Archive for the ‘Hot Article’ Category

Power up with body heat

A thermoelectric generator that converts body heat into electricity could make replacing or recharging batteries in wearable electronics a task of the past.

As the electronics market continues to expand there is a growing need for new ways to charge devices like smart watches and wearable medical sensors. However, conventional organic-based thermoelectric (TE) generators do not produce a high enough power output for use in wearable devices. And previously reported inorganic-based systems tend to use bulky, rigid and heavy ceramic substrates that increase thermal energy loss and limit their power output and energy conversion efficiency. The TE generator developed by Byung Jin Cho and his team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology uses a glass fabric that is thinner, lighter and more flexible than other devices reported to date.

Interested to know more? Read the full article by Charlotte Still on Chemistry World.

Read the original article in Energy & Environmental Science – it’s free to download until 15th May 2014!

Wearable Thermoelectric Generator Fabricated on Glass Fabric
Sun Jin Kim, Ju Hyung We and Byung Jin Cho
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00242C, Paper

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Nanoporous anodes charge up

Scientists in China and the US say a new anode material they have created represents a significant step forward in the development of long-life stationary lithium-ion batteries for large-scale energy storage systems.

Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most effective rechargeable batteries thanks to their high energy density and low environmental impact. However, the performance of current lithium-ion batteries, which use graphite as the anode material, cannot satisfy requirements of large-scale systems that could support smart electricity grids linked with renewable sources. Their charging rate is limited because at voltages required for a fast charge, lithium deposition, or plating, occurs, which can result in the battery short circuiting.

Interested to know more? Read the full article by Jennifer Newton on Chemistry World.

Read the original article in Energy & Environmental Science – it’s free to download until May 13th 2014!

A long-life lithium-ion battery with highly porous TiNb2O7 anode for large-scale electrical energy storage
Bingkun Guo, Xiqian Yu, Xiao-Guang Sun, Miaofang Chi, Zhen-An Qiao, Jue Liu, Yong-Sheng Hu, Xiao-Qing Yang, John B Goodenough and Sheng Dai
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00508B, Communication

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Carving out a future for biomass conversion to jet fuel

A pioneering study has proposed a new integrated method for producing aviation fuels from woody feedstock by considering all downstream processing stages and carrying out a detailed economic analysis.

Lignocellulose, a raw material in biomass, can be converted to biofuels and is often considered a long-term alternative to the diminishing supply of fossil fuels. The conversion process involves biomass pretreatment, hydrolysis of constituent carbohydrates and catalytic conversion of platform chemicals. Proposed strategies to convert lignocellulose to aviation fuels have underused components, preventing their commercialisation.

Interested to know more? Read the full article by Dannielle Whittaker on Chemistry World.

Read the original article in Energy & Environmental Science – it’s free to download for the next few weeks!

Production of renewable jet fuel range alkanes and commodity chemicals from integrated catalytic processing of biomass
Jesse Q. Bond, Aniruddha A. Upadhye, Hakan Olcay, Geoffrey A. Tompsett, Jungho Jae, Rong Xing, David Martin Alonso, Dong Wang, Taiying Zhang, Rajeev Kumar, Andrew Foster, S. Murat Sen, Christos T. Maravelias, Robert Malina, Steven R. H. Barrett, Raul Lobo, Charles E. Wyman, James A. Dumesic and George W. Huber
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014,7, 1500-1523
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43846E, Paper

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Egg-white derived activated carbons display an eggs-tremely high pseudocapacitance in asymmetric supercapacitors

Scientists in Canada have employed a novel template-free approach to prepare so-called Highly Functionalized Activated Carbons (HFACs) derived from common chicken egg-whites. When employed as the anode in an aqueous asymmetric supercapacitor, the materials display a colossal pseudocapacitance of > 550 F g-1, and double the specific energy in comparison to standard activated carbon.

Supercapacitors are energy-storage devices which, unlike batteries, have the phenomenal ability to charge and discharge within a matter of seconds. This makes them useful for high-power applications such as regenerative breaking in electric vehicles, but their low specific energy (energy per unit mass) limits their use in other applications where batteries are preferred.

Conventional supercapacitors typically employ activated carbon (AC) as both the positive and negative electrodes, and are therefore regarded as symmetric. Asymmetric supercapacitors on the other hand often replace the positive electrode with a nanostructured metal oxide – and, in doing so, can show an improved capacitance and energy density.

