Emerging Technologies within the Energy and Environmental Sectors

Recent developments have led to several exciting emergent technologies that will provide greater benefit to the Energy and Environmental sectors.

18 May 2018

energy and environmental2

by Alistair McKinlay, Technical Analyst

The Energy and Environmental sectors rely on a wide range of technologies which have been developed through advances in a multitude of scientific disciplines including: mechanical engineering, materials science, electronics and chemistry.

Recent developments have led to several exciting emergent technologies that will provide greater benefit to these sectors.

Advances in Li-ion battery technology
Advances are regularly made in the field of Li-ion battery innovation. Research in this area has intensified, and several advanced nanomaterials have been identified that can replace the existing graphite material used for the negative electrode with improvements in energy density, power density, cycle life safety and cost. Other areas of research have focussed on the assessment and identification of second life applications for perceived end of life Li-ion batteries. One company has developed a quick, innovative and non-destructive process which can test the re-usable potential for lithium batteries and provide insight into the state of internal chemical degradation within each battery.

Wastewater management research
Another area of intense research is water management and monitoring and removal of hazardous compounds from industrial wastewater. A catalytic method has been developed that can effectively decompose cyanide which is cheaper quicker and does not generate any harmful products. In addition, another development has seen the generation of a smart pH sensor capable of working in demanding sea and drinking water to inform users of the pH value extremely accurately.

Biomass developments
Other related developments have seen the generation of a method to transform waste wood products into valuable chemicals and fuels. The method utilises a recyclable liquid salt which penetrates mixed waste wood into two main components cellulose and lignin while dissolving any contaminants present. This results in the generation of sustainable bio-derived products at a much lower cost. Another biomass project has seen the development of a one-step conversion of biomass waste to marine diesel. The lignin (biomass waste) is cooked in the ethanol converting it to a bio-crude. This bio-crude meets the standards required for marine diesel and since it is sulphur free can substitute higher costs low-sulphur marine diesel.

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