Researchers from the National University of Singapore’s Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Initiative have developed a soft, foldable membrane using a polystyrene-based polymer. When sandwiched between two charged metal plates it can store charge at 0.2 farads per square centimeter, which is claimed to be well above the typical upper limit of one microfarad per square centimeter for a standard capacitor.
DOE Secretary Steven Chu and Minister of Knowledge Economy Joong-Kyung Choi of the Republic of Korea signed a new agreement establishing the U.S.-Korea Clean Energy Technology Partnership that will strengthen bilateral cooperation in clean energy technology research and development. The two countries will cooperate on clean energy research in areas including energy efficiency, renewable energy, smart grid technology, green transportation, carbon capture and storage, and energy storage systems. Researchers from both countries will be able to exchange scientific and technical information, organize workshops, and consult to promote joint R&D projects, among other forms of collaboration.
“We have made great strides in two critical areas: power density and cost. Our 2011-model fuel-cell stack delivers power density at 2.5 kilowatts per liter, 2.5 times better than our 2005 model,” says Masanari Yanagisawa, a 10-year veteran in the company’s fuel-cell R&D efforts. “As a result, the new stack is also a lot smaller. We can now pack 85 kilowatts of power in a 34-liter package. Better yet, we have brought the production cost down by 85 percent, close to meeting the Department of Energy cost target for 2010, a widely referenced benchmark. We slashed the price by reducing the need for platinum by 75 percent. The membrane electrode assembly comprises 80 percent of the stack’s cost, and platinum is half the cost of an MEA, so this was a huge step forward.” The other key challenge in developing fuel-cell stacks is to design a structure that delivers high power density that’s durable and easy to manufacture without flaws.