‘Truly revolutionary’ wireless energy-storage technology could be in place by 2020
New Scientist magazine – Issue #29: February 2019 – Issue#29: New Scientist article New research has revealed that a novel wireless energy storage technology could deliver more energy than current batteries in a single, tiny unit, thanks to its ability to store electricity and heat energy in the form of microwaves.
The technique, known as ‘TulipTec’ (T-shaped T-cells), was created by engineers from the University of Maryland and has been successfully tested on a battery of the same size.
The new research, reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, found that a single T-cell, when placed in a battery could store enough electricity to power an iPhone or laptop for four days.
Scientists from the universities of Maryland, Maryland Tech, and Johns Hopkins University are now working to test and validate the technology in a large scale, in order to assess its feasibility in a wide range of environments, including hospitals, homes and offices, and other large systems.
The research could also potentially pave the way for the creation of a new type of ‘energy-storage’ device that can store energy and heat in the same material, instead of using a liquid as a storage medium.
‘The fact that this technology could actually work is really amazing,’ said co-author Matthew Hirsch, professor of mechanical engineering at the University at Albany and lead author of the study.
Tulips are a type of thin metal that can be used as electrodes or as a conductor in electric vehicles, but have only recently been used as energy storage devices.
This new technology could provide an entirely new type.
When researchers placed a single tiny unit in a high-power, low-temperature environment, it could store as much as 1,000 microwatts of energy.
By comparison, a single lithium-ion battery currently can store up to 1,600 microwatts.
While a lithium-air battery can store 1,200 microwatts, the scientists found that they could simultaneously store up 100,000 of those microwatts in an ultra-thin T-shaped cell.
“The fact is that these T-type cells, with their small size, are very, very good at storing energy in these very small quantities,” Hirsch said.
“And they’re very good for storing heat in these tiny quantities.”‘
Tulipers’ could also be used to power a battery in hospitals Researchers found that the T-shape cells could be used in a variety of applications.
For example, the T cells could potentially store a high concentration of water in a small space, or a large volume of air.
In addition, the cells could also hold up to 5,000 volts of current, enough to power two iPhones in a short period of time.
Hirsch said the technology could also provide a way for lithium-sulfur batteries to store energy, as well as for carbon dioxide and oxygen to be stored in a non-radioactive form.
Researchers also found that an ultra high-frequency signal could be emitted from the device, as the T cell could be activated by the electrical current coming from a power supply, rather than by a battery.
As for the possibility of using the T’s to power batteries, Hirsch was quick to point out that this would be unlikely.
Instead, the researchers suggested using the device to charge a battery to the maximum efficiency level, a goal they said was still achievable, though it could take years of testing before the technology was commercially viable.’
The ability to use this technology to store much more energy is something that we’re really excited about,” said Hirsch.
‘We’ve shown that it can work in this particular environment, and it’s possible to have batteries that are 100 percent efficient in a very short period.’