MONDAY 01 JULY, 2013 |
Australian Invention Could Revolutionise Solar Energy Storage
ANU researchers have developed a material that can store large amounts of power
rapidly - and with very little energy loss.
Based on the mineral rutile, it is a 'dielectric' material; which are used in
the construction of capacitors.
say their material is superior to current capacitors in energy
absorption, is cheaper to manufacture and can function effectively in a massive
temperature range: -190°C to 180°C.
"With further development, the material could be used in ‘supercapacitors’ which store enormous amounts of energy, removing current energy storage limitations and throwing the door wide open for innovation in the areas of renewable energy, electric cars, even space and defence
technologies," says Associate Professor Liu of the ANU Research School of
"When we first found this material we knew it had great potential. It’s
friendly to the environment, non-toxic and abundant."
Aside from use in electric cars, co-author of a paper detailing the new
material, Professor Ray Withers, says capacitors based on the material could be
particularly useful in conjunction with wind and solar power generation.
Rutile is a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide. The main uses of rutile
to date have been as a pigment and for the production of titanium metal.
Titanium dioxide is also used in sunscreen because of its ability to reflect UV
light and in Dye
Sensitised Solar Cells
Australia has the largest known reserves of the mineral and supplies around 25 per cent of
the world's rutile. According to the Australian
, Victoria has the largest share of Australia’s inferred rutile
resources with 62.9% followed by NSW (22.7%), SA (4.8%), Qld (4.7%) and WA
Australia’s Economic Demonstrated Resources of rutile represented the world’s largest economic resources in 2011
In 2011, Australia produced, 474 000 tonnes of the mineral.
The image above shows needles of rutile protruding from a quartz crystal.
Other news for Monday 01 July, 2013
Return to main renewable energy news section
Other Energy Matters News Services