Learn more about UC TechAlerts – Subscribe to categories and get notified of new UC technologies

Browse Category: Energy > Other

Categories

[Search within category]

Bioactive Plastics With Programmable Degradation And Microplastic Elimination

Although the plastic waste crisis has reached a breaking point, current recycling approaches are unable to remediate microplastic pollution. Biodegradable and renewable plastics have shown promise but impact neither microplastic elimination nor complete plastic recycling due to diffusion-limited enzymatic surface erosion and random chain scission. Here it is shown that nanoscopic dispersion of trace enzyme (e.g. lipase) in plastics (e.g. polycaprolactone [PCL]) leads to fully functional plastics with eco-friendly microplastic elimination and programmable degradation. Nanoscopic enzyme encapsulation leads to:continuous degradation to achieve 95% microplastic eliminationa single chain-based degradation mechanism with repolymerizable small molecule by-products via selective chain end scission rather than random chain scissionspatially- and temporally-programmable degradation of melt-processed host matrix due to the dependence of single chain degradation on local lamellae thickness regardless of bulk percent crystallinity formulation of conductive ink for 3-D printing with full recovery of the precious metal filler With recent developments in synthetic biology and genome information, nanoscopically embedding catalytically active enzymes in plastics may lead to an immediate, environmentally friendly and technologically viable solution toward microplastic elimination and material recycling.

Design Random Heteropolymer To Transport Proton Selectively And Rapidly

Despite decades of effort, it remains challenging, if not impossible, to achieve similar transport performance similar to natural channels. Inspired by the known crystal structures of transmembrane channel proteins, protein sequence-structure-transport relationships have been applied to guide material design. However, producing both molecularly defined channel sizes and channel lumen surfaces that are chemically diverse and spatially heterogeneous have been out of reach. We show that a 4-monomer-based random heteropolymer (RHP) exhibits selective proton transport at a rate similar to those of natural proton channels. Statistical control over the monomer distribution in the RHP leads to well-modulated segmental heterogeneity in hydrophobicity, which facilitates the single RHP chains to insert into lipid bilayers. This in turn produces rapid and selective proton transport, despite the sequence variability among RHP chains. We have demonstrated the importance of:the adaptability enabled by the statistical similaritythe modularity afforded by monomer chemical diversity to achieve uniform behavior in heterogeneous systems. 

Inexpensive Wobbe Index Sensor to Measure Gaseous Fuel Quality

UCR researchers have developed an inexpensive sensor to measure the energy content and fuel quality of gaseous combustible fuel. This sensor estimates the Wobbe Index in real time time and costs about $10. The sensor is confirmed to operate between -20°and 70°Celsius under pressures of -3600 Psi, with an accuracy of ±1%.  Fig. 1 shows the predicted Wobbe Index vs Actual Wobble Index, showing the accuracy of the sensor

Technologies Related to Variable-Load Voltage Converters and Their Control Schemes

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed voltage converters systems – with associated control schemes – that span a broad spectrum of potential applications.

Higher-Speed and More Energy-Efficient Signal Processing Platform for Neural Networks

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a nanophotonic-based platform for signal processing and optical computing in algorithm-based neural networks that is faster and more energy-efficient than current technologies.

Multi-Point, Multi-Access Energy Storage

UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have developed a novel multi-point, multi-access thermal energy storage system.

Course Description: Bending The Curve: Climate Change Solutions

“There is no single technology that will solve climate change. If we want to prepare our students to fight global warming, they need to understand the scientific and the human dimensions of the problem, and we need to give them the tools to address the problem.”     - Professor V. Ramanathan

Thermodynamic Integration Simulation Method for Filling Molecular Enclosures Using Spliced Soft-Core Interaction Potential

Researchers have developed a simulation method to determine the properties of molecular enclosures based on slow growth thermodynamic integration (SGTI).

Energy Radiator Using Strain-Mediated Spin Torque Nano-Oscillator (S-STNO)

UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have developed an energy radiator based on a spin torque nano-oscillator that does not require the application of an external field.

Selective Deposition Of Diamond In Thermal Vias

UCLA researchers in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering have developed a new method of diamond deposition in integrated circuit vias for thermal dissipation.

Ceramic And Metallic Cellular Structures Wtih Interconnected Microchannels

UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical Engineering have developed cellular porous metallic and ceramic structures that can be used to increase the production and recovery of tritium for fusion power reactors or as a support for electrode materials.

Nanocellulose-Assisted Exfoliation of Graphite to Few Layer Graphene

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a high-yield method that utilizes the unique properties of cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) to fabricate high-quality graphene from bulk graphite. This graphene can then be fabricated into graphene nanopapers, which have unique moisture and heat-sensing capabilities for applications in “smart” electronic devices and other uses.

Decentralized Charging Protocol for Plug-in Electric Vehicles

Plug-in vehicles (PEVs) have drawn interest from government, automakers, and the public due to potential for reduced environmental impact. UCI researchers have developed a decentralized charging protocol for PEVs that results in improved stability in power grid demand.

