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Ten Times Faster: the new Battery that puts Lithium-ion to shame



Russian scientists have created new batteries with a charging speed that beats lithium-ion batteries tenfold.

The team based at St. Petersburg State University has been working with polymers containing redox-active nitroxyl that store electrochemical energy.

The polymers have fast redox kinetics that is responsible for their remarkable energy density and high charging speed.

But to implement the new technology, researchers will have to find a way around one major weakness: the polymer’s electrical conductivity I s inadequate and this hampers its charge collection capability.

The scientists found a way to work around this hurdle by making a polymer that would play the role of a molecular wire for nitroxyl pendants which are energy-intensive to attach themselves to the nitroxyl pendants.

The polymer is based on a nickel-salen complex with a molecular structure that gives it the elevated capacitance that works across a range of temperatures.

“We came up with the concept of this material in 2016,” narrated Oleg Levin, a researcher. “When studying the charge transport mechanism in this class of compounds, we discovered that there are two key directions of development.

“Firstly, these compounds can be used as a protective layer to cover the main conductor cable of the battery, which would be otherwise made of traditional lithium-ion battery materials. Secondly, they can be used as an active component of electrochemical energy storage materials.”

The scientists worked for three years to come up with the new polymer. They created many polymers along the way but finally, they had one that was stable enough and works efficiently.

“A battery manufactured using our polymer will charge in seconds; about ten times faster than a traditional lithium-ion battery,” Levin went on.

“This has already been demonstrated through a series of experiments. However, at this stage, it is still lagging in terms of capacity: 30 to 40 percent lower than in lithium-ion batteries. We are currently working to improve this indicator while maintaining the charge-discharge rate

“The new battery is capable of operating at low temperatures and will be an excellent option where fast charging is crucial. It is safe to use: there is nothing that may pose a combustion hazard, unlike the cobalt-based batteries that are widespread today.

“It also contains significantly fewer metals that can cause environmental harm. Nickel is present in our polymer in a small amount, but there is much less of it than in lithium-ion batteries.”

Only last year, an Israeli battery manufacturer announced that they had created a superfast battery charging solution that would take a mere five minutes to charge a commercial drone.


UK Steps Up with New Initiatives to Enhance Smart Energy Technology




The UK government has recently unveiled a series of new measures designed to significantly advance the smart energy technology landscape across the nation. These initiatives are set to transform how homes and businesses utilize smart meters, flexible energy tariffs, and Internet of Things (IoT) enabled services, marking a pivotal shift towards more efficient and eco-friendly energy consumption.

At the heart of this strategy is an enhanced support system for in-home displays that are connected to smart meters. Recognizing the challenges that consumers face with faulty displays after the warranty period, the government has introduced a scheme allowing customers to repair or replace their devices. This move, supported by major energy suppliers covering 60% of the market, aims to empower more households to monitor and manage their energy usage effectively.

Furthermore, the UK is revisiting the structure of default energy deals to introduce more dynamic pricing models. The objective is to mirror lower prices during periods of abundant cheap, low-carbon electricity, thereby encouraging the adoption of smart technologies and meters.

A significant highlight of the announcement is the allocation of a £10 million fund dedicated to enabling companies to pilot innovative tariffs and IoT-enabled technologies. This includes personalized pricing schemes and smart chargers for electric vehicles, designed to leverage lower electricity prices during off-peak hours. Such initiatives are expected to pave the way for a smarter, more flexible energy system, optimized for efficiency and sustainability.

Energy Minister Amanda Solloway emphasized the convenience these measures will bring to British households, stating, “Over half of British homes already have the potential to access cheap off-peak power through a smart meter but we can all fall victim to not having time to shop around for a good energy rate.”

The response from the industry has been overwhelmingly positive, with Energy UK praising the government’s package for its potential to grant households greater control over their energy bills and promote flexible energy usage. This sentiment is echoed by Daniel Portis, Deputy Director at Energy UK, who highlighted the role of energy suppliers in innovating and investing in new products and services that offer customers more control over their energy costs.

These measures build upon the UK’s ongoing efforts to integrate smart meters and grids into its long-term clean energy strategy. With over half of British homes already equipped with smart meters, the government’s latest initiatives underscore its commitment to leveraging IoT-driven innovation to meet its energy sector goals.

As the UK continues to navigate the path towards a more sustainable and efficient energy future, these new measures represent a significant step forward. By fostering innovation and embracing smart technology, the UK is setting a precedent for how governments worldwide can tackle the challenges of modern energy consumption.

For more insights into the future of smart energy technology and IoT applications, events like the IoT Tech Expo offer comprehensive platforms for learning and collaboration among industry leaders.

