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Liquid Fuel From Renewable Electricity and Bacteria: Electro-Autotrophic Synthesis of Higher Alcohols

Description: Electrofuels Project: UCLA is utilizing renewable electricity to power direct liquid fuel production in genetically engineered Ralstonia eutropha bacteria. UCLA is using renewable electricity to convert carbon dioxide into formic acid, a liquid soluble compound that delivers both carbon and energy to the bacteria. The bacteria are genetically engineered to convert the formic acid into liquid fuel—in this case alcohols such as butanol. The electricity required for the process can be generated from sunlight, wind, or other renewable energy sources. In fact, UCLA’s electricity-to-fuel system could be a more efficient way to utilize these renewable energy sources considering the energy density of liquid fuel is much higher than the energy density of other renewable energy storage options, such as batteries.
Date: July 1, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Lithium-Sulfur Batteries: Development of High Energy Lithium-Sulfur Cells for Electric Vehicle Applications

Description: BEEST Project: Sion Power is developing a lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery, a potentially cost-effective alternative to the Li-Ion battery that could store 400% more energy per pound. All batteries have 3 key parts—a positive and negative electrode and an electrolyte—that exchange ions to store and release electricity. Using different materials for these components changes a battery’s chemistry and its ability to power a vehicle. Traditional Li-S batteries experience adverse reactions between the electrolyte and lithium-based negative electrode that ultimately limit the battery to less than 50 charge cycles. Sion Power will sandwich the lithium- and sulfur-based electrode films around a separator that protects the negative electrode and increases the number of charges the battery can complete in its lifetime. The design could eventually allow for a battery with 400% greater storage capacity per pound than Li-Ion batteries and the ability to complete more than 500 recharge cycles.
Date: October 1, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Long-Range Electric Vehicle Batteries: High Energy Density Lithium Batteries

Description: Broad Funding Opportunity Announcement Project: In a battery, metal ions move between the electrodes through the electrolyte in order to store energy. Envia Systems is developing new silicon-based negative electrode materials for Li-Ion batteries. Using this technology, Envia will be able to produce commercial EV batteries that outperform today’s technology by 2-3 times. Many other programs have attempted to make anode materials based on silicon, but have not been able to produce materials that can withstand charge/discharge cycles multiple times. Envia has been able to make this material which can successfully cycle hundreds of times, on a scale that is economically viable. Today, Envia’s batteries exhibit world-record energy densities.
Date: January 1, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Low-Cost Flexible Electrochromic Film for Energy Efficient Buildings

Description: Broad Funding Opportunity Announcement Project: ITN is addressing the high cost of electrochromic windows with a new manufacturing process: roll-to-roll deposition of the film onto flexible plastic surfaces. Production of electrochromic films on plastic requires low processing temperatures and uniform film quality over large surface areas. ITN is overcoming these challenges using its previous experience in growing flexible thin-film solar cells and batteries. By developing sensor-based controls, ITN’s roll-to-roll manufacturing process yields more film over a larger area than traditional film deposition methods. Evaluating deposition processes from a control standpoint ultimately strengthens the ability for ITN to handle unanticipated deviations quickly and efficiently, enabling more consistent large-volume production. The team is currently moving from small-scale prototypes into pilot-scale production to validate roll-to-roll manufacturability and produce scaled prototypes that can be proven in simulated operating conditions. Electrochromic plastic films could also open new markets in building retrofit applications, vastly expanding the potential energy savings.
Date: January 1, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Magnetic Energy Storage System: Superconducting Magnet Energy Storage System with Direct Power Electronics Interface

Description: GRIDS Project: ABB is developing an advanced energy storage system using superconducting magnets that could store significantly more energy than today’s best magnetic storage technologies at a fraction of the cost. This system could provide enough storage capacity to encourage more widespread use of renewable power like wind and solar. Superconducting magnetic energy storage systems have been in development for almost 3 decades; however, past devices were designed to supply power only for short durations—generally less than a few minutes. ABB’s system would deliver the stored energy at very low cost, making it ideal for eventual use in the electricity grid as a costeffective competitor to batteries and other energy storage technologies. The device could potentially cost even less, on a per kilowatt basis, than traditional lead-acid batteries.
Date: October 1, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Metacapacitors for LED Lighting: Metacapacitors

