Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Rethinking Renewables: A New Approach to Energy Storage for Wind and Solar

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Researchers Win $2 Million NSF Grant To Develop Capacitive Energy Storage System for Renewable Power Sources

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are leading a new $2 million study to help overcome a key bottleneck slowing the proliferation of large-scale wind and solar power generation.

Funded by a $2 million grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the four-year study aims to develop novel ceramic materials for use in a new approach to energy storage. Rather than batteries, the researchers will develop nanostructured capacitors to store energy that is generated and converted by wind turbines and solar panels. With an extremely high power density and the ability to very quickly charge and discharge, these nanoengineered capacitors could be a game-changer impacting a wide range of applications, from energy production to electronics to national defense.

“The transformative nature of capacitive energy storage – a totally new approach to energy storage – will have a tremendous impact on the increased use and efficiency of wind and solar power, as well as conventional coal, nuclear, and hydroelectric generation,” said Doug Chrisey, professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer, who is leading the study. “Our proposed capacitors will be smaller, lighter, and more efficient than today’s batteries, and with no moving parts the capacitors should last forever. Everyone is looking for a truly innovative material to help meet future energy requirements, and we’re confident that our novel ceramic will help advance that conversation.”

The grant was awarded through the NSF Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) Program, overseen by the NSF Engineering Directorate, which identifies and supports interdisciplinary initiatives at the emerging frontier of engineering research and education. For the study, Chrisey is partnering with renowned glass expert and Rensselaer Professor Minoru Tomozawa, along with nanoscientist and University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Professor Ram S. Katiyar.

Unlike a battery, which supplies a continuous level of low power for long periods of time, a capacitor moves large amounts of power very quickly. The ideal solution for electrical energy storage, Chrisey said, will allow fast energy storage and discharge in as small a volume or mass as possible. To achieve this, the researchers will develop a nanostructured capacitor comprising extremely thin layers of a novel composite. The composite is a mix of ferroelectric nanopowder and low-melting, alkali-free glass. The result is a capacitor that can withstand high electric fields and maintain an extremely high dielectric constant – two critical metrics for measuring the effectiveness of energy storage materials.

In addition to optimizing and perfecting the composition of the novel ceramic material, Chrisey and team are tasked with developing new processes to make the material easily and in large quantities.

“Creating a novel ceramic material and developing a cost-effective, scalable method to achieve large-capacitive energy storage could be a big boost to our national economy and increase our global competitiveness,” Chrisey said. “What we need is an entirely new approach to energy storage, and we think ferroelectric glass composites could be the answer.”

For more information on Chrisey and his research at Rensselaer, visit:

Michael Mullaney
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY
Visit the Rensselaer research and discovery blog:
Follow us on Twitter:

Michael Mullaney | Newswise Science News
Further information:

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>