The art of croissant making has inspired researchers from Queen Mary University of London to find a solution to a sustainable energy problem.
Croissants are made by pressing and folding dough to create a layered pastry. The researchers applied this technique to a dielectric capacitor, which is a device that stores energy like a battery. By pressing and folding a polymer film capacitor - a capacitor with an insulating plastic film - they were able to store 30 times more energy than the best-performing commercially available dielectric capacitor, biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP).
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that this is the highest energy density ever reported in a polymer film capacitor.
Renewable and sustainable energy sources like solar and wind are intermittent by nature and to make them of wider practical use it is necessary to develop efficient, low-cost and environmentally friendly electric energy storage systems.
Dr Emiliano Bilotti, lead researcher of the study from Queen Mary University of London, 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.”
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