Summarizing 2016: Energy matters

Feature articles |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

10. The car of the future: a personal butler

The appearance of connected vehicles, automated forms of driving and the ‘smart home’ has a strong impact on the way we drive and what we do during the time we are on the go. Also the digital visionaries meeting at re:publica 2016 in Berlin are discussing this topic. Automotive supplier Bosch contributes his vision on how these factors could be reflected in the car’s functionalities and the way it interacts with its occupants.

9. MIT spinoff to release high-capacity lithium metal battery

Spun-out from the MIT in 2012, startup SolidEnergy Systems (Woburn, MA) has developed advanced electrolyte materials which it combines to produce lithium metal batteries with twice the energy density of today’s lithium ion batteries, while being safe and long-lasting.

8. Optical mic ‘hears’ wider sound spectrum

Founded in 2012 as a spin-out company by the Vienna University of Technology and the Knowles Corporation, startup Xarion Laser Acoustics GmbH (Vienna, Austria) is bringing a membrane-free optical microphone with unprecedented sound resolution.

7.First CMOS-based circulator chip promises wireless communication breakthrough

Full-duplex radio ICs that can be implemented in nanoscale CMOS to enable simultaneous transmission and reception at the same frequency in a wireless radio were first invented last year by Columbia Engineering researchers. That system required two antennas, one for the transmitter and one for the receiver. Now the team, led by Electrical Engineering Associate Professor Harish Krishnaswamy, has developed a breakthrough technology that needs only one antenna, thus enabling an even smaller overall system.

6.Swiss researchers on the way to petahertz electronics

Is there a limit to the switching speed of electronic components? Researchers from the ETH Zurich university have investigated how fast electrons can be controlled by means of electric fields. Their findings are significant for the petahertz electronics of the future.

5.Perovskite solar cell breakthrough sets new efficiency record

Researchers in Berkeley, CA have developed a flexible perovskite solar cell that hits a peak conversion efficiency of 26% and could be manufactured using a low-cost roll-to-roll process.

4. Liquid battery concept promises cheaper smart grid storage

A new approach to designing a liquid battery proposed by MIT researchers could reduce cost the cost of storing energy from renewable sources.

3. Electric motorbike out of the printer

Motorbikes with electric propulsion are now nothing special anymore – but this here is really an exception: The Light Rider from Airbus subsidiary APWorks combines electric drive with bionic design and additive manufacturing. The entire prototype has a weight of just 35 kilograms, 30 percent less than conventional-built motorbikes

2. Rechargeable battery discovery promises cheaper renewable energy storage

A team of researchers based at the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, WA) have discovered a rechargeable zinc-manganese battery that is as inexpensive as conventional car batteries but provides a much higher energy density.

1. Graphene discovery promises advances in next-gen electronics, energy

A discovery by Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ) engineers has found that by simply baking graphene in a microwave oven yields high-quality graphene that can be used in next-generation electronic and energy devices.


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