Graphite’s pivotal role in electric-vehicle battery technology is coming under increasing scrutiny. Graphite is almost exclusively produced in China, and while the processing of the mineral poses serious environmental issues, the alternatives appear costly. Ian Morse looks at what’s next for critical graphite supplies.
Hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels will not be able to move forward fast enough to replace fossil fuels and tackle climate change, according to a German-Swiss research team that claims direct electrification alternatives are cheaper and easier to implement. The scientists cite too-high prices, short-term scarcity and long-term uncertainty, as the main reasons for their skepticism, which has caused a stir in academic circles.
With South Africa holding 63,000 of the world’s estimated 69,000 metric tons of platinum reserves – according to the Statista.com website – and Russia and Zimbabwe a further 5,100 between them, the European Commission has cited the metal as an example of a potential supply chain bottleneck that could handicap its grand plans for renewables-powered hydrogen production.
Researchers in the United Kingdom have built a 14%-efficient organic PV device that can be used in high-speed optical wireless communication systems. The cell consists of a 4×2.5mm photoactive layer fabricated with a bulk heterojunction of a polymer donor and fullerene and non-fullerene acceptors.
Scientists investigating the aging mechanisms affecting today’s lithium-ion batteries observed that the loss of lithium over time is one of the main causes of performance loss. With this in mind, they developed and tested a “relithiation” process that promises to eliminate much of the cost and complexity from recycling battery components and materials.
Scientists in the UK used the latest imaging techniques to visualize and understand the process of dendrite formation and electrolyte cracking in an all solid-state battery. With new insight into the mechanisms by which these cracks form and ultimately lead to battery failure, the results could help direct the focus of future research into solid-state battery technology.
Researchers in Germany claim to have overcome the primary hurdle in the development of large-area perovskite PV modules – scaling up from the cell to the module level. They achieved an efficiency of up to 16.6% on a module surface of more than 50 centimetres squared, and 18% on a module with an area of 4 centimetres squared.
Germany’s first offshore hydrogen pipeline is being planned by multiple partnering companies and is expected to be commissioned in 2035. Meanwhile, Siemens is planning hydrogen projects in a 5 MW to 50 MW range for industrial applications and a consortium of conglomerates is maintaining pressure on EU to develop green hydrogen.
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