Description: ADEPT Project: The CUNY Energy Institute is developing less expensive, more efficient, smaller, and longer-lasting power converters for energy-efficient LED lights. LEDs produce light more efficiently than incandescent lights and last significantly longer than compact fluorescent bulbs, but they require more sophisticated power converter technology, which increases their cost. LEDs need more sophisticated converters because they require a different type of power (low voltage direct current, or DC) than what's generally supplied by power outlets. The CUNY Energy Institute is developing sophisticated power converters for LEDs that contain capacitors made from new, nanoscale materials. Capacitors are electrical components that are used to store energy. CUNY's unique capacitors are configured with advanced power circuits to more efficiently control and convert power to the LED lighting source. They also eliminate the need for large magnetic components, instead relying on networks of capacitors that can be easily printed on plastic substrate. CUNY's prototype LED power converter already meets DOE's 2020 projections for the energy efficiency of LED power converters.
Date: September 2, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Metal-Air Electric Vehicle Battery: Sustainable, High-Energy Density, Low-Cost Electrochemical Energy Storage – Metal-Air Ionic Liquid (MAIL) Batteries

Description: Broad Funding Opportunity Announcement Project: ASU is developing a new class of metal-air batteries. Metal-air batteries are promising for future generations of EVs because they use oxygen from the air as one of the battery’s main reactants, reducing the weight of the battery and freeing up more space to devote to energy storage than Li-Ion batteries. ASU technology uses Zinc as the active metal in the battery because it is more abundant and affordable than imported lithium. Metal-air batteries have long been considered impractical for EV applications because the water-based electrolytes inside would decompose the battery interior after just a few uses. Overcoming this traditional limitation, ASU’s new battery system could be both cheaper and safer than today’s Li-Ion batteries, store from 4-5 times more energy, and be recharged over 2,500 times.
Date: December 21, 2009
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

High-Octane Fuel from Refinery Exhaust Gas: Upgrading Refinery Off-Gas to High-Octane Alkylate

Description: Broad Funding Opportunity Announcement Project: Exelus is developing a method to convert olefins from oil refinery exhaust gas into alkylate, a clean-burning, high-octane component of gasoline. Traditionally, olefins must be separated from exhaust before they can be converted into another source of useful fuel. Exelus’ process uses catalysts that convert the olefin to alkylate without first separating it from the exhaust. The ability to turn up to 50% of exhaust directly into gasoline blends could result in an additional 46 million gallons of gasoline in the U.S. each year.
Date: December 1, 2009
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

High-Power Zinc-Air Energy Storage: Enhanced Metal-Air Energy Storage System with Advanced Grid-Interoperable Power Electronics Enabling Scalability and Ultra-Low Cost

Description: GRIDS Project: Fluidic is developing a low-cost, rechargeable, high-power module for Zinc-air batteries that will be used to store renewable energy. Zinc-air batteries are traditionally found in small, non-rechargeable devices like hearing aids because they are well-suited to delivering low levels of power for long periods of time. Historically, Zinc-air batteries have not been as useful for applications which require periodic bursts of power, like on the electrical grid. Fluidic hopes to fill this need by combining the high energy, low cost, and long run-time of a Zinc-air battery with new chemistry providing high power, high efficiency, and fast response. The battery module could allow large grid-storage batteries to provide much more power on very short demand—the most costly kind of power for utilities—and with much more versatile performance.
Date: October 1, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Hybrid Vapor Compression Adsorption System: Thermal Storage Using Hybrid Vapor Compression Adsorption System

