Switched Capacitor Energy Buffer Architecture

Problem: Power conversion systems that interface between dc and single-phase ac need energy storage to provide buffering between the constant power desired by a dc source or load and the continuously varying power desired for a single-phase ac system. While electrolytic capacitors are generally used to provide high-density energy storage for buffering, their limited-life and […]

Shape Memory Alloy Actuator with Sharp Phase Change

Problem: Thermally-actuated gas valves require a gas-oil temperature difference of at least 6┬░C to completely actuate, based on commercially available SMA wire material properties. Some wells may have less than 6┬░C temp difference, and thus the current safety valve design could not be applied. Technology: This invention describes a way to decrease the temperature difference […]

Prediction of Stable Nanocrystalline Binary Alloys

Problem: Need for general framework to design new nanocrystalline alloys that are stable against both grain growth and phase separation, both critical to commercialization of products with long lifetimes. Technology: This invention presents the first model for the design of nanocrystalline alloys that are stable against both grain growth and phase separation. This model can […]

Portable Pneumatic Battery: Chemical Power Generation for Fluidic Elastomer Actuators

Problem: Fluidic actuators require a pressure source, which limits their mobility and mainstream usage. Technology: This invention uses a chemical approach to achieve portable and silent pressure generation. It specifically focuses on on-demand pressure generation by mechanical self-regulation of decomposition of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into oxygen (O2). Another key feature is its rotation-invariant usage, which […]

Photovoltaic Reverse Osmosis System with Thermal Management

Problems: 1. Solar panel conversion efficiency decreases with increasing temperature 2. The amount of energy required to desalinate water increase as temperature of the feed water decreases Technology: This invention uses photovoltaic panels (PV) to power reverse-osmosis water filtration. A thermal controller maximizes the clean water produced by a PV/RO system by managing the temperatures […]

Per Panel Photovoltaic Energy Extraction with Multilevel Output DC-DC Switched Capacitor Converters

Problem: Electrolytic capacitors and per panel magnetics have limited lifetime and are expensive. Technology: This invention proposes per-panel Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) for widespread solar arrays. A full system approach is presented, utilizing switched capacitor multi-level DC-DC and a central ripple-port inverter to replace the multiple inductors used in current PV technology. Christopher Noble […]

Parabolic Solar Concentrators Using Optimized Bands

Problem: Precision parabolic mirrors are expensive to fabricate and to transport. Technology: This invention allow flat mirror elements to be easily fabricated and efficiently packaged and shipped to field sites and assembled into the parabolic trough concentrators with potentially substantial costs reductions compared with conventional methods. The mirror is formed from a thin flat very […]

Multi-Phase Grid Interface System

Problem: Need for efficient power conversion for multi-phase systems, with robust ac interfaces. Technology: Improving the efficiency in electrical power conversion reduces unneeded power consumption. This invention provides a multi-phase power converter architecture with a robust ac interface, enabling an improvement in efficiency over traditional implementations. The design inherently provides the capability for bidirectional and […]

Improvements in Horizontal-Axis Wind Turbines

Problem: Conventional horizontal-axis wind turbines require a geared transmission, which tends to be large, heavy, prone to failure, and leads to losses. Technology: The invention describes two concepts to address the need to avoid the need for gear transmission. -Mount a circular shroud around the turbine-blade tips, carrying permanent magnets or iron laminations or possibly […]