Stanford scientists develop high-efficiency zinc-air battery

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Battery researchers, including those at Stanford University, have been focusing for years on improving lithium batteries of multiple chemistries.  While IBM tries to create the 500-mile battery based on lithium-air reactions, and ReVolt in Portland works on perfecting a long-lasting zinc-air cell, Stanford researcher Hongjie Dai and his team claim to have “developed an advanced zinc-air battery with higher catalytic activity and durability than similar batteries made with costly platinum and iridium catalysts.” The resulting battery, detailed in the May 7 online edition of the journal Nature Communications, could be the forerunner of something with greater endurance and lower cost than current efforts. Mark Schwartz, writing for Stanford, quotes Dai, a professor of chemistry at the University and lead author of …

Hey, My Car Needs a Jump Start. May I Borrow Your Cell Phone?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Seriously, think of a battery in your cell phone that could jump start a car, and then be recharged “in the blink of an eye.”  That’s exactly what mechanical science and engineering professor William P. King and his team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign claim to have created. The most powerful microbatteries ever documented “outpower even the best supercapacitors” and could be in cell phones and small portable devices in the next few years. “This is a whole new way to think about batteries,” King said. “A battery can deliver far more power than anybody ever thought. In recent decades, electronics have gotten small. The thinking parts of computers have gotten small. And the battery has …

What Do You Have on Your DVD Burner?

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Richard Kaner and Maher El-Kady have “micro-scale graphene-based supercapacitors” on their front DVD burner, showing an energetic alternative to saving all those ‘80’s rockers to disc. Dr. Kaner is a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and professor of chemistry and biochemistry.  He and graduate student El-Kady are using a “consumer grade” LightScribe DVD burner to make dozens of micro supercapacitors on what looks like a typical DVD. Dr. Kaner’s research lab hosts 17 undergraduate and graduate student researchers who’ve helped amass at least 390 papers in four main areas of research; conducting polymers, graphene, superhard materials and thermoelectric materials.  Their recent investigation of supercapacitor fabrication seems to encompass almost all …

Thomas Alva Would Be Proud

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The best batteries as now produced use expensive materials and processes to achieve high energy density.  Could a century-old idea be resurrected to provide an inexpensive alternative to today’s costly electric storage devices?   Science Daily reports on a recent attempt to improve on a proven technology. Stanford University’s Hongjie Dai, professor of chemistry and head of a research group, is working with the Edison battery, named for Thomas Alva Edison, and using the nickel-iron electrodes Edison favored, but with a modern twist to overcome one of its disadvantages. Stanford’s news bulletin quotes Dai.  “The Edison battery is very durable, but it has a number of drawbacks. A typical battery can take hours to charge, and the rate of discharge …