Description: HEATS Project: UTRC is developing a new climate-control system for EVs that uses a hybrid vapor compression adsorption system with thermal energy storage. The targeted, closed system will use energy during the battery-charging step to recharge the thermal storage, and it will use minimal power to provide cooling or heating to the cabin during a drive cycle. The team will use a unique approach of absorbing a refrigerant on a metal salt, which will create a lightweight, high-energy-density refrigerant. This unique working pair can operate indefinitely as a traditional vapor compression heat pump using electrical energy, if desired. The project will deliver a hot-and-cold battery that provides comfort to the passengers using minimal power, substantially extending the driving range of EVs.
Date: January 4, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Hydrogen-Bromine Flow Battery: Hydrogen Bromine Flow Batteries for Grid Scale Energy Storage

Description: GRIDS Project: LBNL is designing a flow battery for grid storage that relies on a hydrogen-bromine chemistry which could be more efficient, last longer and cost less than today’s lead-acid batteries. Flow batteries are fundamentally different from traditional lead-acid batteries because the chemical reactants that provide their energy are stored in external tanks instead of inside the battery. A flow battery can provide more energy because all that is required to increase its storage capacity is to increase the size of the external tanks. The hydrogen-bromine reactants used by LBNL in its flow battery are inexpensive, long lasting, and provide power quickly. The cost of the design could be well below $100 per kilowatt hour, which would rival conventional grid-scale battery technologies.
Date: October 1, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Improved Light Utilization in Camelina: Center for Enhanced Camelina Oil (CECO)

Description: PETRO Project: The Danforth Center will optimize light utilization in Camelina, a drought-resistant, cold-tolerant oilseed crop. The team is modifying how Camelina collects sunlight, engineering its topmost leaves to be lighter in color so sunlight can more easily reflect onto lower parts of the plant. A more uniform distribution of light would improve the efficiency of photosynthesis. Combined with other strategies to produce more oil in the seed, Camelina would yield more oil per plant. The team is also working to allow Camelina to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) more efficiently, providing more carbon input for oil production. The goal is to improve light utilization and oil production to the point where Camelina produces enough fuel precursors per acre to compete with other fuels.
Date: January 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Improved Thermoelectric Devices: Advanced Semiconductor Materials for Thermoelectric Devices

Description: Broad Funding Opportunity Announcement Project: Phononic Devices is working to recapture waste heat and convert it into usable electric power. To do this, the company is using thermoelectric devices, which are made from advanced semiconductor materials that convert heat into electricity or actively remove heat for refrigeration and cooling purposes. Thermoelectric devices resemble computer chips, and they manage heat by manipulating the direction of electrons at the nanoscale. These devices aren’t new, but they are currently too inefficient and expensive for widespread use. Phononic Devices is using a high-performance, cost-effective thermoelectric design that will improve the device’s efficiency and enable electronics manufacturers to more easily integrate them into their products.
Date: December 11, 2009
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Improving Biomass Yields: High Biomass, Low Input Dedicated Energy Crops to Enable a Full Scale Bioenergy Industry

Description: Broad Funding Opportunity Announcement Project: Ceres is developing bigger and better grasses for use in biofuels. The bigger the grass yield, the more biomass, and more biomass means more biofuel per acre. Using biotechnology, Ceres is developing grasses that will grow bigger with less fertilizer than current grass varieties. Hardier, higher-yielding grass also requires less land to grow and can be planted in areas where other crops can’t grow instead of in prime agricultural land. Ceres is conducting multi-year trials in Arizona, Texas, Tennessee, and Georgia which have already resulted in grass yields with as much as 50% more biomass than yields from current grass varieties.
Date: January 1, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Enhanced Carbon Concentration in Camelina: Development of a Dedicated, High-value Biofuels Crop

Description: PETRO Project: UMass is developing an enhanced, biofuels-producing variant of Camelina, a drought-resistant, cold-tolerant oilseed crop that can be grown in many places other plants cannot. The team is working to incorporate several genetic traits into Camelina that increases its natural ability to produce oils and add the production of energy-dense terpene molecules that can be easily converted into liquid fuels. UMass is also experimenting with translating a component common in algae to Camelina that should allow the plants to absorb higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), which aids in enhancing photosynthesis and fuel conversion. The process will first be demonstrated in tobacco before being applied in Camelina.
Date: January 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Flow-Assisted Alkaline Battery: Low-Cost Grid-Scale Electrical Storage using a Flow-Assisted Rechargeable Zinc-Manganese Dioxide Battery

