Energy-harvesting chip to let electronics power themselves

Graphene energy harvesting chips.

⚡ ENERGY HARVESTING: NTS Innovations, based in East Peoria, Illinois, says it has achieved a big milestone in developing a clean energy source called graphene energy harvesting. The company will market an energy-harvesting circuit on a silicon wafer. The circuit concept was created during research led by the University of Arkansas. Graphene is a light material comprised of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb design that is about 200 times stronger than steel. It is flexible and scientists have long believed its movement could be the future of energy harvesting.

  • The circuit captures graphene’s thermal motion and converts it to an electrical current. The University of Arkansas researchers discovered their design increased the amount of power delivered compared to other circuits.

  • NTS Innovations will incorporate the technology into a chip that will hit the market next year to allow low-voltage devices, such as sensors and other small electronics, to power themselves without battery replacement or recharging.

  • Future versions of the chip are expected to have a higher energy density so they can power larger devices, from cell phones to cars.

🧲 MAGNETS: Researchers at the Critical Materials Institute at Ames Laboratory developed a low-cost, high-performance permanent magnet by leveraging knowledge of iron-nickel alloys in meteorites. This could fill market demand for magnets that do not contain cobalt or rare earth materials, which are present in the strongest permanent magnets on Earth but not magnetic alloys in meteors. Permanent magnets are used in a variety of applications, including electric motors and consumer electronics.

🌊 WATER: Argonne National Laboratory’s lead water scientist answered questions about managing water resources and engineering. Junhong Chen details a project incorporating artificial intelligence and explains the importance of water research in the sustainable energy space.

💰 FUNDING: The U.S. Department of Energy is offering up to $45 million to fund research on solar hardware and systems integration in several different categories. One award of $25 million will go toward creating a consortium to promote industry-wide collaboration and research on grid-forming technologies that enhance power systems’ operation.

🤝 ACQUISITION: Minneapolis-based Westwood Professional Services acquired EAPC Wind Energy Services. The move is expected to allow Westwood to expand its team and enhance wind project development.

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