Smart Devices to Schedule Electricity Use May Prevent Blackouts

Power plants generate electricity and send it into power lines that distribute energy to nodes where it can be used. But if the electricity load is more than the system’s capacity, transmission can fail, leading to a cascade of failures throughout the electric grid. In the journal Chaos, researchers show demand side control may be an effective solution to stabilizing the reliability of power grids that use a mix of energy generation sources.

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Improving High-Energy Lithium-Ion Batteries with Carbon Filler

Lithium-ion batteries are the major rechargeable power source for many portable devices as well as electric vehicles, but their use is limited, because they do not provide high power output while simultaneously allowing reversible energy storage. Research reported in Applied Physics Reviews aims to offer a solution by showing how the inclusion of conductive fillers improves battery performance.

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Plant-Based Spray Could be Used in N95 Masks and Energy Devices

Engineers have invented a way to spray extremely thin wires made of a plant-based material that could be used in N95 mask filters, devices that harvest energy for electricity, and potentially the creation of human organs. The method involves spraying methylcellulose, a renewable plastic material derived from plant cellulose, on 3D-printed and other objects ranging from electronics to plants, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Materials Horizons.

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Power Player: Engineering professor researches how to keep America’s lights on

Ning Zhou from Binghamton University, State University of New York received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award to provide a 21st-century vision for power systems.

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UCI cyber-physical security researchers highlight vulnerability of solar inverters

Irvine, Calif., Aug. 18, 2020 – Cyber-physical systems security researchers at the University of California, Irvine can disrupt the functioning of a power grid using about $50 worth of equipment tucked inside a disposable coffee cup. In a presentation delivered at the recent Usenix Security 2020 conference, Mohammad Al Faruque, UCI associate professor of electrical engineering & computer science, and his team revealed that the spoofing mechanism can generate a 32 percent change in output voltage, a 200 percent increase in low-frequency harmonics power and a 250 percent boost in real power from a solar inverter.

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Climate Change Impact on Green Energy Production

As the climate of the planet is changing, many researchers are looking to more renewable energy sources. In the Journal of Sustainable and Renewable Energy, researchers investigate whether the power generated by solar and wind farms would differ between current and future climates. The researchers focused on sites in Australia where variable renewable generators are located or are likely to be located in the future based on the Australian Energy Market Operator’s system plan.

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Quantum Materials Quest Could Benefit From Graphene That Buckles

Graphene, an extremely thin two-dimensional layer of the graphite used in pencils, buckles when cooled while attached to a flat surface, resulting in beautiful pucker patterns that could benefit the search for novel quantum materials and superconductors, according to Rutgers-led research in the journal Nature. Quantum materials host strongly interacting electrons with special properties, such as entangled trajectories, that could provide building blocks for super-fast quantum computers. They also can become superconductors that could slash energy consumption by making power transmission and electronic devices more efficient.

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Newer Solar Power Equipment Ages Better Than Older Units

Utility-scale photovoltaics are the largest sector of the overall solar market within the U.S. and the fastest-growing form of renewable power generation, and this fleet of utility-scale photovoltaic projects is relatively young and hasn’t been operating long enough to establish a lengthy history of operational field service. In the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, researchers assess the performance of 411 utility-scale photovoltaic projects built within the U.S. from 2007 through 2016.

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