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EnerG2 / FAQ

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about EnerG2, our advanced materials, ultracapacitors and the next generation of energy storage:

What does the company do?
EnerG2 engineers advanced nano-structured materials for energy storage breakthroughs.

Why is energy storage so important to a sustainable economy?
The New Energy Economy will depend on cutting-edge clean technologies. However, these innovations will only take us so far unless we have readily available, truly efficient, reliable and cost-effective clean energy storage systems. Energy storage breakthroughs will radically improve energy efficiency, better match energy supply and demand, and enable entirely new applications in transportation, manufacturing and consumer products. Energy storage is essential for driving energy efficiencies that will, in turn, drive our energy future.

What makes EnerG2 different?
EnerG2 approaches the energy storage problem with engineered materials solutions; and, from our perspective, it’s the materials that matter in any energy storage device.

Rather than accept the limitations of naturally occurring materials, EnerG2 uses materials science to assemble cutting-edge products at the molecular level. Controlling the molecular structure and assembly process of our engineered materials at the earliest stage possible provides flexibility, lowers costs and maximizes performance. As a result, we are delivering new capabilities and creating fresh opportunities in energy storage.

What is EnerG2 focused on today?
EnerG2 is currently focused on customizing electrode materials to enhance energy and power density in ultracapacitors, one of the essential engines of the New Energy Economy. Ultracapacitors, or electric double layer capacitors, are quickly supplanting and complementing traditional battery technology in a variety of industries.  Ultracapacitors discharge their stored energy several orders of magnitude faster than conventional batteries. The size and make-up of the electrode materials’ surface area helps ultracapacitors store and supply large bursts of energy over a virtually limitless cycle life.

EnerG2’s engineered carbon materials can be used in electrodes to significantly enhance the power performance, energy density and overall cost of ultracapacitor-based energy storage systems.

The innovative EnerG2 process involves synthesizing high-performance ultracapacitor electrode materials through control and manipulation of molecular self-assembly. The resulting material has the physical characteristics that are required for breakthrough ultracapacitor applications – but at a fraction of the price.

The EnerG2 approach allows for tuning of the materials for electrolyte performance, which improves overall performance. With an unmatched purity level, EnerG2 improves potential operating voltages, which creates an exponential impact on both energy and power density. And, by engineering optimized combinations of micropores and mesopores, EnerG2 simultaneously enhances power and energy performance.

The bottom line is that EnerG2 drives down the cost of energy per unit of measure in an energy storage system – whether it’s kilograms, kilowatts or watt hours.

What are the most promising applications for ultracapacitors?
Ultracapacitors containing EnerG2 materials will be increasingly embraced by the automotive industry for hybrid electric vehicles, by electronics manufacturers for enhancing the life and usability of consumer goods, and by a variety of industrial customers to deliver an ever-increasing breadth of new ways to improve energy efficiency.

What’s next for EnerG2?
In the future, EnerG2 materials may be used to improve the performance and cycle life of a variety of battery chemistries, as well as to enable higher efficiency storage of natural gas, methane and hydrogen.

How would EnerG2 play in natural gas storage?
Today’s natural gas reserves far exceed estimated global oil reserves and provide a suitable near-term alternative to petroleum-fueled vehicles. As the penetration of natural gas in combustion-engine applications accelerates, greater emphasis is being placed on the economics and safety of current energy storage technologies. EnerG2’s carbon materials can be tailored to adsorb methane molecules, which allows natural gas to adhere quickly and easily to the carbon’s ultra-high surface area.

EnerG2’s engineered materials facilitate the construction of low-pressure natural gas storage systems that can meet rapidly escalating demand requirements in a safer, more cost-effective and energy-efficient manner.

We believe that adsorbed natural gas (ANG) storage is superior to compressed natural gas (CNG) storage because it is safer and far more efficient – ANG can be stored at less than 500 PSI while CNG requires 3500 PSI. Over 20 percent of the cost of CNG is related to compression; high-performance ANG storage systems can virtually eliminate this expense.

The materials that EnerG2 develops are tuned to attract methane, the primary energy-containing molecule in natural gas; liquid natural gas densities can also be achieved – and even exceeded – on the surface of EnerG2’s storage materials.

What about hydrogen storage?
The promise of clean, efficient power from hydrogen fuel cells requires significant advancements in hydrogen storage technologies. Metal and chemical hydrides are well known for the volumetric and gravimetric density of their hydrogen content, but they suffer from serious limitations in a manageable storage system. EnerG2 combines its carbon materials with chemical hydrides to form nano-composites that are dense with hydrogen and significantly improve hydrogen storage system performance.

Extremely high pressures are generally required to store liquid hydrogen and significant heat is required to extract the hydrogen from hydrides. EnerG2’s carbon materials reduce both the pressure and heat requirements in a hydrogen storage system.

Our manufacturing processes improve the speed, flexibility and cost of producing hydrogen-rich nano-composites while permitting a variety of carbon-hydride combinations. The form factors of nano-composite-based storage systems make incorporation into vehicles or other non-stationary applications much easier and more flexible. The heat-transfer characteristics of the carbon improve the rate at which the hydrides discharge the hydrogen. In fact, the waste heat captured from fuel cells using ambient pressure can effectively power hydrogen discharge in EnerG2 nano-composites.

Can you discuss EnerG2’s products?
EnerG2 focuses its efforts and attention on three core carbon material groups:

Powders in infinitely variable carbon particle sizes are used to make high-performance electrode materials for ultracapacitors and other electrochemical energy storage devices.

Monoliths are the carbon materials composed of our carbon powders in relatively solid form; they can be used in methane and natural gas storage systems.

Nano-Composites are created when carbon materials are mixed with chemical and metal hydrides during manufacturing; they are central to hydrogen storage systems.

What is the technology basis behind EnerG2?
The patented and proprietary technology used by EnerG2 is based on nano-structured carbon materials that are finely controlled and offer ultra-high surface areas.

These materials are extremely conductive and are tremendously attractive to energy-storing molecules such as electrolytic ions, methane, natural gas and hydrogen. 

The result: maximum energy storage that is exceedingly cost effective.

Originally working in collaboration with the University of Washington Department of Materials Science & Engineering, EnerG2 has developed and commercialized unique sol-gel processing technologies to construct high-performance carbon materials. Sol-gel processing, which creates optimal structure and purity in the finished carbon product, is a chemical synthesis that gels colloidal suspensions to form solids through heat and catalysts.

EnerG2 has invented a patented ability to control the hydrolysis and condensation reactions within the gelling process, which allows the materials’ surface structures and pore-size distributions to be shaped, molded and customized for a variety of critical energy storage uses.

The EnerG2 approach to energy storage material manufacturing is unique and differentiated from the competition.  Most commercially available materials for energy storage are produced from naturally occurring precursors; therefore much of the performance of these derivative materials is determined by natural physical properties of the selected precursor. As a result, important characteristics such as pore-size distribution and purity are fixed within the natural precursor and are merely exposed by competitors’ various processing approaches.

Innovation at EnerG2 is derived from building our energy storage materials from scratch. This approach leads to greater structural control, improved product purity and an ability to escape today’s energy storage performance limitations.

EnerG2 has developed these processing capabilities with an explicit and aggressive focus on cost control. To avoid the expensive processing typically associated with nanotechnology, the company has leveraged large-scale commercial processing technologies from established industries to design a production approach that is both relatively inexpensive and inherently scalable. 
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