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ENERGY TECH
A battery prototype powered by atmospheric nitrogen
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 19, 2017


This is an artistic illustration of Zhang and colleagues' proof-of-concept experiment, which successfully implements a reversible nitrogen cycle based on rechargeable Li-N2 batteries with promising electrochemical faradic efficiency. Image courtesy Zhang et. al.

As the most abundant gas in Earth's atmosphere, nitrogen has been an attractive option as a source of renewable energy. But nitrogen gas - which consists of two nitrogen atoms held together by a strong, triple covalent bond - doesn't break apart under normal conditions, presenting a challenge to scientists who want to transfer the chemical energy of the bond into electricity. In the journal Chem on April 13, researchers in China present one approach to capturing atmospheric nitrogen that can be used in a battery.

The "proof-of-concept" design works by reversing the chemical reaction that powers existing lithium-nitrogen batteries. Instead of generating energy from the breakdown of lithium nitride (2Li3N) into lithium and nitrogen gas, the researchers' battery prototype runs on atmospheric nitrogen in ambient conditions and reacts with lithium to form lithium nitride. Its energy output is brief but comparable to that of other lithium-metal batteries.

"This promising research on a nitrogen fixation battery system not only provides fundamental and technological progress in the energy storage system but also creates an advanced N2/Li3N (nitrogen gas/lithium nitride) cycle for a reversible nitrogen fixation process," says senior author Xin-Bo Zhang, of the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"The work is still at the initial stage. More intensive efforts should be devoted to developing the battery systems." Chem, Ma and Bao et al.: "Reversible Nitrogen Fixation Based on Rechargeable Lithium-Nitrogen Battery for Energy Storage"

Research paper

ENERGY TECH
Art of paper-cutting inspires self-charging paper device
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 13, 2017
Despite the many advances in portable electronic devices, one thing remains constant: the need to plug them into a wall socket to recharge. Now researchers, reporting in the journal ACS Nano, have developed a light-weight, paper-based device inspired by the Chinese and Japanese arts of paper-cutting that can harvest and store energy from body movements. Portable electronic devices, such as ... read more

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