Posted November 01, 2019 02:09:17Electric start engines are already in use for powering solar panels and wind turbines, but some researchers are now working on ways to make them smaller and more powerful.
A team of researchers at UC Berkeley has created a battery that could be used to power small solar arrays, making them smaller but potentially cheaper.
In their research paper published in the journal Energy Procedia, they describe the device as an electric start engine, which can be mounted to the back of a vehicle, allowing for the vehicle to run at a higher efficiency than a conventional diesel engine.
“The battery is capable of powering a very small amount of power in an extremely compact form, thus allowing for very low power consumption,” UC Berkeley electrical engineering professor Daniel Kohn wrote.
“While the size of the battery may be smaller than a typical conventional diesel, it will still be capable of driving a large amount of energy, providing a major advantage over the alternative diesel engine.”
The team is working on a smaller battery that can run at less than half the power of a conventional one, and the next step is to make the battery smaller and smaller, Kohn added.
“We’re still trying to get a little bit of efficiency with the battery, but it’s very exciting that we’ve finally achieved a small size,” he said.
“I think it’s a major step forward in the field of electric start engines, because we’ve had these very efficient batteries for some time.
We’re really looking forward to using these battery technology for a variety of applications, from powering photovolcanoes to powering large solar arrays.”
Researchers say the battery could be scaled up to provide a comparable energy efficiency for solar arrays.
“If you have a solar array and you want to generate power, it’s easy to scale it up to a very large scale, but if you have an array of 100 megawatts, you’d still be doing very inefficient solar in a very, very small footprint,” said lead researcher, David D. Shafer, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science.
“So, we are making the battery small and small, but we are going to make it smaller and, hopefully, smaller and then we can achieve a very high efficiency.
I think that’s going to be really exciting.”
The battery, which is about 10 to 12 percent larger than a standard diesel engine, would not be used in an electric vehicle, but could be integrated into a car’s battery pack.
“It’s not just about powering a solar panel, but a car would be really, really efficient,” Shafer said.
The researchers also said that the battery technology could be adapted to power large-sized solar arrays on small planes, where the batteries could also be used as backup power.
“There are some issues with these planes, because they’re actually pretty fragile and there are some things like wind turbines that can blow the batteries out of the plane, but that’s really not a problem for a car,” Kohn said.
“So, if you want the same sort of performance as an engine that runs on gasoline, but at a lower cost, you could use the batteries to power these larger planes.”
The researchers detailed their work in the current issue of the journal Science Advances.