PFI:AIR - RA: Glass Capacitors for Energy Storage and Conversion

Project: Research project

Project Details


This PFI: AIR Research Alliance project focuses on the translation and transfer of capacitor technology, derived from The Center for Dielectrics and Piezoelectrics expertise and discoveries in new insulating materials. Our glass capacitor technology has market-valued features including miniaturization and high-temperature operation. These features provide more compact and reliable power conversion systems in electric vehicles and higher temperature electric systems for energy exploration when compared to the leading polymer film capacitors in this market space. This glass capacitor technology is important because it will lead to higher performance, lower cost and more reliable hybrid electric and plug-in electric vehicles. The innovation ecosystem that will be enhanced includes Penn State University, PolyK and the Department of Energy. Penn State provides fundamental process and property knowledge of glass materials. PolyK is a startup company with a focus on the development and commercialization of advanced dielectric materials and smart materials. The Department of Energy Office of Vehicle Technologies supports industry and national labs in the development of power electronics for hybrid vehicles. The potential economic impact is expected to be the development of new high-temperature capacitors over the next three years. Graduate and undergraduate students will gain entrepreneurial and technology translation experience through learning about the supply chain from materials to components to systems. In addition, students will learn about the intellectual property process from the invention disclosure to the issued patent.This project addresses the following technology gap(s) as it translates from research discovery toward commercial application. This project will establish the scientific and engineering foundations to deliver power electronic capacitors with high energy densities and reliable operation under harsh environments. Over the past decade, the display industry has revolutionized the production of thin glass sheet by down-draw methods. A quite unexpected application has been found for thin glass dielectrics in the energy conversion arena. The research challenge for new energy storage materials can be distilled into a single figure-of-merit energy density, which captures the vital materials parameters of relative permittivity and dielectric breakdown strength (electric field). Recently, it has been discovered that glass has among the highest energy densities (up to 35 J/cm3) among all dielectric materials, which will allow for significant capacitor miniaturization. Glass becomes very flexible as the thickness decreases to the point where roll-to-roll processes becomes possible for manufacturing capacitors.
Effective start/end date7/15/1412/31/18


  • National Science Foundation: $333,333.00


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