Connect with us

Solar Energy

Increasing battery and fuel cell power with quantum computing

Published

on

Increasing battery and fuel cell power with quantum computing

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is conducting research into new materials for more powerful batteries and fuel cells. DLR scientists are now using a quantum computer to simulate electrochemical processes within energy storage systems. This makes it possible to design the materials used in such a way that the performance and energy density of batteries and fuel cells increase significantly.

The special thing about QuESt (Quantencomputer Materialdesign fur elektrochemische Energiespeicher und -wandler mit innovativen Simulationstechniken; Quantum computer material design for electrochemical energy storage systems and converters with innovative simulation technology) is that it uses quantum computers for a highly application-oriented task in materials research. QuESt thus combines both fundamental and applied research in the field of energy storage.

Quantum chemistry determines power and energy density

Above all else, electromobility requires small, lightweight energy storage systems with high capacities and performance. The material and structure of the electrodes are key factors, as they affect the energy density and the voltage. With optimised materials, it is also possible to prevent decomposition processes and thus prolong the service life of batteries and fuel cells.

When electricity flows through a battery or fuel cell, ions within it travel from one electrode to the other. Ions gain or lose an electron at the surfaces of the electrodes. “The processes can be described with precision with the help of quantum physics. The electrons essentially change their quantum mechanical state. We can simulate these energy states using a quantum computer. This allows us to calculate how much energy is in the electrochemical reactions and how fast these are occurring,” says Birger Horstmann, Head of the Theory of Electrochemical Systems Group at the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics.

In these simulations, the DLR scientists compare the quantum chemical interactions that occur with various novel materials and electrode structures. They are aiming to achieve the highest possible chemical bonding energies for electrons in batteries. In fuel cells, hydrogen and oxygen should react with each other as efficiently as possible.

Targeted material design of battery electrodes with quantum computers

The QuESt project is seeing the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, Institute of Quantum Technologies and Institute for Software Technology, together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials (Fraunhofer-Institut fur Werkstoffmechanik; IWM), breaking new ground in terms of materials design for energy storage systems.

With the help of a quantum computer, the researchers study how atoms and molecules interact with the different electrode materials in batteries and fuel cells. “Quantum simulations have the potential to revolutionise computer-aided materials design. We want to use them to optimise the chemical compositions of the electrodes and their microscopic structure,” says Horstmann.

“A quantum computer enables us to study the quantum-chemical processes occurring at the electrodes of batteries and fuel cells with the utmost precision. We are conducting research to find out the best way of programming our quantum computer for that purpose,” says Sabine Wolk of the DLR Institute of Quantum Technologies.

The QuESt project is using the Fraunhofer Society’s IBM quantum computer, which is funded by the German Federal State of Baden-Wurttemberg. This uses very small, superconductive coils, referred to as Josephson junctions, as qubits.

Quantum simulation of energy storage systems has applications in other fields

The quantum algorithms devised over the course of the QuESt project also serve as a starting point for future quantum software. The underlying algorithms and steps towards solutions could be carried across to other problems in quantum physics. Findings arising from the simulation of energy storage devices as quantum many-body systems are also set to be applied to other areas of research, such as medicine and the chemical industry.

The Baden-Wurttemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing is funding the QuESt project, which was launched in January 2021, with 1.5 million euro over two years. In addition to the DLR institutes and Fraunhofer IWM, the companies Robert Bosch GmbH and Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America Inc. are also involved in the project as associated partners.

QuESt combines interdisciplinary expertise in quantum technology and battery and fuel cell research at the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) and the University of Ulm. The HIU was founded in 2011 by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), with the University of Ulm, DLR and the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (Zentrum fur Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Wurttemberg; ZSW) as associated partners.

Source link

Continue Reading
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Hyundai to Replace Battery Systems in 82,000 Electric Cars Globally

  2. Pingback: Virtually unlimited solar cell experiments | godsownmedia

Leave a Reply

Solar Energy

Soft, Stretchable Jelly Batteries Inspired by Electric Eels

Published

on

By

Soft, Stretchable Jelly Batteries Inspired by Electric Eels


Soft, Stretchable Jelly Batteries Inspired by Electric Eels

by Sophie Jenkins

London, UK (SPX) Jul 18, 2024






Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed innovative, stretchable “jelly batteries” with potential applications in wearable devices, soft robotics, and even brain implants for drug delivery and epilepsy treatment.

