Scientists at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have, for the first time, succeeded in generating more energy from fusion reactions than the energy in the fusion fuel itself -- i.e., achieved a "fuel gain" exceeding unity (see image below).
This is a key step on the path to achieving "ignition" in fusion energy, where the energy created would need to exceed that of all the energy used in the system -- in this case including 1.8 megajoules of laser energy -- and be self-sustaining. For more, see the paper published in Nature: "Fuel gain exceeding unity in an inertially confined fusion implosion."
This metallic case holds the fuel capsule for the National Ignition Facility fusion experiments. The target is precisely positioned and cooled to cryogenic temperatures (18 kelvins, or -427°F) so that a fusion reaction is more easily achieved. (Photo by Eduard Dewald/LLNL)
Researchers at the University of Bolton (UK) have developed a flexible, wearable fabric comprising polymeric piezoelectric fibers that claim to deliver twice the power output of typical ceramic-based energy harvesting textiles (see figure below). Currently, the fabric is said to be able to produce a power output of 1 to 5µW/cm2 -- enough to power a small sensor. For more, see the paper in Energy & Environmental Science: "Novel "3-D spacer" all fibre piezoelectric textiles for energy harvesting applications."
The flexible, polymeric piezoelectric fabric is composed of two separate conducting, silver-coated polyamide textile faces joined together by a spacer yarn. (Credit: Royal Society of Chemistry)
NASA and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy have announced a commitment to help develop more efficient electric vehicle power sources. The goal of the project is to create inexpensive, low-carbon-emission power sources for vehicles while improving their driving range and reliability. Also see a related video: NASA Joins Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Project.
In product news, Infineon Technologies has announced a battery management IC offered as the first MIPI-BIF-compliant fuel gauge IC. The ORIGA 3 features proprietary PrediGauge technology that is designed to accurately determine remaining battery capacity under the most adverse conditions.
Linear Technology has introduced a 140-V-input-capable high-efficiency buck converter that delivers up to 250 mA. The LTC3838 features an internal power switch that draws 12 µA typical while maintaining a regulated output voltage at no load.
Absopulse Electronics has added the CTP 1K 1-kVA series of compact 3-phase sine wave inverters to its line of modular industrial dc/ac systems. The units offer outputs of 208, 380, or 400 Vrms at frequencies of 400, 60, or 50 Hz.
A 300-W electronic load from Intepro Systems is able to simulate photovoltaic panels. The EL9712B has an input rating of 0 to 15 A and 0 to 500 V and features six modes of operation.
Advanced Power Electronics has introduced a current-mode step-up converter for small, low-power applications. The APE1913-3 has an input range from 2.6 to 5.5 V, and an adjustable output of up to 27 V.
Heraeus Precious Metals has introduced a thick printing copper conductor paste system for power applications requiring excellent reliability, thermal conductivity and robust thermal cycling performance. The Heraeus Thick Print Copper System can be used to create copper circuits from 20 to 350 microns thick on both alumina and aluminum nitride substrates.
Finally, ADL Embedded Solutions is offering a 150-W power supply board for high-powered Intel Core industrial and embedded motherboards. The ADLPS104ISO-150 provides ATX voltages in a stackable PCI/104-Express form factor and operates over -40°C to +85°C.