March 7, 2011 | News
Last week, the CUNY Energy Institute showed off some of its most exciting work at the annual ARPA-E innovation summit and technology showcase. Members of the Energy Institute team were able to demonstrate zinc-nickel and cadmium-manganese dioxide cells built in our lab. We received a grant from ARPA-E to develop innovative, low-cost grid-scale energy storage using zinc-manganese dioxide cells. Zinc and manganese dioxide are safe and abundant. They are the typical components of disposable primary batteries (AA, etc.), but we are looking at them a new way and transforming the technology into a fully rechargeable system.
Scaled up, these batteries could provide flexible energy storage to help meet America’s energy needs without emissions. The modular batteries we are producing could be used for peak shaving, transmission and distribution deferrals, or as back-up power sources for intermittent renewable sources such as wind and solar.
In another booth, we were demonstrating thin-film barium titanate nanocrystal technology known as Metacapacitors—which we are planning to apply in integrated power conversion and energy storage electronics devices. One of our study focuses is on converting alternate current (AC) power to DC (direct current) power for LEDs (light-emitting diodes), which are very sensitive to changes in current levels.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) of the Department of Energy was initially funded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), better known as President Obama’s stimulus package. ARPA-E is modeled on the highly successful Defense Department program, DARPA, which supported the development of the internet and stealth technologies. ARPA-E has focused on high-risk, high-reward projects that may not be attractive to typical investors in their early stages. We would like to thank the Department of Energy—and especially the ARPA-E team—for its strong support. ARPA-E is funding important, innovative technologies and helping to bring them from the lab to the commercial stage.