High Capacity in a Small Package: Invention Could Revolutionize Energy Storage

High Capacity in a Small Package: Invention Could Revolutionize Energy Storage

A recent University of Maryland invention has the potential to revolutionize energy storage. Researchers have designed a dime-sized battery, only a centimeter-long that is made out of millions of nanostructures and is capable of high energy capture and storage at high power and with long cycle life.

The invention reduces the volume and weight resulting from peripheral materials in batteries and capacitors, bringing the battery down to a remarkably small size.

The project was spearheaded by Director of Maryland NanoCenter and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Gary Rubloff in collaboration with Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Sang Bok Lee, as well as students and postdoctoral researchers from the Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage (NEES) Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC).

The device they have developed has massive arrays of precision nanostructures of identical dimensions, providing it an optimized size.

“By precision we mean that the individual nanodevices have essentially the same size, shape and orientation, thus optimizing nanostructures design while controlling sources of variability that typically would lead to defects and degradation mechanisms,” Dr. Rubloff explained.

Dr. Rubloff said that the potential applications are in electric vehicles, power management in grid-storage, microsystems and consumer electronics.“The high power and energy performance of the storage devices can improve recharge rate, acceleration and regenerative braking while reducing battery size,” he said.

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind power vary with time.

The group’s invention can smooth out power demands created by consumers and also reduce space, weight and the cost involved in the implementation of smart grid systems.

The invention also can be used in compact devices where high burst power is needed in response to signals.

The Office of Technology Commercialization recently helped with securing a patent for the researchers’ invention.

Pasquale Ferrari, Senior Licensing Manager at the OTC said, “Energy is a top worldwide concern. Technologies such as the nanobattery, and others from the UMD Energy Research Center, will be crucial to solving 21st century energy challenges.”

Rubloff said that the researchers are now thinking very seriously about how best to go about manufacturing this device.

February 24, 2015


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