An innovation project in Europe to “harvest” energy that would otherwise be lost from various processes, involving a mixture of academic institutions and tech companies, has been joined by ultracapacitor maker Skeleton Tech.
InComEss - (Innovative polymer-based composite systems for high-efficient energy scavenging and storage) was officially launched at the beginning of March by the European Commission with grant funding of around €7 million (US$7.58 million), running until the end of August 2023.
Paid for as part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 wave of research and innovation projects, InComEss “seeks at developing efficient smart materials with energy harvesting and storage capabilities combining advanced polymer based-composite materials into a novel single/multi-source concept to harvest electrical energy from mechanical energy and/or waste heat ambient sources,” the European Commission’s research results website said.
Skeleton Tech, which is headquartered in Tallin, Estonia and has promoted its ultracapacitor devices for numerous applications linked to decarbonisation and greater efficiency in electrical systems - most recently launching products to help angle the blades of wind turbines to capture maximum energy resources and creating commercial and industrial (C&I) stationary storage rack solutions based around its ultracapacitors, will receive a share of funding worth around €217,500.
Basically the project will develop “smart materials” for the purpose of capturing energy lost during many different processes - energy given off as heat, as light, as vibration and so on. The materials under development include fibres with the characteristics of piezo electric generators, thermoelectric composite materials and printable electrodes - the latter of which could be attached or integrated in large ultra or super-capacitors.
“Self-sustainability and circular economy are the future of our economy and once again, ultracapacitors will demonstrate their relevance and efficiency. Using them, we could potentially harvest and generate energy from any kind of pressure, including by simply walking. This would be a game changer for the realisation of a low-carbon society,” Skeleton Tech CEO Taavi Madiberk said.
The company will evaluate how well a novel polymer material used in ultracapacitors can be used to harvest energy generated from external pressure sources. Skeleton Tech CEO Madiberk said that the ongoing COVID-19 novel coronavirus crisis should not stop the process of industrial and energy sector innovation - quite the opposite.
“Innovation should not stop during the pandemic. It is even the opposite, as this crisis shows us that moving fast is essential,” Madiberk said.
Read more about the project including other participants at the European Commission's site here.
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