Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 42

Power & Energy
be used in conjunction with batteries to
reduce charge-discharge cycles, extend
battery life, and add an extra layer of
redundancy.
In a typical facility, flywheel systems
require 50 to 75 percent less space than
an equivalent power-rated battery bank.
Also, flywheels do not require a temperature-controlled
environment, as they
comfortably operate from 0 to 40 C.
Microgrids and electric rail applications
also demonstrate the reliability and cost
benefits of flywheel energy storage.
Flywheels offer an environmentally and
financially sound choice in protecting
critical operations.
For more information, visit http://
info.hotims.com/79415-122.
Pyroelectric Sandwich Thermal Energy Harvester
The technology harvests electrical energy from waste heat sources.
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
ASA Langley developed a technology
that harvests electrical energy utilizing
a pyroelectric device that generates
voltage when cyclically heated. The de -
vice consists of a pyroelectric material
sandwiched between two electrodes,
which in turn are contained within two
N
thermally conductive protective layers,
an electrical circuit designed to harvest
the voltage generated thermally, and an
energy storage unit.
The technology was designed to provide
a small, renewable, and portable
power source for spacecraft. Since it
works on the principle of converting
ambient waste heat to electrical energy
for operating electronics, it can also be
used in terrestrial applications such as
powering electronics in motor vehicles
and wireless sensor networks for In ter -
net of Things (IOT) applications that
experience thermal cycles, among
other applications.
The technology will enable more efficient
utilization of solar and thermal
energy production through harvesting
energy that is currently lost as waste
heat. It has been demonstrated to produce
electricity in the milliwatt range
and requires
further development
maximize power generation.
NASA is actively seeking licensees to comSamples
of pyroelectric energy harvester devices. (Image credit: NASA/Jin Ho Kang)
mercialize this technology. Please contact
NASA's Licensing Concierge at AgencyPatent-Licensing@mail.nasa.gov
or call us
at 202-358-7432 to initiate licensing discussions.
Follow this link for more information:
https://technology.nasa.gov/patent/LARTOPS-221.
Carbon
Fiber Structural Battery for " Mass-Less " Energy
Storage in Vehicles
The carbon fiber serves as the electrode, conductor, and load-bearing material.
Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
he batteries in today's electric cars
constitute a large part of the vehicles'
weight, without fulfilling any load-bearing
function. A structural battery, on the
other hand, works as both a power
source and as part of the structure; for
example, in a car body. This is termed
" mass-less " energy storage because the
battery's weight vanishes when it be -
comes part of the load-bearing structure.
Calculations show that this type of multifunctional
battery could greatly reduce
the weight of an electric vehicle.
T
42
Cov
Researchers developed a structural
battery that uses carbon fiber as a negative
electrode and a lithium iron phosphate-coated
aluminum foil as the positive
electrode. The carbon fiber acts as a
host for the lithium and thus stores the
energy. Since the carbon fiber also conducts
electrons, the need for copper and
silver conductors is avoided, reducing
the weight even further. Both the carbon
fiber and the aluminum foil contribute
to the mechanical properties of the
structural battery. The two electrode ma -
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ToC
terials are kept separated by a fiberglass
fabric in a structural electrolyte matrix.
The task of the electrolyte is to transport
the lithium ions between the two electrodes
of the battery but also to transfer
mechanical loads between carbon fibers
and other parts.
The battery has an energy density of
24 Wh/kg, meaning approximately 20
percent capacity compared to comparable
lithium-ion batteries currently
available. But since the weight of the
vehicles can be greatly reduced, less en -
Tech Briefs, July 2021
to
http://info.hotims.com/79415-122 https://technology.nasa.gov/patent/LAR-TOPS-221 http://www.techbriefs.com http://www.abpi.net/ntbpdfclicks/l.php?202107TBNAV

Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021

Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Cov2
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 1
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 2
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 3
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 4
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Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Cov3
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Cov4
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