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Tech Trends: energy teleporting, carbon nanotubes, net zero glass

Jun 21, 2024

Energy teleportation in quantum computing demonstrated, carbon nanotubes for storage batteries and a new green energy-powered furnace for glass production are in this week’s technology radar.

The concept of teleportation – the transfer of objects from one place to another without traversing the intervening space – has been the topic of science fiction since as far back as the 1870s.

Since then quantum teleportation of information has emerged as a well-understood phenomenon of the quantum world – and now using quantum computing Kazuki Ikeda, a post-doctoral researcher in the Physics and Astronomy Department at New York’s Stony Brook University has reported the first demonstration of the teleportation of energy, the difference being that energy is a physical quantity whereas information is not.

The concept underlying quantum energy teleportation is that energy can be extracted from naturally occurring fluctuations of entangled particles, i.e. particles that are connected across a distance, and Ikeda reports the demonstration to be consistent with “the exact solution of the theory”.

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Ikeda’s demonstration took place within IBM quantum computers but he anticipates that it will soon be possible to teleport energy across longer distances over a quantum internet, which is expected to be in practical use around the 2030s, and eventually worldwide.

In addition to the implications for the development of information and communication technology and quantum physics, allowing physical quantities to be traded concretely on the quantum network means that a new economic market will be born, he says.

These advances notwithstanding, the teleportation of us humans, is still many years away, if ever, and remains for dreamers of time travel.

Vertically aligned single-walled carbon nanotubes have mechanical, electrical and transport properties that make them suitable for various applications from membrane separation to thermal management and fibre spinning.

They also could be utilised in energy storage but so far their widespread integration into next-generation technologies is thwarted by a lack of compatible, economic, mass-production capabilities.

However, that looks set to change. Currently, the nanotubes are typically made on substrates such as silicon or quartz wafers that are rigid, expensive and electrically insulating.

Now new work by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists with Inconel metal substrates has allowed them to integrate the nanotubes into flexible devices, eliminating a transfer step from Si to other substrates and minimising the electrical or thermal transport resistances at the nanotube-substrate interface. This is critical for electronic and energy storage applications.

Inconel is a family of nickel-chromium-based superalloys that are oxidation-corrosion-resistant materials well-suited for use in extreme environments subjected to pressure and heat.

“Transitioning growth of high quality carbon nanotubes from traditional Si substrates to metal foils opens the door to more economical, large-scale, semicontinuous and roll-to-roll manufacturing of multifunctional CNT composites, nanoporous membranes and electrochemical devices,” said LLNL scientist Francesco Fornasiero.

The synthesis of high quality single-walled carbon nanotubes on metal foils would be especially valuable for energy storage devices, such as lithium-ion batteries. While graphitic materials are common as anodes, their capacity falls short of rapidly evolving energy-storage needs.

Encirc Glass, a glass manufacturer partner in the northwestern England HyNet industrial decarbonisation initiative, and alcoholic beverage company Diageo have launched a plan to create the world’s first net zero glass bottles at scale by 2030.

Encirc is planning to build a new furnace powered by an energy mix of green electricity and low-carbon hydrogen to produce up to 200 million bottles for Diageo’s Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Gordon’s and Tanqueray brands annually by 2030.

The green electricity and hydrogen are expected to reduce carbon emissions by 90%, with the remaining 10% to be removed with carbon capture technology.

Initial production is planned to start in 2027.

Glass Futures, a local R&D facility, will support the initiative by trialling sustainable fuels on furnaces and developing the future furnace technology required to support Encirc and the wider glass industry in its goals.

Adrian Curry, Managing Director of Encirc describes the initiative as a major step in the goal of producing net zero glass by 2030.

“Glass is an incredible material being infinitely recyclable and chemically inert. It has been around since 3500 BC and has never been produced in this way. This is about protecting glass as a material by addressing the carbon challenge.”

Energy teleportation in quantum computing demonstrated, carbon nanotubes for storage batteries and a new green energy-powered furnace for glass production are in this week’s technology radar.Have you read?