ABSTRACT: Platinum/Palladium Fuel Cell Catalyst

Brief description not available

ABSTRACT: Variable Gaseous Fuels Engine

Brief description not available

Facile, Low-Energy Routes for the Production of Hydrated Calcium and Magnesium Salts from Alkaline Industrial Wastes

UCLA researchers in the Department of Civil and Environment Engineering have developed a method for production of hydrated calcium and magnesium salts from alkaline industrial wastes using a facile and low-energy process.

Development of Flexible and Stretchable Thermoelectric Personal Wearable Devices

Currently available wearable thermoelectric devices have the drawback of requiring a rigid heat sink (e.g., metal pin fin structures, or a fan), or the device performance is usually very low in the absence of such a heat sink.

Synthesis of Nanocrystalline Iron Nitrides Using Two-Step Reactive Milling Process

Nanocrystalline iron nitride is an important soft magnetic material; however, conventional methods of production don’t exist. Synthesis of dense nanocrystalline iron nitrides is not possible by simply annealing elemental iron in NH3 at temperatures in excess of 600° C since g’-Fe4N and other iron nitrides are unstable above 600°C and will decompose. Sandia researchers have discovered that by using a two-step reactive milling process and high pressure spark plasma sintering (SPS) they can quickly and efficiently fabricate bulk g’-Fe4N parts.

New Non-Platinum Fuel Cell Catalyst

The Kisailus research group at the University of California, Riverside, has  developed a novel fuel cell catalyst made of porous carbon nanofibers doped with inexpensive metal or metal oxide nanoparticles that provide active sites for energy conversion and storage. The active or catalytic nanoparticles are embedded and integrated with graphitic nanofibers and are accessible to the surrounding environment due to high porosity. The extensive graphitic networks within these nanofibers also exhibits enhanced conductivity. Cobalt oxide- graphite composite nanofibers showed equivalent catalytic activity to fuel cell platinum catalysts like platinum on carbon (Pt/C). When operated under fuel cell conditions, the nanofiber formulation provides enhanced durability.  Fig. 1 Metal oxide-graphite composite and porous nanofibers with highly controllable diameter, particle size and performance. Fig. 2 Linear sweep voltametry curves shows that the graphitic nanofibers doped with metal ions have higher current densities than commercial platinum on carbon (Pt/C).  

Selective Nitrogen Adsorption Using a Vanadium Metal-Organic Framework

Natural gas, composed primarily of methane, has many potential uses as a cleaner and more renewable source of energy than other fossil fuels. However, about 20% of US natural gas reserves contain levels of N2 that are too high for pipeline processing. Using natural gas from renewable sources also encounters this problem. Furthermore, in processing steps to create high-purity methane from its various sources, the removal of N2 remains a significant energetic cost. This separation is typically performed through cryogenic distillation, and improvements in energy efficiency of this separation are necessary to utilize the many available sources of methane. Switching to membrane or adsorbent-based technologies could potentially alleviate this challenge. Size selective molecular sieves and membranes have demonstrated some ability for separating N2 from CH4, but face problems with scalability and selectivity; and current adsorbents need significant improvements in selectivity and capacity for N2 to be commercially viable.  To address this situation, researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a new adsorbent V2Cl2(btdd) with exceptional affinity for nitrogen, such that early experiments already demonstrate a N2/CH4 selectivity of over 10x greater than any reported material. The Berkeley material is a permanently porous vanadium(II)-containing metal-organic framework (MOF). It represents the first example of a MOF with five-coordinate vanadium(II) centers as the primary metal node. The electronic properties of these five-coordinate V(II) centers make this MOF uniquely reactive towards relatively inert and weak electron acceptors, such as nitrogen, creating a stronger M–N2 interaction than any known MOF. Additionally, the high-density of V(II) centers translates to a high gas uptake capacity, qualifying this material as a promising N2/CH4 selective adsorbant. Key performance parameters can be tuned as the building blocks are synthetically modifiable.

A Highly Error-Prone Orthogonal Replication System For Targeted Continuous Evolution In Vivo

Inventors at UC Irvine have engineered an orthogonal DNA replication system capable of rapid, accelerated continuous evolution. This system enables the directed evolution of specific biomolecules towards user-defined functions and is applicable to problems of protein, enzyme, and metabolic pathway engineering.

Accelerating palladium nanowire hydrogen sensors using engineered nanofiltration layers

Researchers at UCI have developed a method for enhancing existing hydrogen gas sensors, leading to as much as a 20-fold improvement in sensor response and recovery times.

Hemispherical Rectenna Arrays for Multi-Directional, Multi-Polarization, and Multi-Band Ambient RF Energy Harvesting

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a system that can receive RF waves in different frequency bands, from different directions, and with different polarizations to maximize energy harvested from ambient radio-frequency signals.

  • Go to Page: