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Local company develops on-demand power

Ann Thompson
One use for this new energy storage system may be electric cars.

Star Sailor Energy and Aerospace Research Systems (ARSI) now have funding to scale up an energy storage system and on-demand power module that could one day fit in your pocket and charge your cell phone.

Cincinnati aerospace scientist and company CEO Dr. Pamela Menges invented the storage system that she  says is greener than a battery because it doesn't use chemicals and generate heat. She says it can:

  • Collect energy from a generator or other renewable devices
  • Recharge an electric vehicle
  • Harvest energy from the environment
  • Power space rovers 
  • Provide power for appliances that need to communicate with one another (Internet of Things IoT)

The energy storage technology is half the density of a consumer-type battery with about 1/40th of the weight. It uses advanced materials including shape memory alloys and shape memory plastic. This means it has one shape but can take on another temporary shape through temperature change.
Menges says micro-grid users (not utility grade) may be some of the first adopters of the technology. "Combined with electric vehicles and certain industrial applications, those would be in the near future. In the little longer term this could be a device that you could actually carry in your pocket to harvest energy from just walking around and doing your daily activities to charge your devices."

The first uses for this technology are expected in about five years.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.