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How will nanomaterials be used for emission-free energy of the future?

The German-American company Neutrino Energy Group has invented a graphene-based nanomaterial that converts the energy of the thermal Brownian motion of graphene atoms and the surrounding fields of invisible spectrum radiation, including the neutrino flux, into electricity.

In recent years, numerous groups of scientists around the world have been investigating the properties of graphene with a view to its application.The increased interest in this material is due to the presence of such unique properties as high conductivity and thermal conductivity, strength and hydrophobicity, which opens up large-scale prospects for the use of graphene in various industries.

One of the most important areas for the introduction of graphene is energy, which rightfully includes not only methods of energy generation, but also energy storage systems, which acquire their special significance in the process of energy transition from traditional energy to alternative energy. The use of graphene in rechargeable batteries increases their specific capacity several times, which makes it possible to multiply the mileage of an electric car on a single charge, and also provides fast charging of the battery.

But a much more important role is played by the use of graphene directly for the power generation process itself. Research work in this direction is carried out intensively in many countries. For the first time, the possibility of creating power sources using graphene as a basic element was announced by the German mathematician Holger Thorsten Schubart, who proved more than 10 years ago that graphene is capable of converting the thermal Brownian motion of atoms and the surrounding fields of invisible spectrum radiation into electric current. Based on the knowledge gained from practical experience and the results of laboratory experiments, he, with the participation of a group of scientists from the German-American company Neutrino Energy Group, invented an electrically generating multilayer nanomaterial from alternating layers of graphene and doped silicon deposited on a metal foil from the vapor phase.

It should be mentioned that at the same time graphene is being widely studied by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA. However, their achievements are more modest in comparison with the results achieved by the scientists of the Neutrino Energy Group. An area of ​​research at MIT is focused on converting the energy of ambient terahertz waves into direct electrical current. These high frequency radiation waves, known as "T-rays", are produced by almost anything that registers temperature, including our own bodies and the inanimate objects around us. Any device that sends out a Wi-Fi signal also emits terahertz waves, electromagnetic waves with a frequency between microwaves and infrared light. “We are surrounded by electromagnetic waves in the terahertz range,” says lead author Hiroki Isobe, a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT Materials Research Laboratory. “If we can convert this energy into an energy source that we can use for everyday life, this will help solve the energy problems we are facing right now.”

Unlike MIT, Neutrino Energy Group's research is not limited to any one factor influencing graphene, but is much more complex and applied. They rely on the property of graphene - increased, in comparison with other materials, vibrations of its atoms. Moreover, graphene, being a 2D material, can exist stably only if it behaves like a 3D material. This property is associated with the features of its crystal lattice, which is a plane consisting of hexagonal cells, that is, it is a two-dimensional hexagonal crystal lattice. For this reason, vibrations of graphene atoms cause the appearance of "graphene waves", the frequency and amplitude of which depends on the impact of surrounding radiation fields and heat fluxes. "Graphene waves" are observed in a microscope with high resolution.

Holger Thorsten Schubart states, “The more factors that affect the frequency and amplitude of vibrations of graphene atoms, the more stable the power sources created on the basis of the Neutrinovoltaic technology developed by us work. The magnitude of oscillations of graphene atoms is affected by neutrinos, antineutrinos, electromagnetic fields that exist at the location of current sources, temperature, and terahertz waves. Due to the multifactorial nature of the impact on the magnitude of vibrations of graphene atoms, it is currently difficult to determine with 100% accuracy the proportion of the impact of one or another factor on the output power. Studies have been carried out on the contribution of neutrino particles to the generation of electricity. For this purpose, the tested A-4 energy plate was completely isolated from the effects of any electromagnetic pickups, with the exception of neutrinos, which was achieved by placing it near the Faraday cage at a depth of more than 30 m underground in a concrete bunker. Under such conditions, the electrical measuring device steadily fixed a power of 2.5-3.0 W. ”

Holger Thorsten Schubart, President, Neutrino Energy Group
Holger Thorsten Schubart, President, Neutrino Energy Group

The mechanism of interaction between neutrinos and matter was revealed by the published results of COHERENT experiments at the Oak Ridge Laboratory (USA), which proved that low-energy neutrinos participate in weak interactions with the nuclei of matter.A similar model of the interaction of neutrinos of any energy, but having mass, with graphene atoms can be taken as a theoretical justification for the scheme for converting the kinetic energy of a neutrino into a direct electric current.

The stability of power generation of current sources from Neutrino Energy Group, regardless of weather conditions, time of day and season, provides undoubted advantages over solar and wind power generation. In addition, placing the generating plates one above the other, like a stack of writing paper, ensures the compactness of the power sources and the possibility of placing them directly in places of energy consumption, including the placement of power sources in electrical appliances and equipment, which means that there is no need to connect to centralized power lines.

At present, 1 m3 of material will give a power of about 36 kW at a room temperature of 23,7° C. A set of closely packed pressed plates, which means connecting them in series with each other, constitutes an energy module, and connecting the energy modules with each other in series and/or in parallel provides the necessary output characteristics of the current sources.

One of the most important applications of Neutrinovoltaic technology in the near future may be the automotive industry, in particular, electromobility.The creation of an electric vehicle with current sources built into its body offers a solution to the current problems, namely:

  • abolition of the need to build a wide infrastructure for their charging,

  • no need to increase additional power generation to compensate for the charging power of electric vehicles,

  • the possibility of using small batteries, which reduces the need for scarce expensive materials, and also reduces the burden on the environment when recycling used batteries.

Neutrino Energy Group has entered into license agreements with a number of large manufacturing companies in various countries for the production of power sources.The first industrial production of Neutrino Power Cubes power sources with a capacity of 5-10 kW will begin in Switzerland.In addition, an agreement was signed with the Indian company C-MET for the development of a Pi body of an electric vehicle made of metamaterial with built-in current sources based on Neutrinovoltaic technology.Starting investments in the project amounted to $2.5 billion.

Despite the relatively short period of research on the properties of graphene, it has already shown itself as a promising material for the needs of alternative energy, opening up new opportunities for humanity on the way to abandoning fossil fuels, and the first example of its use in practice is the best proof of this.

Author: Ph.D.Rumiantcev L.K.

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