Inspired by electric eels, which use modified muscle cells known as electrocytes to generate electric shocks, the Cambridge team created these batteries with a similar layered structure. This design enables them to deliver an electric current effectively.



The new jelly batteries can stretch over ten times their original length without losing conductivity, marking the first successful combination of such high stretchability and conductivity in a single material. The findings have been published in the journal Science Advances.



These batteries are made from hydrogels, which are 3D polymer networks containing more than 60% water. The polymers are interconnected by reversible interactions that control the material’s mechanical properties.



Stephen O’Neill, the first author from Cambridge’s Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry, highlighted the challenge in creating a material that is both stretchable and conductive. “It’s difficult to design a material that is both highly stretchable and highly conductive, since those two properties are normally at odds with one another,” he said. “Typically, conductivity decreases when a material is stretched.”



Co-author Dr Jade McCune from the Department of Chemistry explained, “Normally, hydrogels are made of polymers that have a neutral charge, but if we charge them, they can become conductive. And by changing the salt component of each gel, we can make them sticky and squish them together in multiple layers, so we can build up a larger energy potential.”



Unlike conventional electronics, which rely on rigid materials and electron charge carriers, these jelly batteries use ions to carry the charge, similar to electric eels.



The hydrogels’ strong adhesion is due to reversible bonds formed between layers using barrel-shaped molecules called cucurbiturils, which act like molecular handcuffs. This strong adhesion ensures that the jelly batteries can stretch without the layers separating and without losing conductivity.



Professor Oren Scherman, Director of the Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthesis, who led the research with Professor George Malliaras from the Department of Engineering, emphasized the biomedical potential of these hydrogels. “We can customise the mechanical properties of the hydrogels so they match human tissue,” he said. “Since they contain no rigid components such as metal, a hydrogel implant would be much less likely to be rejected by the body or cause the build-up of scar tissue.”



In addition to their flexibility, the hydrogels are tough and can withstand squashing without permanent deformation. They also possess self-healing properties.



Future research will focus on testing these hydrogels in living organisms to evaluate their medical application potential.



Research Report:Highly Stretchable Dynamic Hydrogels for Soft Multilayer Electronics


Related Links

University of Cambridge

Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com





Source link

Continue Reading

Solar Energy

Astrobotic’s VOLT rover passes key Lunar surface tests

Published

on

By

Astrobotic’s VOLT rover passes key Lunar surface tests


Astrobotic’s VOLT rover passes key Lunar surface tests

by Clarence Oxford

Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jul 17, 2024







Astrobotic has advanced its efforts to create a lunar power grid by beginning a summer-long test campaign for its VSAT Optimized for Lunar Traverse (VOLT). The VOLT rover, designed to traverse the Moon’s surface, features a vertical solar array to harness solar energy for charging various lunar assets such as habitats, rovers, and scientific instruments, particularly at the lunar south pole.

The VOLT engineering model’s mobile base underwent rigorous testing at NASA’s Glenn Research Center’s Simulated Lunar Operations Laboratory (SLOPE) in Cleveland. These tests assessed the rover’s stability, gimbal functionality, and sun tracking on a simulated lunar regolith slope. Although designed for 15-degree inclines, the rover exceeded expectations by maintaining stability on a 20-degree slope without slippage.



The gimbal of VOLT kept a level position within a 3-degree tolerance, proving it can support the 60-foot vertical solar array scheduled for integration later this year. NASA Glenn’s motion capture cameras confirmed the rover’s stability on a regolith surface, ensuring its capability to navigate the expected terrain of the lunar south pole.



“To supply continuous power at the poles of the Moon, we need to take advantage of existing peaks of persistent light: locations with near constant sunlight throughout the year. Since most of these locations are at crater rims with high slope angles, we designed VOLT to deploy on extreme slopes. These tests proved that our system can operate successfully, with plenty of margin for more extreme locations,” said Robert Rolley, Astrobotic’s Principal Investigator for VOLT.



Before the test campaign, Astrobotic’s team developed, prototyped, and assembled the VOLT’s mobile base, a rover with a chassis the size of a minivan. The assembly, including electronics and the gimbal system, was completed within 12 weeks. The gimbal is crucial for orienting the solar array to capture sunlight, leveling it on uneven terrain, and maintaining stability while autonomously tracking the Sun in 360 degrees. The VOLT can be delivered to the Moon on Astrobotic’s Griffin lunar lander and operate independently without needing a tow.