Description: GRIDS Project: Traditional consumer-grade disposable batteries are made of Zinc and Manganese, 2 inexpensive, abundant, and non-toxic metals. But these disposable batteries can only be used once. If they are recharged, the Zinc in the battery develops filaments called dendrites that grow haphazardly and disrupt battery performance, while the Manganese quickly loses its ability to store energy. CUNY Energy Institute is working to tame dendrite formation and to enhance the lifetime of Manganese in order to create a long-lasting, fully rechargeable battery for grid-scale energy storage. CUNY Energy Institute is also working to reduce dendrite formation by pumping fluid through the battery, enabling researchers to fix the dendrites as they’re forming. The team has already tested its Zinc battery through 3,000 recharge cycles (and counting). CUNY Energy Institute aims to demonstrate a better cycle life than lithium-ion batteries, which can be up to 20 times more expensive than Zinc-based batteries.
Date: September 15, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fuel-Free Compressed-Air Energy Storage: Fuel-Free, Ubiquitous Compressed-Air Energy Storage and Power Conditioning

Description: GRIDS Project: General Compression has developed a transformative, near-isothermal compressed air energy storage system (GCAES) that prevents air from heating up during compression and cooling down during expansion. When integrated with renewable generation, such as a wind farm, intermittent energy can be stored in compressed air in salt caverns or pressurized tanks. When electricity is needed, the process is reversed and the compressed air is expanded to produce electricity. Unlike conventional compressed air energy storage (CAES) projects, no gas is burned to convert the stored high-pressure air back into electricity. The result of this breakthrough is an ultra-efficient, fully shapeable, 100% renewable and carbon-free power product. The GCAES™ system can provide high quality electricity and ancillary services by effectively integrating renewables onto the grid at a cost that is competitive with gas, coal and nuclear generation.
Date: September 13, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fuel From Algae: Scaling and Commercialization of Algae Harvesting Technologies

Description: Broad Funding Opportunity Announcement Project: Led by CEO Ross Youngs, AVS has patented a cost-effective dewatering technology that separates micro-solids (algae) from water. Separating micro-solids from water traditionally requires a centrifuge, which uses significant energy to spin the water mass and force materials of different densities to separate from one another. In a comparative analysis, dewatering 1 ton of algae in a centrifuge costs around $3,400. AVS’s Solid-Liquid Separation (SLS) system is less energy-intensive and less expensive, costing $1.92 to process 1 ton of algae. The SLS technology uses capillary dewatering with filter media to gently facilitate water separation, leaving behind dewatered algae which can then be used as a source for biofuels and bio-products. The biomimicry of the SLS technology emulates the way plants absorb and spread water to their capillaries.
Date: January 15, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fuel from Bacteria: Bioconversion of Carbon Dioxide to Biofuels by Facultatively Autotrophic Hydrogen Bacteria

Description: Electrofuels Project: Ohio State is genetically modifying bacteria to efficiently convert carbon dioxide directly into butanol, an alcohol that can be used directly as a fuel blend or converted to a hydrocarbon, which closely resembles a gasoline. Bacteria are typically capable of producing a certain amount of butanol before it becomes too toxic for the bacteria to survive. Ohio State is engineering a new strain of the bacteria that could produce up to 50% more butanol before it becomes too toxic for the bacteria to survive. Finding a way to produce more butanol more efficiently would significantly cut down on biofuel production costs and help make butanol cost competitive with gasoline. Ohio State is also engineering large tanks, or bioreactors, to grow the biofuel-producing bacteria in, and they are developing ways to efficiently recover biofuel from the tanks.
Date: July 1, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fuel from Bacteria, CO2, Water, and Solar Energy: Engineering a Bacterial Reverse Fuel Cell