In their recent paper, David Mitlin and co-workers found that nitrogen-rich Highly Functionalized Activated Carbons (HFACs) – derived from chicken egg-whites – displayed a colossal pseudocapacitance of > 550 F g-1 when employed as an anode in an aqueous asymmetric supercapacitor system, and had double the specific energy in comparison to standard activated carbon.  This performance rivals that of other state-of-the-art carbons, despite the simple template-free approach and abundance and renewable nature of egg-white precursors.

Find out more about their egg-citing work in their full article:

Colossal pseudocapacitance in a high functionality–high surface area carbon anode doubles the energy of an asymmetric supercapacitor
Zhi Li, Zhanwei Xu, Huanlei Wang, Jia Ding, Beniamin Zahiri, Chris M. B. Holt, Xuehai Tanab and David Mitlin
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/c3ee43979h

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This week’s HOT articles

Take a look at this week’s selection! These articles are available free for a limited time: Graphical abstract: Designing the next generation high capacity battery electrodes

Investigating charge dynamics in halide perovskite-sensitized mesostructured solar cells
V. Roiati, S. Colella, G. Lerario, L. De Marco, A. Rizzo, A. Listorti and G. Gigli
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43991G, Communication

Microfluidic fuel cells on paper: meeting the power needs of next generation lateral flow devices
J. P. Esquivel, F. J. Del Campo, J. L. Gómez de la Fuente, S. Rojas and N. Sabaté
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE44044C, Paper

Designing the next generation high capacity battery electrodes
H.-C. Yu, C. Ling, J. Bhattacharya, J. C. Thomas, K. Thornton and A. Van der Ven
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43154A, Paper

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This week’s HOT articles

Take a look at this week’s selection! These articles are available free for a limited time: Graphical abstract: Doping high-surface-area mesoporous TiO2 microspheres with carbonate for visible light hydrogen production

Colossal pseudocapacitance in a high functionality–high surface area carbon anode doubles the energy of an asymmetric supercapacitor
Zhi Li, Zhanwei Xu, Huanlei Wang, Jia Ding, Beniamin Zahiri, Chris M. B. Holt, Xuehai Tan and David Mitlin
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43979H, Paper

A multiple ion-exchange membrane design for redox flow batteries
Shuang Gu, Ke Gong, Emily Z. Yan and Yushan Yan
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00165F, Paper

Doping high-surface-area mesoporous TiO2 microspheres with carbonate for visible light hydrogen production
Bin Liu, Li-Min Liu, Xiu-Feng Lang, Hsin-Yi Wang, Xiong Wen (David) Lou and Eray S. Aydil
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00472H, Communication

Pseudocapacitive oxide materials for high-rate electrochemical energy storage
Veronica Augustyn, Patrice Simon and Bruce Dunn
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE44164D, Review Article

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Microfluidic fuel cells on paper

Instrument-free point-of-care diagnostic devices could be taken to the next level with the development of microfluidic fuel cells on paper.

Paper is cheap, biodegradable, thin and flexible, making it an ideal base material for single-use tests. The paper-based microfluidic fuel cells created by Juan Pablo Esquivel, at the Barcelona Microelectronics Institute of the National Microelectronics Centre, IMB-CNM (CSIC), in Spain, and colleagues, were inspired by the convenience and simplicity of lateral flow test strips – pregnancy tests are probably the most well-known example of these – and take advantage of capillary diffusion to transport reactants without external pumps.

Interested to know more? Read the full news article by Jennifer Newton on Chemistry World here…

Read the original article in EES – it’s open access

Microfluidic fuel cells on paper: meeting the power needs of next generation lateral flow devices
Juan Pablo Esquivel Bojorquez, Javier Del Campo, de la Fuente José Luis, Sergio Rojas and Neus Sabaté
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE44044C, Paper

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This week’s HOT articles

Take a look at this week’s selection! These articles are available free for a limited time: Graphical abstract: Na0.67Mn1−xMgxO2 (0 ≤ x ≤ 0.2): a high capacity cathode for sodium-ion batteries

