Science 3 min read

New Diamond Nanostructure for Efficient Energy Storage

Anna Kireieva /

Anna Kireieva /

It’s not enough to find new ways to generate clean energy; we also have to figure out ways to store it. Unfortunately, energy storage has always been a massive challenge for renewable energy research.

The dream would be to find a material that has a high energy storage capacity. Such material must also be able to discharge a large amount of energy quickly and efficiently.

To make this dream a reality, the researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) proposed a new carbon nanostructure. Unlike previous energy storage devices, the nanostructure should be able to store energy in mechanical form.

At the moment, most portable energy storage devices, such as batteries, store energy in chemical forms.

Unfortunately, these batteries have some limiting factors which include temperature sensitivity, or the potential to leak — or even explode. As a result, they’re far from perfect.

On the other hand, the proposed new structure consists of a bundle of diamond nano thread (DNT) and doesn’t suffer such limitations.

In a statement about the project, researcher from QUT Center for Material Science, Dr. Haifei Zhan said:

“Unlike chemical storage such as lithium-ion batteries, which use electro-chemical reactions to store and release energy, a mechanical energy system itself would carry much lower risk by comparison.”

The researchers described how the proposed energy storage solution in their published paper in Nature Communications.

Using a Diamond Nanostructure as an Energy Storage Solution

Zhan and his colleagues used computer modeling to propose a new method of ultra-thin, one-dimensional carbon threads.

The theory is these threads store energy when they undergo twists and stretches. Think of how we store energy in wind-up toy cars by converting mechanical energy into the wheel movement.

In their tests, the researchers noted that new nanostructures stored as much as 17.6 MJ of energy per kilogram. That’s 4 to 5 times higher than a steel spring and three times higher than a conventional Li-ion battery.

The nano thread bundles were more stable structurally. So, they could store and release as much energy as possible without any fear of deterioration.

According to Dr. Zhan, the application of carbon nano thread bundles as an energy source is endless. One possible use of the new diamond nanostructure is in powering tiny robotics and electronics.

Although the new storage structures are versatile and robust, they also exist on a tiny scale. As a result, they can be useful in any device that requires efficient energy storage — saving space and weight.

These include biomedical diagnostic systems implanted in the body and aerospace engineering, to name a few.

With that said, the structure is currently theoretical. Now, Dr. Zhan and his team are working to build an experimental nanoscale mechanical energy system as proof of concept.

Read More: British Company Offers New Energy Storage Technology To Vermont

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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