NASA technology to create a flux capacitor that stores energy better than batteries

NASA technology to create a flux capacitor that stores energy better than batteries

To store extra energy for lengthy periods in a NASA Cryogenic Flow Capacitor (CFC), a team of researchers at the University of Central Florida (UCF) developed a renewable energy storage device that turns it into hydrogen and oxygen.

NASA technology to create a flux capacitor

The need for green solutions has increased as people across the world grow more concerned with how their actions are affecting the environment. One of the most important challenges in this regard is the storage of renewable energy, which must be able to offer clean and sustainable energy when it is needed.

Against this backdrop, UCF Pegasus Professor Jayanta Kapat, and fellow researchers Marcel Otto and Ladislav Vesely, have found an innovative solution by using NASA’s Cryogenic Flow Capacitor (CFC) as a way to store generated hydrogen and oxygen from surplus renewable energy.

How UCF technology works

The technology developed by the UCF team, called the H2/O2 Direct Combustion sCO2 Power System, uses renewable energy to generate hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis of water.

These gases are stored separately in NASA CFCs, which use ducting and pressure valves to keep the gases at liquid densities without the need for liquefaction.

Later, when the power is needed, the gases are combined in a combustion chamber, producing water that is heated and mixed with supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2), which drives turbines that generate electricity.

One of the main advantages of this system is that it does not emit harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx), which reduces its environmental impact compared to other energy storage systems.

Additionally, the system does not require a constant source of water, making it more accessible and sustainable. Finally, its compact size makes the system easy to install and operate.

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Improve what batteries offer

NASA technology to create a flux capacitor

Energy storage is a crucial problem that arises when using renewable energy sources.

Unlike fossil fuels which can be stored in large quantities in tanks or pipelines, renewable energy has a variable flow that depends on weather conditions.

In this sense, lithium batteries have been widely used as a way to store renewable energy, but their storage capacity is limited and only suitable for short periods.

However, the system developed by the UCF team, on the other hand, can store hydrogen and oxygen for periods of days, weeks, and even months, making it much better suited to meeting long-term energy needs.

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Very diverse applications

In addition to meeting community energy needs UCF’s technology can also be used for applications outside of the electrical sector. “You could see the use of this technology as a backup system for a data center, a hospital, or some facility that needs to be available 24/7,” says Otto. “Or to reduce the carbon footprint to replace a diesel generator.”

“Airplanes cannot be powered directly by solar energy or electricity; we need the fuel,” says Kapat. “Hydrogen can also be used there, where we convert renewables into a storable chemical and then use it.”

As for plans, the latter reports that the team continues to investigate ways to optimize storage. In addition, the technology is being disclosed to the US Department of Energy, and work is underway to obtain sufficient funding for further testing.

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