Tidal generators present a useful energy source, but suffer from the variation in power produced as the tides move in and out. The change in direction of flow also requires the generators to be bi-directional. A method is needed to store some of the energy produced during peak flows and released during low flows. A robust generating device is needed for this harsh environment, coupled with a low maintenance power storage device. The new St Andrews Combined Tidal Stream/Reversible Hydrogen System for Balanced Renewable Generation technology meets these requirements.By coupling the generators with a reversible fuel cell to store the spare energy as hydrogen gas, to be used later when needed, the reversible fuel cell should have good efficiency and reliability, as there are no pumps etc to use power or break down. It is also a simple, compact unit with the ability for easily extended capacity or power independently.
- Generates constant power from tidal source
- Small simple system incorporating a robust reversible fuel cell
- Simple and effective generation platform
The system would be an ideal constant power supply for a remote community with a viable tidal source.
The reversible fuel cell system is protected by patents granted in the USA, Canada and Europe (see US 8,748,052). The research group continues to work in this area of fuel cell research and the University would like to speak to any company interested in the technology. Please complete the enquiry form below.
The state of the art anode material used in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells is the Ni/YSZ ceramic-metal (cermet) composite (where YSZ = Y2O3/ZrO2) which has several difficulties in use. The anode is prepared as NiO/YSZ, and must be reduced to Ni/YSZ to work: this entails a large volumetric shrinkage, which can cause the cells to crack. Ni is a good catalyst for cracking hydrocarbon fuels, but tends to produce solid carbon, which then blocks the electrode, lowering performance and effective working life. The metallic Ni phase is also mobile and tends to sinter over time, again lowering performance.
Our technology overcomes these problems while achieving a comparable electrochemical performance, electrical and catalytic properties (significantly better when used with methane fuel). The new perovskite anode shows better tolerance to hydrocarbon fuels, without depositing carbon on the electrode. The perovskite anode can withstand more repeated cycling than a Ni/YSZ anode.
- As effective as existing materials but without the problems such as cell cracking and reduced effective working life.
- Redox stable – no cracking on cycling.Highly tolerant of hydrocarbon fuels.
- Resistant to carbon deposition.No need for initial cell reduction.
- The perovskite anode can be used in any Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) instead of Ni/YSZ, where redox stability or hydrocarbon use is needed. This covers most applications of SOFCs.
- The University would welcome enquiries from commercial parties interested in developing commercial applications of fuel cells and fuel cell materials.
The University of St Andrews has granted patents in Japan, USA, Canada, China, Australia and Europe (GB, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Austria and Germany) and continues to perform R&D in advanced materials for fuel cells. The University is looking for a licensee to the patents and knowhow or a commercial collaborator to take it to market. Patent Numbers: PCT/GB2003/003344, Granted patents: US 7,504,172 , Europe 1532710. Additional information can be made available under a confidentiality agreement.
The use of TADF emitters represents a paradigm shift in emitter development wherein inexpensive small molecule organic compounds can now be used to harvest 100% of the excitons in an electroluminescent device and so obtain excellent power efficiencies. We have developed a series of deep blue TADF emitters for Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLED).
TADF allows purely organic emitters to harvest the triplet states as an alternative to the existing heavy-metal based phosphorescent OLEDs, which are known to be expensive and environmentally hostile. The emitters contain both carbazole donors and oxadiazole acceptors to effectively form excitons by a charge trapping mechanism. The blue colour emission wavelength of these emitters can be a valuable asset as there is currently a dearth of bright blue-emitting phosphorescent emitters for OLEDs.
The invention is primarily used for blue-emitting OLEDs or, when operating in parallel with green and red emitters, for energy-efficient white lighting devices. Due to the nature of TADF, potential applications also include temperature or oxygen sensors.
- Harvesting 100% of excitons via TDF for OLED devices
- Inexpensive organic emitters
- Environmentally more benign
- Deep blue emission colour
- Ambipolar characteristic
- Blue-emitting OLEDs
- To operate in parallel with red and green emitters for energy efficient white light devices
- Due to the nature of TADF, potential applications also include temperature or oxygen sensors
Subject to UK patent application number 1507340.6 filed 29 April 2015.
Roll-to-roll printing of plastic electronics from solution promises to revolutionise the manufacturing of luminaires, offering a cheap and scalable method of fabricating high-efficiency light sources. White light displays are the holy grail of this endeavour and require efficient red, green and blue emitters. So far, red and green emitters using iridium-based complexes have been synthesised, but efficient and stable blue light emitter design is still a challenge in the industry. To tackle this, we have designed deep-blue emitting cationic iridium complexes that are unprecedentedly bright. A tethering strategy, where the distal components of the ligand scaffold are rigidly linked together, drastically enhances the brightness of these emitters while simultaneously invoking a deep blue colour due to the ligand’s strong electron donating capabilities.
Our rigidifying strategy differs from typical strategies that use multi-dentate ligands, which are synthetically challenging to access; our strategy uses established straightforward protocols to access these complexes.
The invention is primarily suited for OLED or LEEC application for visual display and lighting applications. Due to the charged phosphorescent nature of the emitter, applications relating to bio-imaging, analyte detection and oxygen sensing are also feasible.