Description: Electrofuels Project: Harvard is engineering a self-contained, scalable Electrofuels production system that can directly generate liquid fuels from bacteria, carbon dioxide (CO2), water, and sunlight. Harvard is genetically engineering bacteria called Shewanella, so the bacteria can sit directly on electrical conductors and absorb electrical current. This current, which is powered by solar panels, gives the bacteria the energy they need to process CO2 into liquid fuels. The Harvard team pumps this CO2 into the system, in addition to water and other nutrients needed to grow the bacteria. Harvard is also engineering the bacteria to produce fuel molecules that have properties similar to gasoline or diesel fuel—making them easier to incorporate into the existing fuel infrastructure. These molecules are designed to spontaneously separate from the water-based culture that the bacteria live in and to be used directly as fuel without further chemical processing once they’re pumped out of the tank.
Date: July 1, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Iron-Air Rechargeable Battery: A Robust and Inexpensive Iron-Air Rechargeable Battery for Grid-Scale Energy Storage

Description: GRIDS Project: USC is developing an iron-air rechargeable battery for large-scale energy storage that could help integrate renewable energy sources into the electric grid. Iron-air batteries have the potential to store large amounts of energy at low cost—iron is inexpensive and abundant, while oxygen is freely obtained from the air we breathe. However, current iron-air battery technologies have suffered from low efficiency and short life spans. USC is working to dramatically increase the efficiency of the battery by placing chemical additives on the battery’s iron-based electrode and restructuring the catalysts at the molecular level on the battery’s air-based electrode. This can help the battery resist degradation and increase life span. The goal of the project is to develop a prototype iron-air battery at significantly cost lower than today’s best commercial batteries.
Date: October 1, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Laser-Mechanical Drilling for Geothermal Energy: Low-Contact Drilling Technology to Enable Economical EGS Wells

Description: Broad Funding Opportunity Announcement Project: Foro Energy is developing a unique capability and hardware system to transmit high power lasers over long distances via fiber optic cables. This laser power is integrated with a mechanical drilling bit to enable rapid and sustained penetration of hard rock formations too costly to drill with mechanical drilling bits alone. The laser energy that is directed at the rock basically softens the rock, allowing the mechanical bit to more easily remove it. Foro Energy’s laser-assisted drill bits have the potential to be up to 10 times more economical than conventional hard-rock drilling technologies, making them an effective way to access the U.S. energy resources currently locked under hard rock formations.
Date: January 15, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Jet Fuel from Camelina: Jet Fuel From Camelina Sativa: A Systems Approach

Description: PETRO Project: NC State will genetically modify the oil-crop plant Camelina sativa to produce high quantities of both modified oils and terpenes. These components are optimized for thermocatalytic conversion into energy-dense drop-in transportation fuels. The genetically engineered Camelina will capture more carbon than current varieties and have higher oil yields. The Camelina will be more tolerant to drought and heat, which makes it suitable for farming in warmer and drier climate zones in the US. The increased productivity of NC State’s-enhanced Camelina and the development of energy-effective harvesting, extraction, and conversion technology could provide an alternative non-petrochemical source of fuel.
Date: January 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Liquid Fuel From Bacteria: Engineering Ralstonia eutropha for Production of Isobutanol (IBT) Motor Fuel from CO2, Hydrogen, and Oxygen

Description: Electrofuels Project: MIT is using solar-derived hydrogen and common soil bacteria called Ralstonia eutropha to turn carbon dioxide (CO2) directly into biofuel. This bacteria already has the natural ability to use hydrogen and CO2 for growth. MIT is engineering the bacteria to use hydrogen to convert CO2 directly into liquid transportation fuels. Hydrogen is a flammable gas, so the MIT team is building an innovative reactor system that will safely house the bacteria and gas mixture during the fuel-creation process. The system will pump in precise mixtures of hydrogen, oxygen, and CO2, and the online fuel-recovery system will continuously capture and remove the biofuel product.
Date: July 15, 2010
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department