Researchers at RMIT University have developed a concept "proton flow" battery that stores protons produced by splitting water, offering the possibility of an economical hydrogen-based alternative to lithium. The approach avoids the limitations and efficiency compromises of conventional hydrogen-based systems, which involve the production, storage, and recovery of hydrogen. It requires only an inflow of water in charge mode, and of air in discharge mode (see figure below). According to the researchers, such an approach is theoretically capable of achieving an energy efficiency as high as that of lithium-ion batteries with greater energy density.
A proof-of-concept "proton flow" battery that is claimed to combine the best aspects of hydrogen fuel cells and battery-based power.
(Source: John Andrews, RMIT University)
Researchers at the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics claim to have demonstrated an energy harvester that can continuously convert vibrations over a range of low frequencies (below 100 Hz) into electricity, potentially offering a way to power/recharge miniature devices like microsensors. The aluminum-nitride-based device is said to have a power density of 1.5 x 10-3 W/cm3 and to be able to generate the electricity equivalent to that of three commercial implantable batteries over a 10-year period. (For more, see the press release, entitled "Harvesting Vibrations to Power Microsensors" (PDF).)
Market research firm IHS is forecasting 10 market trends for electric vehicles in 2014. At the top of the list is the prediction of a 67% surge in global production of EVs this year. Other predictions include EV pricing and charging station forecasts, as well as forecasts of battery technology and energy-saving developments.
In product news, Microchip Technology introduced a single-phase power-monitoring IC for real-time measurement of AC power. Integrating dual-channel ΔΣ ADCs, a 16-bit calculation engine, EEPROM, and a two-wire interface, the MCP39F501 has a power monitoring accuracy of 0.1% error over a 4,000:1 dynamic range.
Texas Instruments has announced a nano-power switching regulator that delivers 94.6% peak efficiency in a 30-mm2 footprint. The LMR22007 Simple Switcher features a 2.7-V to 20-V input range, an adjustable 150 to 600-mA input current limit, and up to 750 mA continuous-load current.
A synchronous SEPIC/inverting boost controller from Linear Technology offers rail-to-rail output current monitor and control. The LT8710 has a 4.5-V to 80-V input range and a switching frequency adjustable from 100 kHz to 750 kHz.
New DC/DC converter modules from TDK-Lambda operate over an input range of 200 V to 425 V. The PH-A280 series devices offer output power of 50, 75, 100, and 150 W and nominal output voltages of 5, 12, 24, and 48 V.
International Rectifier has introduced a control IC designed to drive flyback converter LED drivers. The IRS2983 features primary side power regulation, a high-voltage startup, burst-mode operation, and over-current protection.
Keystone Electronics has announced new ultra-low-profile holders for #2032 lithium coin cells. The 1057TR (tape and reel) and 1057 (bulk) coin cell holders rise only 2 mm above the PCB surface and feature dual–spring contacts.
Finally, STMicroelectronics is adding new 5mm x 6mm-footprint power package options to its high-voltage power MOSFET families. Three 650-V MDmesh V MOSFETs are now available in a PowerFLAT 5 x 6 HV package, and four 800-V SuperMESH 5 MOSFETs are available in a PowerFLAT 5 x 6 VHV package.