- Deep blue emission
- Enhanced brightness from steric bulk and rigidified ligand scaffolds
- Straightforward synthesis through established protocols
- Highly soluble in organic solvents makes solution processing and roll-to-roll printing of optoelectronics possible
- OLEDs for visual displays & lighting applications
- LEECs for visual displays and lighting
- Due to the charged phosphorescent nature of the emitter applications relating to bio-imaging, analyte detection and oxygen sensing are also feasible
Patent granted – US10236454B2
While conventional thinking in cell biology assumes that cells communicate via biochemical signalling, there is an increasing number of examples where mechanical effects are equally important, e.g. in development, physiology and disease. The current gold standard for imaging the mechanical forces applied by living cells are traction force microscopy and elastic micro-pillar arrays. However, these methods require zero-force reference images and thus removal of cells from the substrate, rendering them unavailable for immunostaining. In addition, fluorescence microscopy is usually needed, which can lead to photo-damage. Finally, both these methods have limited sensitivity to vertical forces. These factors have so far prevented the widespread use of cell mechanical assays, e.g. in clinical settings. What is currently missing is a generally applicable method to image cellular forces that is compatible with immunostaining and resolves weak forces with high throughput. Our novel micro-interferometer based force sensors provide direct, robust and non-destructive imaging of forces associated with various types of mechanical cell-substrate interaction.
While existing methods are generally based on localization microscopy, our novel sensors detect cell-induced substrate deformations interferometrically and thus provide unprecedented sensitivity. They are able to resolve not only forces exerted by cells that form firm focal adhesion contacts but can also detect protein-specific cell-substrate interaction and quantify much weaker vertical forces (down to piconewtons), e.g. during amoeboid-type cell migration through confined environments or the protrusion of podosomes. The new method requires no zero-force reference image, which enables continuous, long-term measurements of multiple cells on one substrate as well as further investigation of cells by immunostaining or other assays. As the interferometric sensors are read out by low-intensity wide-field imaging, forces are recorded at each point of the image simultaneously, thus facilitating observation of multiple cells at once without inducing photo-damage.
- High throughput, robust and reference-free imaging of cellular forces
- Unprecedented sensitivity to vertical forces
- Seamless integration with other imaging modalities and bioassays
- Continuous tracking of the mechanical activity of cells over long periods
- Ready for massive parallelisation and applications in clinical diagnostics
- Mechanical force imaging of living cells
- Measurement of mechanical cell-substrate interaction
- Cell mechanical assays for diagnosticc tests and bioassays
The University filed UK patent application No GB1421214.6 on 28th November 2014 covering the technology concept and this application is now proceeding through national phase applications in the US 15/531118, Europe 15794269.9 and Singapore Patent Office as 11201704325Q.
St Andrews would welcome enquiries from commercial parties interested in developing applications for this novel interferometer-based sensor technology.
It is estimated that companies around the world lose a total of $1.8 trillion annually (UK economy, £30 billion) due to counterfeited products. While counterfeiting imposes a challenge on every industry, the pharmaceutical and alcoholic beverage industry (e.g. Whisky producers) are affected most, since forged products can have life threatening implications. In fact, it is estimated that the deaths of up to one million people each year can be related to toxic or ineffective counterfeited drugs. Current product security features include raised printing, watermarks, micro-lettering, holograms and security inks. While these technologies contribute to the overall counterfeit resilience, the current security features are still often forged. Similarly, official documents such as passports or banknotes are prime candidates for counterfeiting. For example, in 2016, counterfeit Sterling bank notes with a face value £7.5 million were removed from circulation by the Bank of England, highlighting an ever-increasing need for sophisticated and counterfeit resilient security features.
Our distributed feedback membrane laser technology addresses this need and could become a widely applied and versatile security feature on valued documents or similar products. Due to their extreme mechanical flexibility, ultra-low weight and ultra-thin design, these membrane lasers can be applied to banknotes or other documents requiring authentication control to serve as unique security labels. Up to (10e15)n unique labels for (n different gain materials) can be created and read out using a simple contactless optical system. The specialist expertise and technology facilities needed to produce the lasers will make them almost impossible to counterfeit, rendering it a strong and reliable security feature. Furthermore, the high optical transparency of the membrane lasers, combined with their low thresholds and ultrathin design also allows their use as wearable security tags, even on contact lenses where they can complement biometric authentication with iris scans.
- Extremely flexible, ultrathin (< 500 nm) and ultralow weight (0.5 g/m2) membrane lasers
- Transferable to any object requiring authentication control (e.g. banknotes, passports, branded goods, pharmaceuticals, etc.)
- 10e15 unique barcode-like labels can be created
- High read-out stability under ambient conditions
- Straightforward contactless read out using a simple optical system
- High counterfeit resilience due to a sophisticated production procedure
- Uses low-cost mass-scale production via inkjet printing techniques and roll-to-roll processes
- Branded goods
The University filed UK Patent Application No. 1711097.4 on 10th July 2017 and has subsequently prepared EP and US national phase filings.