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Revolutionizing Renewable Energy: Fourth Power’s Thermal Battery Technology




The Dawn of a New Era in Clean Energy Storage

In a groundbreaking development for renewable energy, Fourth Power, a pioneering clean energy company, has secured a significant investment, marking a pivotal moment in the quest for sustainable power solutions. With $19 million in Series A funding, Fourth Power is set to revolutionize the way we store and utilize renewable energy, addressing one of the most pressing challenges in the sector: the intermittent nature of sources like wind and solar power.

A Glimpse into Fourth Power’s Innovative Approach

At the heart of Fourth Power’s innovation is its thermal battery technology, a concept that seems almost science-fictional in its approach. Utilizing renewable energy, this technology heats carbon blocks to extreme temperatures, akin to the sun’s radiance. This heat, stored efficiently, can be converted back into electricity when needed, offering a novel solution to energy storage and grid reliability.

Breaking Records and Setting New Standards

The technology isn’t just theoretical; it has already made waves in the scientific community. A system developed by Professor Asegun Henry achieved a Guinness World Record for the highest temperature pumping of liquid metal, reaching a staggering 2,192 degrees Fahrenheit (1,200 degrees Celsius). This achievement isn’t just a scientific feat; it’s a testament to the potential of thermal battery technology in transforming our energy landscape.

Scaling Up for a Sustainable Future

The recent funding will enable Fourth Power to construct a 1 megawatt-hour prototype facility near Boston. This expansion is not just about scaling up; it’s a strategic move towards conducting extensive durability tests and enhancing the engineering team to meet the growing demand for clean energy solutions.

The Edge Over Traditional Storage Solutions

What sets Fourth Power’s technology apart is its ability to provide more control over energy usage compared to other storage methods. The flexibility to add more carbon blocks for extended storage duration is a game-changer, offering a scalable solution to energy storage challenges.

A Vision for Climate Change Mitigation

Arvin Ganesan, CEO of Fourth Power, emphasizes the company’s commitment to tackling climate change by making renewable energy a reliable resource for the grid at all times. This vision aligns with the growing global consensus on the need for zero-carbon energy solutions, as echoed by Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

The Urgent Need for Clean Energy Storage

The shift away from fossil fuels is imperative to combat climate change. However, the inconsistency of renewable energy sources like wind and solar has been a significant hurdle. Battery storage emerges as a critical component in this transition, ensuring a steady and reliable energy supply regardless of weather conditions.

Exploring Alternatives to Lithium-ion

While lithium-ion batteries have been the frontrunners in energy storage, concerns over their disposal, fire hazards, cost, and sourcing challenges have prompted the exploration of alternatives. Sodium-ion batteries, for instance, offer a more cost-effective solution. Additionally, advancements in single-crystal high-nickel cathodes by companies like LG are enhancing battery capacity and lifespan.

The Future of Electric Vehicles

The evolution of battery technology is also making strides in the automotive industry. Solid-state batteries are on the brink of being integrated into electric vehicles, promising to extend travel range on a single charge significantly.

Conclusion: A Game-Changer in Renewable Energy

The development of Fourth Power’s thermal battery technology represents a significant leap forward in our quest for sustainable energy solutions. As we move towards a future where renewable energy is not just the most cost-effective but also the most reliable power source, innovations like these are not just desirable; they are essential. The new facility by Fourth Power could very well be the catalyst that propels us into a cleaner, more sustainable future.

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Testing and Optimizing Low-Power Designs




Most electronic devices are rated on their efficiency in power consumption. Everyone wants to use less energy so that they can save money and the environment.

Consumers desire reduced power consumption whether they are working with power from a grid, coin sized batteries, battery packs, and even energy harvesting.

With the growing popularity of the Internet of Things, low power design is becoming more of a priority. Battery-powered gadgets are dependent on technologies like Bluetooth, NB-IoT, Sigfox, LoRaWAN, which are low power.

IoT devices need their batteries to last at least a decade longer than other batteries. To achieve this low consumption of power demands a lot more than low-power systems and parts.

The genesis of low power innovation is a low power system concept that specifies the best technology to achieve low-power communications as well as their components and the use of these features.

Processing platforms as well as communications chips tend to have a range of power modes: from deep sleep, standby, sleep, standby, and active. They provide unique energy-saving properties hinged on the communications trait needed.

The focus of this white paper is the design challenge posed by the need to unite all the features and parts needed to achieve the most efficient application of hardware.

Both the software and hardware design are necessary, but power consumption is also impacted by RF components and antenna design.

To read the whitepaper in full, download it here.

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