Robotics has been gaining immense popularity in almost all industries and has seen a rise in adoption in the energy sector as well.
FREMONT, CA: The Unmanned Systems Roadmap, published in December 2007, projected an increased shift on the U.S. military operations' dependence on unmanned vehicles during a period of 25 years. By implementing structural batteries and other structural power options, the performance of these vehicles can be greatly enhanced. Added to this is the technical challenges faced by robotic devices in the military, which intensifies the need to implement and switch to these alternate sources of energy.
There have been numerous instances of devoted efforts into creating flexible, textile, and stretchable energy storage devices, including supercapacitors and lithium-ion batteries. The results include the successful insertion of Li-ions in carbon filter by the research team from Kungliga TekniskaHögskolan (KTH), Sweden, following which the report by the research team from Imperial College London, United Kingdom, that stated that carbon fiber reinforced polymers would act as a supercapacitor while also sustaining mechanical loads.
Despite these advantages, the fundamental conflict between the ability of materials to carry load and transport charge and between high mechanical strength and high ion intercalation capacity prove to be a significant obstacle to bring structural energy storage devices into the current technological landscape. This problem arises from the fact that load-bearing functionality requires strong chemical bonds and robust materials, while transportation of charge and storage functionalities require weak bonds and porous materials.
The effective solution in this regard lies in leveraging out-of-the-box approaches to engineering materials and devices, and this would be a giant stride for global energy, the environment, and sustainability. The utilization of biomimetic engineering of naturally occurring nanocomposites can mitigate the bottleneck of structural batteries.
In addition, biomimetic solid-state electrolytes also ensure increased structural integrity, which protects them from different types of damage while also enabling shape modification of the assembled battery to carry different structural loads. The corrugated structural batteries can also be integrated into body elements of unmanned aerial vehicles in the form of auxiliary charge storage devices.
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