Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Sanoh Industrial developed a very stable battery cell that can directly convert heat into electricity, thus finally providing a way for exploiting geothermal energy in a sustainable way.
In a world where energy consumption is on the rise, our only hope is the development of new energy-generation technologies. Although currently used renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy have their merits, there is a gigantic, permanent, and untapped energy source quite literally under our noses: geothermal energy.
Generating electricity from geothermal energy requires devices that can somehow make use of the heat within the Earth’s crust. Recently, a team of scientists at Tokyo Tech, led by Dr. Sachiko Matsushita, have made great progress in the understanding and development of sensitized thermal cells (STCs), a kind of battery that can generate electric power at 100 ? or less.
Several methods for converting heat into electric power exist, however, their large-scale application is not feasible. For example, hot-and-cold redox batteries and devices based on the Seebeck effect are not possible to simply bury them inside a heat source and exploit them.
Dr. Matsushita’s team have previously reported the use of STCs as a new method for converting heat directly into electric power using dye-sensitized solar cells. They also replaced the dye with a semiconductor to allow the system to operate using heat instead of light. Figure 1 illustratively represents the STC, a battery that consists of three layers sandwiched between electrodes: an electron transport layer (ETM), a semiconductor layer (germanium), and a solid electrolyte layer (copper ions). In short, electrons go from a low-energy state to a high-energy state in the semiconductor by becoming thermally excited and then get transferred naturally to the ETM. Afterwards, they leave through the electrode, go through an external circuit, pass through the counter electrode, and then reach the electrolyte. Oxidation and reduction reactions involving copper ions take place at both interfaces of the electrolyte, resulting in low-energy electrons being transferred to the semiconductor layer so that the process can begin anew, thus completing an electric circuit.
However, it was not clear at that time whether such a battery could be used as a perpetual engine or if the current would stop at some point. After testing, the team observed that electricity indeed stopped flowing after a certain time and proposed a mechanism explaining this phenomenon. Basically, current stops because the redox reactions at the electrolyte layer stop owing to the relocation of the different types of copper ions. Most importantly, and also surprisingly, they found out that the battery can revert this situation itself in the presence of heat by simply opening the external circuit for some time; in other words, by using a simple switch. “With such a design, heat, usually regarded as low-quality energy, would become a great renewable energy source,” states Matsushita.
The team is very excited about their discovery because of its applicability, eco-friendliness, and potential for helping solve the global energy crisis. “There is no fear of radiation, no fear of expensive oil, no instability of power generation like when relying on the sun or the wind,” remarks Matsushita. Further refinements to this type of battery will be the aim of future research, with the hope of one day solving humanity’s energy needs without harming our planet.
The Latest on: Geothermal energy
via Google News
The Latest on: Geothermal energy
- Kenya: Cook Using Electricity, Energy CS Keter Urges Householdson June 24, 2020 at 5:41 am
Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter is urging households to consider using electricity to cook as demand for power continues to drop due to the restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Africa: Iceland, a World Leader in Clean Energy, Supports Africa's Push for Geothermal Poweron June 24, 2020 at 1:54 am
But over the next century, the island nation would pull off one of the great energy makeovers in history, casting off fossil fuels and embracing geothermal power. Today, nearly 100 percent of ...
- Contact Energy signs on Sumitomo and Fuji Electric for Tauhara geothermal project, NZon June 23, 2020 at 7:17 pm
New Zealand power company Contact Energy has signed a contract with Sumitomo Corp. for the construction of the Tauhara geothermal power project ...
- Trevian-Managed Spektri Business Park to Implement New Innovative Energy Recycling for Energy Savingson June 23, 2020 at 1:03 am
Spektri Business Park in Finland is implementing a large-scale project to reduce energy consumption and emissions, with the aim of ...
- Steamboat Hills Geothermal Power Plant Enhancement in Nevada Begins Commercial Operationon June 22, 2020 at 3:45 am
(NYSE: ORA) announced that the enhancement of its Steamboat Hills geothermal power plant located near Reno, Nevada is complete and achieved commercial operation on June 6, 2020. Enhancement work ...
- Insights into the Worldwide Geothermal Power Market to 2026 - Rise in Demand for Renewable Energy is Helping to Drive the Market - ResearchAndMarkets.comon June 19, 2020 at 7:41 am
The global geothermal power market was valued at $4.6 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $6.8 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 5.0% from 2019 to 2026. “Geothermal Power Market by Power ...
- Indonesia’s $300m geothermal play risks being undercut by cheap coalon June 19, 2020 at 1:07 am
A newly secured loan of $300 million for Indonesia to boost its geothermal energy generation will be wasted amid a glut of cheap coal power, and also could contribute to environmental degradation, ...
- Dandelion Energy Announces Douglas De Angelo as Senior Vice President of Operationson June 18, 2020 at 12:19 pm
PRNewswire/ -- Dandelion Energy, the country's fastest-growing green home geothermal company, today announced Douglas De Angelo as the company's Senior ...
- Burden of COVID-19 on the Market & Rehabilitation Plan | Geothermal Power Market 2020-2024 | Advantages of Geothermal Energy to Boost Growth | Technavioon June 18, 2020 at 5:24 am
Technavio has announced its latest market research report titled Global Geothermal Power Market 2020-2024 (Graphic: Business Wire) LONDON-- ( BUSINESS WIRE )--Technavio has been monitoring the ...
- What to Know About Geothermal Heating and Coolingon June 16, 2020 at 2:30 pm
Geothermal heating and cooling blends ancient practices with modern technology. But is this environmentally friendly solution right for your home?
via Bing News