Energy Storage Membrane Makes Alternative Power More Feasible

For renewable energy sources — such as solar and wind power — to truly be considered ‘alternative’ energy sources on a significantly massive scale, the comparable price for their production must equal (or be less than) that of those driven by traditional fossil fuels. Equally important is the effective capture of such energy for later use — after all, without saving it for later, what good is solar power after 10 pm or wind power on a breezeless day?

Thanks to the work of scientists at the National University of Singapore led by Dr. Xie Xian Ning, we may be closer to realizing a closure in the gap between the costs and level of reliability involved with renewable and non-renewable energy sources. The team has designed what is believed to be the world’s first energy storage membrane, and its performance significantly exceeds the storage capabilities and cost of current liquid electrolyte-based batteries and capacitors.

Energy Storage Membrane Makes Alternative Power More FeasibleDelivering the soft, malleable energy storage membrane with a polystyrene-based polymer between two metal charging plates allows for the storage of 0.2 farads per square centimeter — much higher than the 1 microfarad per square centimeter currently demonstrated by standard capacitors. While farads and microfarads don’t mean much to the layman (like me), translating what this all means into US dollars might. The cost for storing energy in traditional batteries and capacitors comes to about $7 per farad (2.5 watt hours per dollar). This new energy storage membrane brings it down to about 62 cents per farad (providing an impressive 10-20 watt-hours per dollar).

Dr. Xie says: “Compared to rechargeable batteries and supercapacitors, the proprietary membrane allows for very simple device configuration and low fabrication cost. Moreover, the performance of the membrane surpasses those of rechargeable batteries, such as lithium ion and lead-acid batteries, and supercapacitors… With the advent of our novel membrane, energy storage technology will be more accessible, affordable, and producible on a large scale. It is also environmentally-friendly and could change the current status of energy technology.”

If all goes well, be on the lookout for the energy storage membrane in hybrid vehicles, solar panels, giant death robots wind turbines, and other power generating technologies near you.

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Our resident "Bob" (pictured here through the lens of photographer Jason DeFillippo) is in love with a woman who talks to animals. He has a fondness for belting out songs about seafaring and whiskey (arguably inappropriate in most social situations). He's arm-wrestled robots and won. He was born in a lighthouse on the storm-tossed shores of an island that has since been washed away and forgotten, so he's technically a citizen of nowhere. He's never killed in anger. He once underwent therapy for having an alien in his face, but he assures us that he's now feeling "much better." Fogarty also claims that he was once marooned along a tiny archipelago and survived for months using only his wits and a machete, but we find that a little hard to believe.

  • Bobmac

    I am a bit worries about the giant death robots

    • http://robertglenfogarty.com/ Robert Glen Fogarty

      No giant death robots! Nothing to see here!

  • Bobmac

    I am a bit worries about the giant death robots

    • http://robertglenfogarty.com/ Robert Glen Fogarty

      No giant death robots! Nothing to see here!

    • http://robertglenfogarty.com/ Robert Glen Fogarty

      No giant death robots! Nothing to see here!

  • Bobmac

    I am a bit worries about the giant death robots

  • Bobmac

    I am a bit worries about the giant death robots

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UW3J77KCTIHWQTMUDTTKDJ2U3Y lylejk

    Now this is too cool.   I’ve always believed capacitive energy storage is the way to go.    Can you all just imagine charging your device in seconds rather then hours.   This technology may even make Electric Vehicles viable.    Right now, no battery based technology will I accept.   I do like the idea of Air Car (relatively Light and inexpensive tank as opposed to an expensive battery chain that needs to be overhauled every 10K miles; unacceptable. Other issues which I won’t discuss here has kept the Air Car from realling taking off).  If they have near infinite charge/discharge capability as well as this high amount of energy storage, then we all will benifit.   Kudos to these guys; I will keep abreast of this technology (not a green guy; just an efficiency freak).   :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UW3J77KCTIHWQTMUDTTKDJ2U3Y lylejk

    Now this is too cool.   I’ve always believed capacitive energy storage is the way to go.    Can you all just imagine charging your device in seconds rather then hours.   This technology may even make Electric Vehicles viable.    Right now, no battery based technology will I accept.   I do like the idea of Air Car (relatively Light and inexpensive tank as opposed to an expensive battery chain that needs to be overhauled every 10K miles; unacceptable. Other issues which I won’t discuss here has kept the Air Car from realling taking off).  If they have near infinite charge/discharge capability as well as this high amount of energy storage, then we all will benifit.   Kudos to these guys; I will keep abreast of this technology (not a green guy; just an efficiency freak).   :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UW3J77KCTIHWQTMUDTTKDJ2U3Y lylejk

    Now this is too cool.   I’ve always believed capacitive energy storage is the way to go.    Can you all just imagine charging your device in seconds rather then hours.   This technology may even make Electric Vehicles viable.    Right now, no battery based technology will I accept.   I do like the idea of Air Car (relatively Light and inexpensive tank as opposed to an expensive battery chain that needs to be overhauled every 10K miles; unacceptable. Other issues which I won’t discuss here has kept the Air Car from realling taking off).  If they have near infinite charge/discharge capability as well as this high amount of energy storage, then we all will benifit.   Kudos to these guys; I will keep abreast of this technology (not a green guy; just an efficiency freak).   :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UW3J77KCTIHWQTMUDTTKDJ2U3Y lylejk

    Now this is too cool.   I’ve always believed capacitive energy storage is the way to go.    Can you all just imagine charging your device in seconds rather then hours.   This technology may even make Electric Vehicles viable.    Right now, no battery based technology will I accept.   I do like the idea of Air Car (relatively Light and inexpensive tank as opposed to an expensive battery chain that needs to be overhauled every 10K miles; unacceptable. Other issues which I won’t discuss here has kept the Air Car from realling taking off).  If they have near infinite charge/discharge capability as well as this high amount of energy storage, then we all will benifit.   Kudos to these guys; I will keep abreast of this technology (not a green guy; just an efficiency freak).   :)