One never knows where we will get our inspiration. I never expect it in my local bakery but obviously some do. Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, were inspired by pastry folding techniques. David Woode explains in an article on the i news website.
Croissant-making method leads to breakthrough in sustainable energy storage
Croissant-making techniques have inspired researchers to experiment with storing energy in a sustainable, battery-like device, a study said.
The crescent-shaped pastry is created when dough is pressed and layered.
A team at Queen Mary, University of London, have now taken the snack-making method and applied it to a dielectric capacitor – a device that stores energy like a battery.
The results, they said, offer a potential breakthrough in storing wind and solar energy which is notorious for being generated at times when it cannot be used, or cannot be generated when it is needed.
Dr Emiliano Bilotti, who led the research at the university, said: “Storing energy can be surprisingly tricky and expensive and this is problematic with renewable energy sources which are not constant and rely on nature.
“With this technique we can store large amounts of renewable energy to be used when the sun is not shining and it is not windy.”
At present batteries, electrochemical capacitors and dielectric capacitors are three main energy storage options available.
Dielectric capacitors are characterised by ultrahigh power density, which makes it suitable for high power technologies that require energy to be accumulated and then released very quickly, much like motor drives and mobile power systems.
30 times more energy
Having pressed and folded a capacitor covered with a plastic film, researchers were able to store 30 times more energy than the best performing model on the market, the report said.
Investigations found it was the “highest energy density ever reported in a polymer film capacitor”, said the study in the journal, Nature Communications.
Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power are intermittent; to make them more practical, researchers said it is necessary to develop efficient, low-cost and eco-friendly electric energy storage systems.
Professor Mike Reece, who also worked on the study, said the findings “promises to have a significant impact on the field of pulse power applications”.
It is hoped the processing, pressing and folding technique – noted for its “simplicity, record high energy density” – could be adopted by the industry.