Discover Glass - Glass electrifies

Glass electrifies – A material for use in tomorrow’s energy technologies

Long-lasting fuel cells, innovative batteries for electric cars, high-performance capacitors – SCHOTT is already developing solutions for the energy technologies of the future. Glass is truly multitalented and a material that can be used to convert, transport, store and use energy.

The art of manufacturing glass calls for designing specialty glasses that meet specific demands out of a wide variety of starting materials. Here, glass can take on completely different properties and perform different functions by choosing the right glass components. Take glasses that are electrically insulated extremely well, for example, or those that conduct electricity. Many glasses are dielectrically “inconspicuous,” while others set new standards for extremely high storage density and excellent dielectric properties. Glasses can also be extremely thermally resistant or be softened at even low temperatures.

Fuel cells live longer with glass

Special sealing glass is fused together with other materials and performs an important sealing function in high-temperature fuel cells that generate electricity at 600 to 1000°C. The high operating temperature places extremely high demands on the material used that special glass from SCHOTT is capable of meeting. During melting, it forms a permanent chemical bond with the oxide ceramic electrolyte and the metal of the cell housing. This ensures that no uncontrolled gas exchange takes place at the expense of the efficiency of the fuel cell.
Fuel cells live longer with glass
SCHOTT supplies extremely temperature-resistant glasses as sealing materials for high-temperature fuel cells. Intensive research activities will help to prepare these energy-efficient suppliers of heat and electricity for the mass market.

High-voltage direct current: Shutting the power supply on and off

Offshore wind parks produce only three-phase current to start with, which is then converted into direct current that can be transported without losses inside converter stations. Voltage differences of up to 800,000 V can be observed with high-voltage direct current. The switches that turn this high potential on and off use light pulses that are guided through voltage-proof and extremely durable fiber optic light guides from SCHOTT.
High-voltage direct current: Shutting the power supply on and off
In high-voltage direct current transmission voltage-proof and extremely durable fiber optic light guides are used to switch the power lines on and off.

Glass-ceramic used as a capacitor material delivers higher power

Innovative glass-ceramics also make important contributions to transporting electricity. When used in high-power capacitors, POWERAMIC®  allows for higher storage density and lighter weight than commercial capacitor solutions as a highly homogeneous and pore-free insulation material. This also makes it quite attractive for use in mobile applications, for example in electric rail traffic and electric cars. These high-voltage capacitors can also be used directly at the energy source, for instance in wind turbines, where they allow for electricity to be fed directly into the grid in electric components.
SCHOTT has developed a new dielectric material called POWERAMIC<sup>®</sup>. Even at high temperatures, these extremely homogeneous, pore-free glass-ceramics offer extremely high energy storage density and excellent dielectric properties. When used as passive components such as capacitors in the high-voltage range, they make it possible to manufacture significantly smaller and lighter constructions that still deliver high power density.

Glass for greater reliability in electric mobility

Glass-to-aluminum seals (GTAS®)  encapsulate components that deliver electricity inside high-voltage ion batteries for use in electric automobiles and thus ensure that they run smoothly for years to come. In order to drive electric mobility even further, SCHOTT works along the entire battery roadmap. An innovative glass powder (“S-Glass”) helps to stabilize the separators in today’s liquid electrolyte batteries, allows for higher temperature resistance and thus greater security and a longer lifespan. SCHOTT is also a partner in many different projects on developing “next generation” batteries (lithium-air and lithium-sulfur batteries) in which a solid ion conductor replaces the liquid electrolyte. SCHOTT has developed an innovative ion conducting material  for this purpose. “Batteries of the future” hold immense potential. In commercial form, they promise to deliver three to five times higher storage capacities of around 1,000 watt hours per kilogram – and thus much longer ranges for electric cars.

Glass also offers the flexibility and performance that the energy landscape of the future will require – and SCHOTT experts are continuing to develop new ideas for innovations made of glass that electrify.
Glass for greater reliability in electric mobility
Cover systems from SCHOTT that feature glass-to-aluminum sealing technology (GTAS®) offer extended lifespans and long-term tightness of lithium-ion batteries.
Glass for greater reliability in electric mobility
Innovative lithium-air batteries could multiply the range of the electric cars of the future. SCHOTT developed an innovative ion conducting glass-ceramic as part of a funded research project. The battery test cells are tested during charging and discharging inside a climate chamber (photo).
An experimental setup at the Technical University of Darmstadt shows how glass electrifies using a pane of BOROFLOAT® glass. This experiment demonstrates the extremely high dielectric strength of glass. Despite the extremely short distance of only 2.75 millimeters and voltage of 65,000 V, no breakdown takes place between the electrodes through the glass plate. Unlike discharges through air in the form of lightning, the electricity that appears as a blue flame is not conducted through the glass plate. Instead, the electricity is impressively guided through the air and across the glass surface all the way to the edges like lightning without leaving even a trace of damage on the glass. (left picture)

Hint for journalists
SCHOTT introduced its innovations on the topic “Glass electrifies” for the first time at a new series for the press entitled “Discovering Glass” on April 16, 2015. The follow up event in the fall of 2015 will focus on “Ultra-thin glass.” (right picture)
Innovation Round Table
Innovation Round Table
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