Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 43

eLi+
Li+
Li+
eeStructural
battery composites cannot store as much energy as lithium-ion batteries but have several characteristics that make them highly attractive
for use in vehicles and other applications. When the battery becomes part of the load-bearing structure, the mass of the battery essentially disappears.
(Illustration: Yen Strandqvist/Chalmers University of Technology)
ergy will be required to drive an electric
car, for example, and lower energy
density also results in increased safety.
And with a stiffness of 25 GPa, the
structural battery can compete with
other commonly used construction
materials.
In further work, the performance of
the structural battery will be increased.
The aluminum foil will be replaced
with carbon fiber as a load-bearing
material in the positive electrode, providing
both increased stiffness and
energy density. The fiberglass separator
will be replaced with an ultra-thin variant
that will give a much greater effect
as well as faster charging cycles.
For more information, contact Leif Asp,
Professor, Department of Industrial and
Materials Sciences, at leif.asp@chalmers.se;
+46 31-772 15 43.
Photovoltaic Solar Cell Works at Night
This cell could potentially operate around the clock, balancing the power grid over the
day-night cycle.
University of California, Davis
A
specially designed photovoltaic cell
was developed that could generate
up to 50 watts of power per square meter
under ideal conditions at night - about a
quarter of what a conventional solar panel
can generate in the daytime.
The process is similar to the way a normal
solar cell works, but in reverse. An
object that is hot compared to its surroundings
will radiate heat as infrared
light. A conventional solar cell is cool compared
to the Sun, so it absorbs light. Space
is very cold, so if a warm object is pointed
at the sky, it will radiate heat toward it.
Another kind of device, called a thermoradiative
cell, generates power by radiating
heat to its surroundings. Re -
searchers have explored using them to
capture waste heat from engines. This
thermoradiative cell pointed at the night
sky would emit infrared light because it is
warmer than outer space.
A conventional photovoltaic or solar cell (left) absorbs photons of light from the Sun and generates
an electrical current. A thermoradiative cell (right) generates electrical current as it radiates infrared
light (heat) toward the extreme cold of deep space. Such cells could generate a significant amount
of energy and help balance the power grid over the day-night cycle. (Tristan Deppe/Jeremy Munday)
Tech Briefs, July 2021
Cov
www.techbriefs.com
ToC
A regular solar cell generates power by
absorbing sunlight, which causes a voltage
to appear across the device and for current
to flow. In these new devices, light is
instead emitted and the current and voltage
go in the opposite direction but
power is still generated. The device would
work during the day as well if steps were
taken to either block direct sunlight or
point it away from the Sun.
For more information, contact Andy Fell
at ahfell@ucdavis.edu; 530-752-4533.
43
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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
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 5
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 6
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 7
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 8
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Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - 56
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Cov3
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2021 - Cov4
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