The need to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy technologies is becoming more urgent, and Australia’s trading partners are demanding low-emission energy sources.
Electricity production from renewables can be variable, and any excess electricity must be stored for use on days with less wind or sun. Battery systems are used for storage, but they have limitations.
An alternative is to store energy in the form of hydrogen.
Perth researchers help Chevron keep oil and gas flowing smoothly
Out in the Gulf of Mexico Chevron are operating a $7.5 billion platform that’s recovering oil and gas from two-kilometre-deep ocean.
It’s the largest and deepest operation in the Gulf, with over 146km of pipeline bringing oil and gas to refineries.
But pipelines operating at extreme depths in cold water and crushing pressure are prone to blockage. University of Western Australia researchers are helping Chevron keep oil and gas flowing through deep-water pipes.
Commercialising the technology or the next generation of lithium batteries is the target for a team of Indonesian and Australian scientists, who are backed by battery manufacturer PT Nipress Tbk.
Lithium batteries allow for a large amount of energy to be packed into a small space. But they’re costly compared to single use ‘disposable’ batteries, and have special requirements for transportation and storage.
Professor Thomas Maschmeyer is working to integrate new battery and solar cell technologies into the walls and roofs of new houses, and to transform the somewhat ‘black art’ of catalysis—the process that cracks crude oil into useful fuels, oils and chemicals at every refinery. He has already helped to create over 200 new jobs with four spin-out companies.
Lithium batteries have transformed power storage—from smartphones to electric cars and submarines. But like every battery their chemical composition changes through every charge cycle.
Lithium ions sitting in layers of graphite move between electrodes and change the oxidation state of, magnesium oxide, for example. The chemical rearrangements cause the graphite and oxide layers to physically expand and contract by up to 15 per cent at every cycle, cracking and detaching from the electrodes.
Patented University of Wollongong technology is being used to create foldable batteries and textiles that are super strong, light, can repel water, and act as sensors.
Australian company Imagine Intelligent Materials has a commercial licensing deal to use the graphene manufacturing technology, developed at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) at the University of Wollongong.
Solving the problem of how to store energy is essential for a future run on renewables.
That’s why promising materials for hydrogen fuel cells and high capacity, long-lived batteries are being explored at the atomic level by the Australian Synchrotron.
Australian Synchrotron scientist Dr Qinfen Gu is investigating a new class of hydrogen storage materials being developed by scientists at the University of Wollongong and their international collaborators.Qinfen is using the powerful X-rays of the synchrotron to observe and analyse the structure of these materials. Continue reading New light on storing energy→
Imagine a future where recharging your tablet could be as easy as typing a tweet—where portable electronic devices power themselves without ever plugging into the grid.
Researchers at RMIT University, Melbourne have assessed the capacity of piezoelectric films—thin layers that turn mechanical pressure into electricity—to do this.
The study is the first to evaluate how piezoelectric thin films, a thousandth of a millimetre thick, perform at the molecular level, precisely measuring the level of electrical voltage and current—and therefore, power—that could be generated. Continue reading A step towards an everlasting battery→
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