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Energy Efficiency

May 2020
Ohio Announces Results of Hyperloop Feasibility Study
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) has released the results of their Midwest Connect study, exploring a hyperloop connection between Columbus, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. The study found that the route would create $300 billion in overall economic benefits and reduce CO2 emission by 4 million tons. 
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Date:
05/29/2020
Onboard Separation Technology set to Improve Fuel Economy
A technology developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory could pave the way for increased fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions as part of an octane-on-demand fuel-delivery system. Designed to work with a car's existing fuel, the onboard separation tech
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05/22/2020
Fusion Plasma Discovery Could Help Realize Fusion Power

PPPL physicist Ammar Hakim, left, and graduate student Noah Mandell with figures from Mandell's paper showing the first computer simulations of kinetic plasma turbulence near the edge of fusion devices that can account for fluctuations of magnetic field lines.

A major roadblock to producing safe, clean and abundant fusion energy on Earth is the lack of detailed understanding of how the hot, charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions behaves at the edge of fusion facilities called "tokamaks." Recent breakthroughs by researchers at the U.S. Department of
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05/22/2020

CCell Renewables and Vicor to Power new Coral Reef Growth
CCell Renewables is a marine engineering company with a mission to combat coastal erosion and enhance marine ecosystems by restoring and growing new coral reefs on a large scale. According to the latest figures over 70% of the world's coastlines are eroding. With 200 million people worldwide reliant on the protection tha
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05/19/2020
CS Energy Completes Construction of NJ's Largest Solar Plant
CS Energy, LLC, has successfully completed the largest solar project in New Jersey. The project owner, Ben Moreell Solar Farm, LLC and Department of the Navy (DON) executed a lease for approximately 170 acres of underutilized land for the purpose of constructing a 28.5 MW ground-mount project located at Naval We
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05/18/2020
Making Flexible Thin-Film Electronics More Durable

Professor Jae Eun Jang (back) and Ms. Su Jin Heo (front) next to their experimental setup, with which they observed how cracks formed and propagated in thin flexible conductors with various types of micro-hole arrays.

The prospect of the widespread commercialization and application of flexible electronics has kept researchers worldwide searching for ingenious ways to enhance their performance and durability. From wearable smart devices to solar cells and health sensors, flexible electronics holds much promise in many engineering fi
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05/18/2020
Efficient, 'Green' Quantum-Dot Solar Cells Exploit Defects

Scanning electron microscope image of electrodes infiltrated with quantum dots (left) and the corresponding distributions of Cu, In, Zn and Se across the film thickness.

Novel quantum dot solar cells developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory match the efficiency of existing quantum-dot based devices, but without lead or other toxic elements that most solar cells of this type rely on. "This quantum-dot approach shows great promise for a new type of toxic-element-free, inexpensi
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05/18/2020
Polymer Glass Provides Support for Hydrogen Fuel Cells

The molecular structure of the new polymer glass facilitated the movement of protons (H+) across it under dry conditions at 120°C.

Scientists at Japan's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) are leading efforts to synthesize stronger and efficient materials for hydrogen fuel cell membranes. Most fuel cells currently on the market employ liquid membranes. A new coordination polymer glass membrane, reported in the journal Che
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05/13/2020
Organic Layers Toward Efficient p-i-n Perovskite Solar Cells

Pero-SCs based on blade-coated BDT-TPA-sTh HTL and MAPbI3 active layer: (a) J-V curves in the reverse-scan direction; inset: schematic illustration of blade-coated HTLs. (b) J-V curves of a 1-cm2 pero-SC module in the reverse-scan direction; inset: schematic illustration of device-structure of modules.

Perovskite solar cells (pero-SCs) show great potential in the photoelectric fields due to high power conversion efficiency (PCE), simple processing technology, low fabrication cost, etc.. Recently, the highest certificated PCE of pero-SC has reached 25.2%, which shows great promise for the commercialization. Th
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05/13/2020
Bear Power Supplies Wins Contract to Design EV Charger
Bear Power Supplies has won a contract to design a charger for lithium-ion battery packs for an electrical vehicle (EV) application. The custom 550-Watt AC/DC converter will have a universal 120/240 VAC input for worldwide use. It will feature a fan-less design, rugged aluminum housing, and custom output cable. "Our design engin
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05/12/2020
3D-Printed Nuclear Reactor for Faster Path to Nuclear Energy

The Transformational Challenge Reactor Demonstration Program uses thermal imaging to actively monitor the direct deposition of stainless steel to 3D print a component. The hexagonal structure took close to 40 hours to build, with temperatures reaching over 1,400 degrees Celsius around the melt pool where a laser heats and melts while adding a new layer.

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are refining their design of a 3D-printed nuclear reactor core, scaling up the additive manufacturing process necessary to build it, and developing methods to confirm the consistency and reliability of its printed components. The Transforma
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05/12/2020
Study Analyzes the Unexpected Behavior of Hydrogen Flames

Propagation of an "ultra-lean" hydrogen flame in a very narrow combustion chamber. The images on the left show a flame propagating vertically downward; those on the right are burning in the opposite direction. The dark markings show the path followed by the flame, while the lighter parts show the hydrogen that has not been burned.

