recovered from ore. These plants pump hot water from geothermal deposits and use it to generate electricity. The LDH sorbent is made up of layers of the materials, separated by water molecules and hydroxide ions that create space, allowing lithium chloride to enter more readily than other ions such as sodium and potassium.

2020 255

Wuhan team develops new electrochemical cell for efficient, pollution-free extraction of lithium from salt lake brines

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Researchers at Wuhan University in China have developed a new electrochemical cell, PANI/Li x Mn 2 O 4 , for selective recovery of Li + ions from brine water with high impurity cations (K + , Na + , Mg 2+ , etc). free technology for Li + extraction from brine waters. Schematic illustration of the extraction of LiCl from brine water and the release of LiCl from the PANI/Li x Mn 2 O 4 cell.

2019 192

DOE awarding >$24M to 77 projects through Technology Commercialization Fund

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Low Cost Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing of Reusable Sorbents for Energy and Water Industries, $150,000 Qualification of SAS4A/SASSYS-1 for Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor Authorization and Licensing, $674,484 Advanced Reactor Concepts LLC, Chevy Chase, Md. Neutron Spectrum Generator, $75,000 Rapid Field Chemical Detection and Determination of Actinides, $42,500 Switchable Solvent Water Extraction for Material Processing and Isolation, $150,000 Trevi Systems Inc.,

2019 210

NSF to award $13M for fundamental engineering research on production of electricity and fuels

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Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Energy. Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to: nano-enabled PV devices containing nanostructured semiconductors, plasmonic materials, photonic structures, or conducting polymers; earth-abundant and environmentally benign materials for photovoltaic devices; photocatalytic or photoelectrochemical processes for the splitting of water into H 2 gas, or for the reduction of CO 2 to liquid or gaseous fuels.

2015 184

Horizon Unveiling Small Hydrogen Refueling and Storage System for the Home

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HydroFill plugs into an AC outlet (using an adapter), or to a 60W solar panel or small wind turbine. In 2006, Horizon introduced solar hydrogen powered toy cars. HydroPak offers 60W output (120W peak) using water-activated sodium borohydride cartridges supplied by Horizon. Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies will introduce a “personal hydrogen station”—HydroFill—at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

2010 170

NSF to award up to $13M for fundamental work on sustainable production of electricity and transportation fuels

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Photovoltaic Solar Energy. Solar photovoltaic (PV) devices harvest and convert sunlight directly to electricity. The generation of thermal energy by solar radiation is not an area supported by this program, but will be considered by the Thermal Transport Processes program within CBET (Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems). Advanced systems such as lithium-air, sodium-ion, as well as lithium-ion with new cathode chemistries are appropriate.

2013 204

PARC building cleantech portfolio; co-extrusion printing of novel battery electrodes and carbon-neutral renewable liquid fuels from atmospheric CO2

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Dr. Scott Elrod, VP and Director of PARC’s Hardware Systems Laboratory (HSL) research organization also directs the Cleantech Innovation Program at PARC, which develops solutions for delivering affordable solar energy, increasing solar cell efficiency, purifying water, managing energy utilization, and producing renewable fuels. The first application of this technique has been for silver gridlines on the front surface of solar cells.

2011 204

MIT and Moscow State collaborating on advanced batteries, metal-air batteries and reversible fuel/electrolysis cells

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Other work focuses on sodium as an earth-abundant alternative to lithium, but while it could lower cost, sodium ions also carry just a single charge. High-temperature solid-oxide fuel cells and solid-oxide electrolysis cells have potential over the intermediate term to double energy efficiency from fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as over the long-term to enable the shift to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

2015 214

Battelle introduces Grid Command Distribution services and software for rapid modeling of smart grid distribution circuits

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The new offering greatly shortens the time—from 4-5 days to less than a minute in some cases, according to Battelle—required to build extremely detailed planning models for the analysis of distribution circuits on a smart grid that encompass a plethora of devices, technologies and operating policies such as energy storage systems, line configurations, transformers, demand response tariffs, Volt-VAR optimization (VVO), plug-in vehicle charging, water heater loads, and so on.

Grid 218

DOE Awarding $620M for Smart Grid Demonstration and Energy Storage Projects

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Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Project includes the installation of synchrophasors to enhance monitoring of grid conditions as variable wind resources move through the system, and the use of integrated Smart Grid technologies, including household and community battery storage, smart meters and appliances, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and homes equipped with 1-3 kW solar photovoltaics. Demonstration of Sodium Ion Battery for Grid Level Applications.

2009 229

ARPA-E Awards $151M to 37 Projects for Transformative Energy Research

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Direct Solar Fuels (5 projects). Water (1 project). Eagle Picher, in partnership with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, will develop a new generation of high energy, low cost planar liquid sodium beta batteries for grid scale electrical power storage applications. DIRECT SOLAR FUELS. Cyanobacteria Designed for Solar-Powered Highly Efficient Production of Biofuels. Affordable Energy from Water and Sunlight. WATER.

2009 200

US DOE Issues Request for Information on Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Market Development; Reports to Congress on Program

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Hydrogen produced by water electrolysis has the potential to be a useful means of storing excess electricity generated using wind, solar, and other intermittent renewable energy. Completing installation and initial testing of a system that directly integrates wind-based electric-power generation and water electrolysis, reducing and simplifying power conditioning between the wind turbine and the electrolyzer and resulting in a significantly reduced hydrogen production cost.

2009 150