A group of researchers at the University of Oxford have developed an approach that allows them to generate and distribute energy on Earth, at a rate that is comparable to the production of solar energy on an annual basis.
The researchers at Oxford’s Energy and Resources Institute (ERI) and the University at Buffalo (UB) are using their unique approach to generate energy, in a way that could make it easier for researchers around the globe to generate the energy needed for their research needs.
The researchers have demonstrated their concept in a series of experiments, using the process to generate power for a variety of industries.
This week, the research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) and was presented by ERI’s Director of Research, Dr. Peter Neeley.
Dr. Nee, the principal investigator of the experiment, said the approach works well for the energy it generates.
“What we’re interested in is actually building a battery for a device that can generate electricity, but that also has a low energy cost, which we think is a major benefit of the system,” Dr. Nieley said.
“The battery is made of lithium, but we’re actually using silicon and gold, which is what is normally used in solar cells.”
We’ve been using the silicon-to-gold method in this system to create an electrode material.
When we put that into a battery, the silicon oxide absorbs the lithium, and then it starts to convert it to gold oxide.
“When you heat the battery, it releases that gold oxide, and you can convert that to lithium.
That’s what’s the energy in the battery.”
Dr. John Bresnik, another co-author on the study and a research associate at the ERI, said that while the process works well, there is a downside.
“Our process is extremely energy intensive.
When you add that to the problem of a device having to be portable and have a power source, the energy cost increases,” Dr Bresnic said.”[The battery] also doesn’t have to be as expensive as solar panels.
We’ve built the system with a lot of the same technology used in wind turbines.”
I think that’s the big difference here, it’s a battery that’s a lot cheaper than a solar panel.
“For the next several years, the researchers are hoping to develop the process into a commercially viable energy source, so that energy producers around the country can take advantage of the technology.”
If we can develop it, and people can get it in their home and they’re comfortable using it, then it’s not just a hobby to them, it could be something that they use to do research and be productive.
“It could be a way to get people to take advantage [of] solar energy.”
The research was published in the Journal of Applied Physics.