News: Energy

Liquid tin-sulfur compound shows thermoelectric potential

MIT researchers have developed a liquid thermoelectric device with a molten compound of tin and sulfur that can efficiently convert waste heat to electricity, opening the way to affordably transforming waste heat to power at high temperatures. …   more

How some battery materials expand without cracking

A new paper from Yet-Ming Chiang in Nano Letters describes for the first time what happens in rechargeable lithium-ion and other battery electrodes when they expand and contract as the lithium ions move in and out during charging and discharging. This had been a mystery, since these materials…   more

DMSE Leads Largest Project in $35M Toyata Grant

"Three MIT-affiliated research teams will receive about $10M in funding as part of a $35M materials science discovery program launched by the Toyota Research Institute (TRI)." - MIT News Professors Jeffrey Grossman and Yang Shao-Horn will lead the largest funded project focused on the…   more

Iodine may protect batteries

"Researchers at MIT and Carnegie Mellon University are studying a new kind of electrolyte for “self-healing” lithium battery cells, which will be formed by adding a halide element such as iodine, under a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The…   more

Surfacing Solutions

"For Bilge Yildiz, Associate Professor of both materials science and engineering and nuclear science and engineering, unleashing novel properties in materials means taking a penetrating look at surfaces. Her work to understand and tailor surface chemistry sets the stage for a new generation of…   more

Sadoway and Ambri get a Shout Out during MIT Energy Conference

Professor Donald Sadoway and his company Ambri are working on finding solutions to energy storage in order to improve renewable energy production services. In this MIT News article, they received a shout-out for their contributions to the field.  "One promising new entry in that sector is…   more

Inside the Race to Build the Battery of Tomorrow

"The battery might be the least sexy piece of technology ever invented. The lack of glamour is especially conspicuous on the lower floors of MIT’s materials science department, where one lab devoted to building and testing the next world-changing energy storage device could easily be mistaken…   more

Shao-Horn publishes in Journal of Physical Chemistry

"Scientists and producers usually face a problem to elaborate batteries of new types: lighter but at the same time more powerful and with higher energy storage capacity. One of the possible ways to do that is to replace modern lithium-ion batteries by so called lithium-air batteries. Such…   more

Study: Some catalysts contribute their own oxygen for reactions

"Chemical reactions that release oxygen in the presence of a catalyst, known as oxygen-evolution reactions, are a crucial part of chemical energy storage processes, including water splitting, electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction, and ammonia production. The kinetics of this type of reaction…   more

Materials Day Recap

Our friends at the Materials Processing Center recently held their annual Materials Day event. As part of the day of events, several DMSE faculty participated in a series of talks about battery challenges. The day also included a Poster Session contest. The winners of the contest were Ping-Chun…   more

What We’re Doing Wrong in the Search for Better Batteries

"If the world is going to get off of fossil fuels, we’re going to need batteries—big batteries, and lots of them, to smooth out intermittent power sources like wind and solar. But we aren’t doing nearly enough to develop the technologies that will allow us to build the cheap, grid-scale storage…   more

Don Sadoway talking about lithium batteries with On Point NPR

Don Sadoway was recently invited to speak with NPR's On Point about lithium batteries.  "When it comes to smartphone batteries, most of us just want them smaller and stronger. Then Samsung’s phone batteries start bursting into flame and get our attention. Lithium batteries – like those in…   more

New kind of supercapacitor made without carbon

Professor Yang Shao-Horn co-authored a paper recently published by Nature Materials regarding supercapacitors that do not rely on carbon. This story was also featured on the MIT Home Page!  "Energy storage devices called supercapacitors have become a hot area of research, in part…   more

New solar cell is more efficient, costs less than its counterparts

Exposed in step-like formation, layers of new photovoltaic cell harvest more of sun’s energy.  The cost of solar power is beginning to reach price parity with cheaper fossil fuel-based electricity in many parts of the world, yet the clean energy source still accounts for just slightly…   more

Doubling battery power of consumer electronics

One of Prof. Sadoway's postdocs, Qichao Hu, is preparing to commercialize a new lithium battery with double the capacity of modern models. "The battery essentially swaps out a common battery anode material, graphite, for very thin, high-energy lithium-metal foil, which can hold more ions…   more

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity

Professor Ju Li's group has created a new lithium-oxygen battery capable of significantly reducing the negative effects of current lithium-air battery technology, including energy wasted as heat, and the necessity of extra components. These new, fully sealed batteries are called nanolithia…   more

Analyzing lithium ion battery fatigue

Professor Krystyn Van Vliet's lab has a new Summer Scholar for 2016! Erica Eggleton has come to MIT's DMSE to make and test lithium manganese oxide electrodes.  Eggleton is studying the type of fatigue that makes lithium ion batteries less efficient over time. “We’re studying whether this…   more

New concept turns battery technology upside-down

"A new approach to the design of a liquid battery, using a passive, gravity-fed arrangement similar to an old-fashioned hourglass, could offer great advantages due to the system’s low cost and the simplicity of its design and operation, says a team of MIT researchers who have made a…   more

Boosting Power at the Substrate

Jurgen Michek, Senior Research Associate at the Materials Processing Center, is working on improving photonic and solar cells materials and devices through inventing a new kind of semiconductor chip utilizing germanium.  …   more

MITEI awards nine Seed Fund grants for early-stage energy research

Prof Sadoway was awarded for his project Aluminum Polymer Battery for Automobile Propulsion, and Prof Yildiz for her work in the project Design of Meta-Oxide Surfaces for Fast Oxygen Exchange in Fuel Cells, Synthetic Fuel Production and Separation Membranes.  …   more