Na0.67Mn1−xMgxO2 (0 ≤ x ≤ 0.2): a high capacity cathode for sodium-ion batteries
Juliette Billaud, Gurpreet Singh, A. Robert Armstrong, Elena Gonzalo, Vladimir Roddatis, Michel Armand, Teófilo Rojo and Peter G. Bruce
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE00465E, Communication

Energy storage applications of activated carbons: supercapacitors and hydrogen storage
Marta Sevilla and Robert Mokaya
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43525C, Review Article

Novel “3-D spacer” all fibre piezoelectric textiles for energy harvesting applications
Navneet Soin, Tahir H. Shah, Subhash C. Anand, Junfeng Geng, Wiwat Pornwannachai, Pranab Mandal, David Reid, Surbhi Sharma, Ravi L. Hadimani, Derman Vatansever Bayramol and Elias Siores
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43987A, Paper

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Revealing electron transfer in current-producing bacteria

Researchers from Japan and the USA have found the first clue to the electron transfer mechanism in a species of current-producing bacteria.

Some bacteria can generate electrical energy from its metabolic systems, and they are used in microbial fuel cells and bioremediation processes. Geobacter sulfurreducens is the most efficient current-producing bacteria found so far, but there is no conclusive mechanism for electron transfer from the bacteria to the electrode.

In this paper, Ryuhei Nakamura et al. the authors identify self-secreted flavin as the electron shuttle involved in this extracellular electron transfer (EET). For this bacteria, free-floating flavin in the solution does not contribute to EET, as changing the solution to a fresh one did not impact current production. Instead, electron transfer occurs through flavin bound to c-type cytochromes (c-Cyts) on the outer membrane.

The authors confirmed flavin secretion by spectroscopy and mass chromatography, and voltammetry showed that current production was influenced by the amount of flavin present. The importance of c-Cyts was revealed by a mutant comparison experiment, in which a mutant lacking several major c-Cyts produced less current than the wild type.

Extracellular electron transfer (EET) is a key step in current production from bacteria, and understanding the mechanisms involved can lead to optimization of microbial fuel cells.

by Bhavin Siritanaratkul

For more information read this Energy & Environmental Science article:

Uptake of self-secreted flavins as bound cofactors for extracellular electron transfer in Geobacter species
Akihiro Okamoto, Koichiro Saito, Kengo Inoue, Kenneth H. Nealson, Kazuhito Hashimoto and Ryuhei Nakamura
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43674H

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A Neutral Solution: Reliable PEC H2 Production at Near Neutral pH

In an exciting breakthrough in photoelectrochemical (PEC) solar generator development, a new report describes a methodology for robust H2 production in a near neutral environment.

Robust production of purified H2 in a stable, self-regulating, and continuously operating solar fuel generator

The development of practical, sustainable solar fuel generators comes with many challenges. Not only do the materials and components used need to be cost-effective and abundant, but the devices also need to be able to consistently produce purified fuels over long periods of time under environmentally benign conditions. A challenge to meeting all of these requirements has been in the creation of devices that are stable using either strong acid or basic electrolytes. A recent EES paper by Modestino et al. describes the development of a controlled recirculating stream across reactions sites to yield continuous solar-hydrogen generation in near neutral pH electrolytes.

In this report, researchers from the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis and collaborating institutions describe alternate ion transport pathways that allow for operation under a near neutral pH. By creating a recirculation scheme to balance the concentration across the membrane in a membrane-separated photoelectrochemical (PEC) system, the authors achieved robust production of separated product streams (pure hydrogen and oxygen) via their ion-transport membrane components.

Designing a PEC device that operates using neutral pH electrolytes enables the use of catalytic and light absorbing components that would degrade in acidic or basic environments. The methodology described in this paper can provide researchers with a platform to experiment with different materials and hopefully optimize solar-to-hydrogen efficiency. It will be interesting to see the implementation of this methodology in future research, and if this approach ultimately provides a good solution to one major obstacle in the creation of scalable, sustainable, and robust solar fuel generators.

Read more in the full EES article here:

Robust production of purified H2 in a stable, self-regulating, and continuously operating solar fuel generator
Miguel A. Modestino, Karl A. Walczak, Alan Berger, Christopher M. Evans, Sophia Haussener, Carl Koval, John S. Newman, Joel W. Ager and Rachel A. Segalman
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014,7, 297-301
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43214A

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