Electrics for Renewables Reinvented at ICREN Barcelona

Dr Peter Harrop
Electrics for Renewables Reinvented at ICREN Barcelona
The first day of the International Renewable Energy Conference (ICREN) in Barcelona, Spain 25 April had outstanding keynote presentations. Prof. Patrice Simon of the Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse addressed, "2-and 3-Dimensional Materials for Electrochemical Capacitors" showing how a new approach to supercapacitors holds potential to double the market-limiting energy density from 10 to 20Wh/kg and how a new approach to pseudocapacitors can provide power density greater than even supercapacitors. This is emerging from his study of the ionic fluxes and ion adsorption into porous carbon materials. He also explained potential beyond the carbon-based supercapacitors offered by 2-dimensional MXene materials, for increasing the energy density of these devices. Here the M stands for a transition metal such as Ti and the X stands for C or N. These materials have few toxicity or material cost issues.
Clay electronics
Professor Yuri Gogotski of Drexel University USA revealed that 2D materials now encompass a wide choice and even formulations that were previously thought unsuitable for 2D structuring. Most forms of electrical and electronics function are now , opening up the opportunity to layer one material/ function on another in very flexible sheets ideal for many applications. We could call it clay electronics for, as he pointed out, clay is the most widely used 2D material today and its benefits of easy water processing with little area constraint extends to most of the alternative 2D families he called metals, BP, TMD, MOF, COF, MXene, LDH and oxides with some having no van der Waals bonded precursors - silicene, germanene, phosphorene, borophene and electrides such as Ca2C, Y2C.
We learned how an MXene triboelectric nanogenerator has been made and demonstrated for touch monitoring, making its own electricity. Indeed, he pointed us to published work on 2D materials in supercapacitors, Li-ion and Na-ion batteries, LiS and Li, Na and Mg metal batteries, electrocatalysis, multifunctional composites, transparent conductive coatings, sensors, sorbents, water purification, desalination, bactericidal films, plasmonics, lubricants, FETs, neurosensors, EMI shielding, hydrogen storage, thermoelectrics, lasers and other electronic devices. They are being tailored to be transparent where needed and toxicity is rarely an issue. Indeed, many will be adopted because they are safer and lower cost, not just for superior performance.
Other presentations showed how fuel cells will be improved with new materials and hydrogen and other chemicals will not be made by producing electricity by photovoltaics and then a chemical process but going straight there with new materials exploiting photoelectrochemical effects. For more see the IDTechEx reports, "Triboelectric Energy Harvesting TENG 2017-2027", "Structural Electronics 2018-2028", "Toxicants and Alternatives in Electronics and Electrical Engineering 2018-2028" and "Graphene, 2D Materials and Carbon Nanotubes: Markets, technologies and Opportunities 2017-2027".
Top image: Prof. Frede Blaabjerg from Aalborg University is delivering the first Plenary speech of today in the Auditorium: Power Electronics — The Key Technology For Renewable Energy System Integrationsource: International Conference on Renewable Energy - ICREN 2018