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
- Tapping geothermal can propel Nevada communities forward, says Guinnon September 13, 2019 at 4:19 pm
Rural communities in Nevada are welcoming the Bureau of Land Management proposal to open up public lands for geothermal energy production. On Sept. 17, 2019 the agency is set to launch the bidding ...
- Renewable Energy market is rapidly growing by the increasing adoption of technologies such as solar and hydropower energyon September 13, 2019 at 5:59 am
The global Renewable Energy is segmented by energy type into Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Geothermal Energy, Biomass Energy, Hydropower Energy and Others; by Application into Automotive, Construction, ...
- Geothermal Energy Market: Global Trends, Analysis and Forecast 2024on September 12, 2019 at 10:28 pm
Geothermal Energy Market is set to surpass USD 57 billion by 2024. Growing energy demand from heating & cooling systems including district heating and ground source heat pump will drive the geothermal ...
- Razor Energy Corp. Closes Strategic Acquisition and Announces Intention to Commence New Normal Course Issuer Bidon September 11, 2019 at 5:33 pm
11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Razor Energy Corp. ("Razor" or the "Company ... risks associated with the oil and gas industry and geothermal electricity projects in general (e.g., operational ...
- Deepest Geothermal Energy Well In The UK Over 3 Miles Into The Earth!on September 11, 2019 at 9:12 am
How low can you go? Maybe this well will have the answer. The UK's deepest geothermal energy well has finally been completed with a depth of 3.1 miles into the earth.
- Daily on Energy: House GOP mounts counter-attack to Democratic anti-drilling billson September 11, 2019 at 8:55 am
“By encouraging not just conventional energy development, but renewable and alternative sources like geothermal, wind, and solar, the American Energy First Act is an all-of-the-above solution that ...
- Global Geothermal Drill Bits Market for Power Generation 2019-2023 | 9% CAGR Projection Over the Next Five Years | Technavioon September 11, 2019 at 4:50 am
(Graphic: Business Wire) "The growing world population and the rapid industrialization in developing nations has triggered the global demand for energy. Thus, the use of geothermal energy is ...
- U.K. Closes In on First Geothermal Power Plant as Drilling Endson September 11, 2019 at 1:00 am
The U.K. could be producing electricity from a geothermal plant for the first time early next decade after drilling at a site in southwest England showed it could become a viable part of the renewable ...
- Geothermal Energy Event Opens This Week in Palm Springson September 11, 2019 at 12:10 am
PALM SPRINGS, Ca., September 11, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The city of Palm Springs will welcome an international audience at the Opening Session of the meeting on Monday, September 16.
- Geothermal Energy Market 2019 Insights and Forecast Research Report 2024 - MRE Reporton September 8, 2019 at 11:05 pm
Sep 09, 2019 (Heraldkeepers) -- New York, September 09, 2019: Geothermal energy is produced from the heat that is naturally available from the earth. Steam or hot water is used to deliver geothermal ...
via Bing News