Hydrogen flames can propagate even with very little fuel, within surprisingly narrow gaps and can extend breaking up into fractal patterns. That is the unexpected physical behavior of this gas when it burns, which has been detected by a scientific team led by researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (U
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05/12/2020
Defective Graphene has High Electrocatalytic Activity

This is defective graphene.

Scientists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Skoltech, and the Russian Academy of Sciences Joint Institute for High Temperatures have conducted a theoretical study of the effects of defects in graphene on electron transfer at the graphene-solution interface. Their calculations show that defects ca
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05/11/2020
Silicon Labs SoCs, Now at Mouser, Deliver Secure Performance
Mouser Electronics, Inc., is now stocking the latest Wireless Gecko system-on-chip (SoC) families from Silicon Labs. The new SoCs are highly energy efficient, delivering exceptional battery life for a range of Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The Silicon Labs EFR32BG22 (BG22) SoCs are single-chip so
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Date:
05/11/2020
Fossil Fuel-Free Jet Propulsion with Air Plasmas

A schematic diagram of a prototype microwave air plasma thruster and the images of the bright plasma jet at different microwave powers. This device consists of a microwave power supply, an air compressor, a compressed microwave waveguide and a flame ignitor.

Humans depend on fossil fuels as their primary energy source, especially in transportation. However, fossil fuels are both unsustainable and unsafe, serving as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and leading to adverse respiratory effects and devastation due to global warming. A team of researche
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05/05/2020
Saving Energy, Lives: A Solar Chimney can Boost Fire Safety
A must-have in green building design, solar chimneys can slash energy costs up to 50%. Now research reveals they could also help save lives in a building fire. In a world-first, researchers designed a solar chimney optimised for both energy saving and fire safety, as part of the sustainable features of a new
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Date:
05/05/2020
Working with High Voltage Renewable Energy Sources

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Table 1: Switch states for a 3L-NPC phase leg

The energy landscape is shifting, with growing concern over the use of carbon-based fuels and greater momentum behind making the most of renewables.  Photovoltaic (PV) panels and wind turbines are a common site across the landscape and along coastlines.  Large renewable installations require higher op
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Date:
05/04/2020
Go Green with SiC

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Figure 1: The stacked SiC FET cascode with an Si-MOSFET die on the source pad of a SiC JFET and its equivalent circuit

Initiatives to go 'carbon' neutral' such as the '2050 long-term strategy' in the EU, to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, have sharpened engineers' focus on power conversion architectures and their efficiency. Minimising losses has always been a design engineer's goal anyway; low values directly reduce energy and cooling costs while equipment can be sma
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05/04/2020
Monolithic 65 V, 8 A Step-Down Regulators with Fast Transient Response

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Figure 1. 12 V, 8 A application using LT8645S at 400 kHz

The LT8645S and LT8646S are 65 V synchronous step-down monolithic regulators capable of supporting 8 A outputs. Their Silent Switcher 2 architecture enables exceptional EMI performance regardless of layout. The LT8646S features RC external compensation to optimize transient responses. Wide In
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05/03/2020
Transforming EV Charging with New Winding Techniques

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Figure 1: Core losses for a typical ferrite material – source Ferroxcube 3C90 data

Modern power conversion techniques all push towards higher efficiency for good reason; energy saving is clearly important but there are applications where functionality is also enhanced. Examples would be alternative energy systems such as solar and wind, and electric vehicle chargers where fewer losses equate to shorter recha
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05/03/2020
Solar Inverter Design

Figure 1: Replacing a SJ with a SiC MOSFET, switching loss decreases significantly

Due to the ever-increasing demand for a clean and renewable source of energy, installing solar systems has accelerated significantly in the last decade. Contemporary solar applications require very highly efficient, power-dense and lightweight grid-tied inverters. Traditionally, IGBT has been the device of
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Date:
05/03/2020
Twisting 2D Materials Uncovers Their Superpowers

The twist angle between the layers governs the crystal symmetry and can lead to a variety of interesting physical behaviours, such as unconventional superconductivity, tunnelling conductance, nonlinear optics and structural super-lubricity.

Two-dimensional (2D) materials, which consist of a single layer of atoms, have attracted a lot of attention since the isolation of graphene in 2004. They have unique electrical, optical, and mechanical properties, like high conductivity, flexibility and strength, which makes them promising materials for such th
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Date:
05/01/2020
3D-Printed Concrete for Offshore Wind Energy Infrastructure

Illustration of a 3D-printed concrete suction pile anchor for connecting floating wind turbines to the seabed via mooring lines.

Wind off the coasts of the U.S. could be used to generate more than double the combined electricity capacity of all the nation's electric power plants, reports have suggested. But building wind turbines offshore is expensive, requiring parts to be shipped at least 30 miles away from a coast. Purdue University engine
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Date:
05/01/2020