London: Researchers at Linkoping University in Sweden have developed a ‘power paper’ that can store energy. The material consists of nanocellulose and a conductive polymer.
Unlike the batteries and capacitors currently on the market, power paper is produced from simple materials like renewable cellulose and an easily available polymer.
It is light in weight, requires no dangerous chemicals or heavy metals and it is waterproof.
One sheet of this new material, 15 cm in diameter and a few tenths of a millimetre thick, can store as much as 1F, which is similar to the supercapacitors currently on the market.
The material can be recharged hundreds of times and each charge only takes a few seconds.
“Thin films that function as capacitors have existed for some time. What we have done is to produce the material in three dimensions. We can produce thick sheets,” said study co-author professor Xavier Crispin.
The material, power paper, looks and feels like a slightly plastic paper.
The structural foundation of the material is nanocellulose, which is cellulose fibres which, using high-pressure water, are broken down into fibres as thin as 20 nm in diametre.
With the cellulose fibres in a solution of water, an electrically charged polymer, also in a water solution, is added. The polymer then forms a thin coating around the fibres.
“The covered fibres are in tangles, where the liquid in the spaces between them functions as an electrolyte,” explained researcher Jesper Edberg.
The new cellulose-polymer material has set a new world record in simultaneous conductivity for ions and electrons, which explains its exceptional capacity for energy storage.
The study was published in the journal Advanced Science.(ians)
Pakistan’s government has proposed to eliminate taxes associated with manufacturing of solar and wind energy equipment in the country, in an effort to boost the production and use of renewable power and overcome power shortages.
A new government budget bill, expected to be approved in parliament within a month, would give renewable energy manufacturers and assemblers in the country a five-year exemption from the taxes.
“Pakistan is paying the heavy cost of an ongoing energy crisis prevailing for the last many years,” Finance Minister Asad Umar said last week in a budget speech. “In this difficult time, the promotion of renewable energy resources like wind and solar has become indispensable.”
Only about 5 to 6 percent of the power to Pakistan’s national electrical grid currently comes from renewable energy, according to the country’s Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB).
The proposed tax reduction should boost that by encouraging greater local manufacturing of equipment needed for renewable power expansion, said Asad Mahmood, a renewable energy expert with the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, which sits within the Ministry of Energy.
But manufacturers said the tax breaks likely would not be sufficient to spur expansion of local renewable energy industries.
Naeem Siddiqui, the chairman of Ebox Systems, which assembles solar panels in Islamabad, said the new tax breaks were good news but Pakistani manufacturers would still struggle to compete with tax-free, low-priced imports of foreign-built solar panels and other renewable energy equipment.
“The government has already waived off taxes and duties on the import of renewable energy products, and local manufacturers cannot compete with the low-priced imported items,” he said.
Pakistan today imports more than 95 percent of the solar panels and other renewable energy systems it uses, largely from China, said Aamir Hussain, chief executive officer of Tesla PV, one of the largest manufacturers of solar energy products in Pakistan.
“As long as the government will not impose duties on the import of finished products, the local market cannot grow,” he said.
Pakistani manufacturers also might need government help in pushing sales of new Pakistani clean energy products abroad, in order to build bigger markets and lower manufacturing costs, Siddiqui said.
Mahmood, of the energy ministry, said he believed the government would also move to cut existing duties on the import of components used in manufacturing finished renewable energy products, in order to help Pakistani manufacturers.
Taxes on those components have pushed up prices of Pakistani-made renewable energy systems, making them harder to sell and leading several companies to the brink of failure, he said.
Local manufacturers should work with the government to determine which components should be manufactured locally and which imported to ensure costs of locally made wind and solar systems are competitive, he said.
Muhammad Abdur Rahman, managing director of Innosol, a company that imports and installs renewable energy systems, said that cheap imports of renewable energy systems from China remain the main barrier to building more such systems in Pakistan.
“The local industry is facing pricing issues because of low-quality solar energy appliances being imported in the country that are very cheap as compared to the local market,” he said.
That might be resolved in part by the government starting a certification system for renewable energy products to grade them according to quality, he said.
Amjad Ali Awan, chief executive officer of the Alternate Energy Development Board, said the aim of the new policies was for renewable energy to supply 28 to 30 percent of the country’s national electrical grid by 2030. (VOA)