From:                                         Integrity Research Institute <>

Sent:                                           Tuesday, October 31, 2023 1:08 AM


Subject:                                     Future Energy eNews





Future Energy eNews









Hello Tom,


Our nonprofit institute’s 2024 Future Energy Publication Catalog comes out this week. If you would like a copy for free, just send me an email with your postal mailing address and we will be happy to share it with you 😊. (IRI does not sell our mailing list to anyone.) For those wannabe astronauts who wonder about the long weightless trip to Mars, SpaceXVision is proposing a rotating spaceship  in the latest Next Big Future posting. Also, a new space story is that NASA Will Test a Large 3D Printer for Lunar Buildings in 2024.


Our Story #1 is a breakthrough in the super low power bioenergy arena with this Oxford University discovery: “We found that if we can use ions to directly stimulate cells or tissue, that needs only a very low energy input…like, nanoamperes to microamperes in terms of current levels” says Dr. Zhang. Reporting in Nature magazine, the researchers copied some aspects of the electric eel with soft ionic hydrogel droplets that are deposited in lipid-supported networks so it is biocompatible. Zhang thinks the microscale soft ionic power source which modulates neuronal network activity can eventually be used in living organisms. A related story in the millivolt/nanoamp ranges harvests molecular thermal energy for the first time


Story #2 is inspiring for those like us who are tuned into the excess gigatons of CO2 we have put into the holding pattern in our atmosphere since the early part of last century, when only 290 ppm was the average CO2 concentration of heat-trapping greenhouse effect. (Check out NASA’s animated record of worldwide July temperatures for the past 150 years.) Now thanks to MIT, ARPA-E, and a new company called Captura, using the oceans to remove megatons this fall and gigatons later is possible, along with offsetting the cost by the production of hydrogen. Even Boeing is involved by purchasing 1200 metric tons (tonnes) of green hydrogen for sustainable aviation fuel too. With the Ocean Foundation, World Resources Institute, and the Equatic company all involved, this article is a nice comprehensive look at this emerging Direct Ocean Capture (DOC) with Captura’s proprietary electrodialysis electrified membranes with renewable energy power, thanks to the incentive of the Biden Administration $3.5 billion prize for the best carbon removal technology.


Story #3 finally brings to practicality the recycling of the world’s six billion tons of plastic waste. Rice University proved in a study published in Advanced Materials journal the use of renewable energy to convert even unwashed and mixed waste plastics into hydrogen. Amazingly, “This heats the mixture to around 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit in just 4 seconds, causing the carbon atoms in the plastic to fuse together into graphene and releasing a mix of volatile gases.” Of these gases, there was a significant amount of extremely pure hydrogen. Moreover, since all of the gases’ carbon is converted into graphene, the process does not release any carbon dioxide. A related article from New Scientist (9-2-23) finds that “Plastic bottles can be recycled into energy-storing supercapacitors” at Louisiana Tech University, with the help of nitric acid and ethanol..


Story #4 offers freedom from the lithium burden in its design of large backup batteries for energy storage solutions. Based on work done at NASA, nickel-hydrogen batteries that last 30 years are a good bet for powering the grid, says EnerVenue which is building a gigafactory in Kentucky. A related story builds aluminum radical batteries from water and organic molecules published in the Journal of American Chemistry.


Story #5 is almost hard to believe. Constructed from cement, carbon black, and water, a new low-cost device holds the potential to offer affordable and scalable energy storage for renewable energy sources. Develop at MIT, the professors claim they have created a supercapacitor for storing electricity that can be built into the concrete foundation of a house, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.




Tom Valone, Editor



1) Powering Tiny Machines with a Hydrogel Droplet Power Source October 2023


Biointegrated devices that can interact with cells could help target drugs and accelerate wound healing. One challenge facing researchers is powering these tiny machines.


Conventional electronic circuits require a lot of energy — on the order of tens to hundreds of microamperes, or a few volts — to stimulate cells or tissue. With the latest advancements in materials science and engineering now at their fingertips, researchers are turning instead to power sources grounded in physiology. A power source driven by ions, for example, would be twistable and compressible, tissue-like in its stiffness and mechanical properties, allowing it to seamlessly interface with the external components of a biointegrated device.



2) Using the Oceans to capture gigatons of CO2 October 2023


Off a dock in the Port of Los Angeles, a 100-foot blue barge carrying large metal cages and tanks, electronic equipment, and a jumble of pipes and wires has been floating since mid-April. The dock belongs to the ocean research institute AltaSea and the barge to Equatic, which is testing a daring new idea to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—by sucking it out of the seas.


3) Plastic Waste Becomes Clean Hydrogen Goldmine October 2023


A technique called flash joule heating at Rice University can convert plastic waste, even unsorted and unwashed, into clean hydrogen and valuable graphene.

If sold at just 5% of its market value, the graphene produced could make the hydrogen essentially free, provided the process is powered by renewable energies.

While green hydrogen offers significant potential for decarbonization, especially in high-heat industrial applications, its production requires vast amounts of clean energy, necessitating a balanced approach to its adoption.


4) Meet ESV: A lithium-free energy storage solution


Interesting Engineering. October 2023


Nickel-hydrogen-based batteries that have long been used by NASA for its space missions are now making their way to power the grid. California-based EnerVenue is building large Energy Storage Vessels (ESVs) that could be used to power the grid using renewables, a press release said.


With the world making a major transition to renewables, energy storage solutions are the need of the hour. Lithium-ion batteries have been our best bet so far but making large-scale storage solutions is turning out quite expensive and cumbersome.


Li-ion batteries are prone to thermal runaway and large energy storage solutions need additional facilities for cooling, ventilation, and fire suppression to be built to prevent a major mishap. This is where nickel-hydrogen-based batteries could help.



5) Supercapacitors from MIT made from ancient cement-carbon black, October 2023


“Depending on the properties desired for a given application, the system could be tuned by adjusting the mixture. For a vehicle-charging road, very fast charging and discharging rates would be needed, while for powering a home “you have the whole day to charge it up,” so slower-charging material could be used, Ulm says.


So, it’s really a multifunctional material,” he adds. Besides its ability to store energy in the form of supercapacitors, the same kind of concrete mixture can be used as a heating system, by simply applying electricity to the carbon-laced concrete. Ulm sees this as “a new way of looking toward the future of concrete as part of the energy transition.”


Reference: “Carbon–cement supercapacitors as a scalable bulk energy storage solution” by Nicolas Chanut, Damian Stefaniuk, James C. Weaver, Yunguang Zhu, Yang Shao-Horn, Admir Masic and Franz-Josef Ulm, 31 July 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2304318120








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