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Silicon for batteries moves to commercial production

U.S. company Group14 Technologies today announced the launch of a factory capable of producing 120 tons per year of its innovative silicon-carbon-based anode material for lithium-ion batteries. The factory is located at Group14’s headquarters in Woodinville, Washington and is the first of several planned by the company.

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Nickel-salen for a battery that charges in 10 seconds

Scientists in Russia introduce a promising new material for battery energy storage, the product of more than three years of research. Incorporating a nickel-salen polymer into the cathode, the group demonstrated a battery that can charge and discharge ten times faster than today’s lithium-ion batteries. And though the battery still lags in terms of overall capacity, the group is confident that its discovery will lead to big improvements for lithium batteries.

New materials for organic redox flow batteries

Scientists in Russia have designed a whole series of new compounds that could serve as catholytes and anolytes in organic redox flow batteries. The materials promise to open up new pathways for further research, and overcome some of the challenges for organic redox flow batteries in commercial, large-scale energy storage projects.

A long-lasting aluminum battery

Scientists in the U.S. developed an aluminum battery that demonstrates better than 99.5% reversibility, and could offer “up to 10,000 error-free cycles”. By incorporating a substrate of carbon fibers into the anode design, the group gained better control over chemical bonds that form as the battery charges, leading to greatly improved performance.

New design for antireflective coating in multijunction solar cells

Scientists in Madrid investigated the use of antireflective coatings in multijunction solar cells, drawing several conclusions that could further improve the efficiency of these cells. Their approach could improve on current antireflective coatings, particularly for high-efficiency multijunction cells, using methods and materials already proven in mass production.

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The weekend read: New pathways in flexible thin film PV

Having picked up GBP 5.8 million ($8 million) in a series of investments, U.K.-based Power Roll is pushing ahead with pilot production of an innovative new thin film with which it can manufacture both solar modules and capacitors. In the future, the design could also bring the potential for solar generation and energy storage within a single lightweight device.

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The weekend read: Bifacial drives PV encapsulant switch

Suppliers of encapsulant materials – plastic sheets that are heated to laminate together the components in PV module stacks – are rapidly expanding to keep pace with module manufacturing in Asia and other parts of the world. Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) continues to dominate the market, but new developments in module technology are driving a slow shift to more costly polyolefins.

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An aluminum battery that can charge in a fraction of a second

Scientists in China and the United States investigated the inner workings of aluminum-ion batteries. With new insights into mechanisms at work within the battery during cycling, the group was able to demonstrate a battery capable of ultrafast charging, with the highest capacity so far reported for an aluminum battery.

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Adding solar to offshore wind

Scientists in the Netherlands conducted a feasibility study for adding floating solar to a planned 752 MW offshore wind installation in the North Sea. The study finds that the two could realistically share a single connection to an onshore grid, with minimal curtailment as well as technical and economic benefits for both technologies.

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Focus on temperature to reduce LCOE, says new study

A new model to assess the role of module temperature in PV power plant economics, developed by scientists in Saudi Arabia, finds that keeping modules cool could be an even more effective strategy to increasing energy yield than pursuing further gains in cell efficiency. The model finds that reducing module temperature by three degrees has a similar impact on energy yield to a 1% increase in conversion efficiency.

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