- Sustainability Problem: Rising energy demand and the need for incorporating more renewable energy in the electric grid is increasing the need for higher performing and safer energy storage devices. Category: Energy, Safety and Health
- Spinning a lighter, safer electrode
- A group of researchers from Drexel University have created new fabric-like material electrode, intended to help energy storage devices such as cell phone batteries have better performance and reduce their inherent health and safety risks associated with the toxic and flammable electrolyte fluid they contain.
- To get rid of this dangerous liquid, the team designed an energy storage device that consists of a thick ion-rich gel electrolyte absorbed in a fabric-like material made of carbon nanofibers, thus eliminating the risk of the device exploding or catching fire (as was recently demonstrated in Samsung Galaxy Note devices).
- The technology also allows for lighter, more durable, and better performing energy storage devices, due to the lack of binding agents needed and ability to operate safely at extremely high temperatures (up to 300 degrees Celsius).
Additional ways this technology can be utilized
- Energy storage in the built environment is one the largest barriers to the proliferation of renewable energy due to the intrinsic intermittency of solar and wind power technologies. In NYC, fire safety codes have been a limiting factor for the deployment of lithium-ion batteries in buildings. (see: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/fire-safety-issues-dog-battery-storage-growth-in-new-york-city-slowing-dep/438290/)
- If the energy storage device created by the scientist team from Drexel University can be proven effective on a larger scale, not just in mobile device batteries, it can potentially help solve the fire safety issues of battery storage in buildings and support proliferation of renewable energy in the built environment.
- Stakeholders: Renewable energy companies, local government bodies regulating energy and buildings (i.e. NYSERDA, NYC DOT, FDNY), Building owners.
- Next Steps:
- Research applicability of large-scale of liquid-free energy storage technology and develop energy storage devices using the technology.
- Update building and fire codes to allow for the deployment of these devices in the built environment.
- Provide subsidies for large scale liquid-free batteries to building owners and builders.
- Comment on post by js5079 – How Internet-of-Things technology can assist with Urban Rainfall and Stormwater Management Systems:
The sensors can also trace chemicals present in stormwater, and help determine how well the existing green infrastructure is performing. For example, if rainwater is prevented from entering the sewer system, or which green infrastructure designs are more appropriate for which types of precipitation (heavy vs. light rain, etc.).