Engineers at Stanford University have developed a microbial battery that generates electricity from exoelectrogenic bacteria as they digest organic matter, such as waste water. The microorganisms, located at the battery's anode, oxidize dissolved organic substances, thereby releasing electrons that flow into carbon filaments across to a solid-state cathode, which is periodically reoxidized for sustained power production. The researchers say the battery can extract about 30 percent of the potential energy in waste water.
Stanford researchers have created a microbial battery that uses exoelectrogenic microbes (shown here) that produce electricity as they digest plant and animal waste.
A Navigant Research report (subscription required) forecasts an increase in worldwide unit shipments of Li-ion battery cells from 3.6 billion this year to more than 6 billion in 2023. The report also predicts performance improvements in the next few years from the introduction of batteries with silicon-based anodes, as well as the first mass-produced lithium sulfur batteries, which could more than double energy density.
The research and consulting company GlobalData forecasts (purchase required) that the high-voltage direct current converter station market (which was worth $8.3 billion in 2012) will reach almost $90 billion by 2020 with a cumulative capacity of more than 540 GW. The report cites rising demand for electricity in the Asia-Pacific region and growth in renewable energy generation as the main drivers.
Recent product announcements include a second-generation WPC 1.1-compliant power controller from Texas Instruments. The company says the bq500212A wireless power transmitter, designed for 5-V systems, requires one-third fewer components than other options.
NXP Semiconductors is offering a high-performance 30-V MOSFET platform, which it calls the first to deliver integrated Schottky performance with low leakage current. Using the company's SchottkyPlus technology, the NextPowerS3 MOSFETs deliver increased efficiency and higher power density while keeping voltage spikes under control and limiting leakage current to less than 1 µA, NXP says.
Cam Semi has introduced a primary side sensing SMPS controller that targets low-cost, MoU-compliant USB chargers for smartphones and other universal input applications rated to 7.5 W. The C2172PX8 features voltage and current regulation of ±2% and ±3%, respectively, and a no-load power consumption of less than 30 mW.
Finally, Efficient Power Conversion Corporation has announced the latest member of its family of enhancement-mode GaN power transistors. The 100-V EPC2016 has a maximum RDS(ON) of 16 mΩ (VGS = 5V) and an ID of 11 A.