VOLT is an integral part of Astrobotic’s LunaGrid system, designed to deliver power on the Moon. LunaGrid is a network of tethered VOLTs that generate and distribute power via wired connections and wireless chargers onboard tethered CubeRovers, acting as mobile power plugs. This system aims to support lunar systems during the day and ensure their survival through the lunar night.



“It’s imperative that we solve the power-generation challenge on the Moon for sustainable long-term operations,” said John Landreneau, Senior Project Manager at Astrobotic. “VOLT’s ability to precisely drive and operate in the most desirable areas for solar capture and distribution sets this technology apart. With strategic partnerships and novel tech developed in-house by our team, VOLT and the LunaGrid system are making great progress to bring reliable power to lunar surface systems like landers, rovers, habitats, and science suites.”



The complete VOLT engineering model will be unveiled in late October at the Keystone Space Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Astrobotic aims to deploy and demonstrate LunaGrid elements on the Moon’s surface by mid-2026, with the first operational LunaGrid expected by 2028 at the lunar south pole.


Related Links

Astrobotic

Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more





Source link

Continue Reading

Solar Energy

Researchers utilize recycled silicon anodes to enhance lithium-ion battery efficiency

Published

on

By

Researchers utilize recycled silicon anodes to enhance lithium-ion battery efficiency


Researchers utilize recycled silicon anodes to enhance lithium-ion battery efficiency

by Simon Mansfield

Sydney, Australia (SPX) Jul 17, 2024






Researchers from the Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have crafted low-cost micro-sized silicon anodes from recycled photovoltaic waste, thanks to an innovative electrolyte design.

Their important research, published in Nature Sustainability on July 16, paves the way for more sustainable, cost-effective, and high-energy-density batteries, potentially revolutionizing energy storage systems for electric vehicles and renewable energy uses.



Silicon anodes are known for significantly increasing the energy density of lithium-ion batteries compared to traditional graphite anodes but face challenges due to substantial volume expansion during charge-discharge cycles. This expansion can lead to mechanical fractures and degrade battery performance.



To address these issues, the research team, led by Prof. CUI Guanglei, developed micro-sized silicon (um-Si) particles from photovoltaic waste as a promising alternative.



When combined with a specially formulated ether-based electrolyte, these um-Si anodes show exceptional electrochemical stability, maintaining an average coulombic efficiency of 99.94% and retaining 83.13% of their initial capacity after 200 cycles.



“This work not only suggests a more sustainable supply source for silicon particles but also addresses the major challenges facing micro-sized silicon anode materials,” said Dr. LIU Tao, first author of the study.



The success of the anodes is attributed to their unique solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) chemistry, stemming from the team’s innovative electrolyte composition of 3 M LiPF6 dissolved in a 1:3 volume ratio of 1,3-dioxane and 1,2-diethoxyethane. This formulation promotes the development of a dual-layer SEI that is both flexible and robust, holding together fractured silicon particles while enhancing ionic conduction and minimizing side reactions.



The NCM811||um-Si pouch cells with the new anode and electrolyte combination survived 80 cycles and delivered an impressive energy density of 340.7 Wh kg-1 under harsh conditions. This performance marks a significant improvement over conventional lithium-ion batteries, which are nearing their energy density limits.



Dr. DONG Tiantian, another co-first author of the study, highlighted the environmental benefits: “The sustainable sourcing of silicon from discarded solar panels mitigates both the economic and environmental impacts of photovoltaic waste. Converting waste into valuable battery components significantly reduces the cost of lithium-ion batteries and increases their accessibility.”



“By using recycled materials and advanced chemical engineering, we have demonstrated that high-performance and environmentally sustainable lithium-ion batteries are not only possible, but also within reach,” said Prof. CUI, who is optimistic that this research will lead to the development of next-generation batteries capable of powering everything from electric vehicles to grid-scale energy storage.



This major approach exemplifies how innovative recycling and meticulous materials science can converge to solve some of the most pressing challenges in energy technology today.



Research Report:Recycled micro-sized silicon anode for high-voltage lithium-ion batteries


Related Links

Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology

Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com





Source link

Continue Reading

Trending