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Thomas’ research on supercapacitors has won a 2015 R&D 100 award.

The R&D 100 Awards have a 50+ year history of recognizing excellence in innovation, earning the name the “Oscars of Invention.” The award provides a mark of excellence known to industry, government, and consumers that tells potential customers that the product has successfully competed against other new technologies in open competition. And at the annual event, the high rollers of the science and technology industry are honored on stage for their innovative, high-tech products and processes that are, or will, make a difference in our everyday lives.

Thomas and his team’s research in developing supercapacitor dual-purpose cables eliminates the need for separate energy storage facilities by using the transmitting cable to store the energy. This dual-purpose cable provides improved integration of environment-dependent clean energy sources such as solar and wind into the energy grid, as well as power load management, thus eliminating the need for separate traditional power transmission and energy storage.

Further development of this innovative, lightweight, flexible wire will be attractive for transportation applications, including hybrid and electric vehicles, trains, aircraft, as well as various military applications, since considerable space and weight currently occupied by the batteries or supercapacitors can be eliminated. In addition to grid power, numerous applications in consumer electronics are expected.

The technology has the ability to incorporate energy storage into many wired devices with excellent bendability, negligible additional weight and no additional space. This will lead to smaller power supplies, surge current balancing to increase battery lifespans, or potentially even eliminate a battery entirely, in addition to other benefits. A new dual-use power storage cord to power electronic devices eliminates the need for frequent charges in an A/C or electric outlet. In addition, the technology may be incorporated into wearable fabrics, allowing portable electronic devices to be automatically charged.

Photo caption: (from left) – Rob Bernath, business development manager at the UCF Office of Technology Transfer, and Jayan Thomas, UCF researcher, accept the R&D 100 Award honoring excellence in technology innovations at the annual awards banquet in Las Vegas.