Britain: Nanoscale Energy Storage Material Under Development
2010 02 17
By Boris Cambreleng | AFP
A nanoscale material developed in Britain could one day yield wafer-thin cellphones and light-weight, long-range electric cars powered by the roof, boot and doors, researchers have reported.
For now, the new technology -- a patented mix of carbon fibre and polymer resin that can charge and release electricity just like a regular battery -- has not gone beyond a successful laboratory experiment.
But if scaled-up, it could hold several advantages over existing energy sources for hybrid and electric cars, according to the scientists at Imperial College London who developed it.
Lithium-ion batteries used in the current generation of plug-in vehicles depend on dwindling supplies of lithium.
Lithium-ion batteries used in the current generation of plug-in vehicles are not only heavy, which adds to energy consumption, but also depend on dwindling supplies of the metal lithium, whose prices have risen steadily.
The new material -- while expensive to make -- is entirely synthetic, which means production would not be limited by availability of natural resources.
Another plus: conventional batteries need chemical reactions to generate juice, a process which causes them to degrade over time and gradually lose the capacity to hold a charge.
The carbon-polymer composite does not depend on chemistry, which not only means a longer life but a quicker charge as well.
Because the material is composed of elements measured in billionths of a metre, "you don't compromise the mechanical properties of the fibers," explained Emile Greenhalgh, an engineer at Imperial College and one of the inventors.
As hard a steel, it could in theory double as the body of the vehicle, cutting the weight by up to a third.
The Tesla Roadster, a luxury electric car made in the United States, for example, weighs about 1,200 kilos (2,650 pounds), more than a third of which is accounted for by batteries, which turn the scales at a hefty 450 kilos (990 pounds). The vehicle has a range of about 300 kilometers (185 miles) before a recharge is needed.
"With our material, we would ultimately lose that 450 kilos (990 pounds)," Greenhalgh said in an interview. "That car would be faster and travel further."
Vehicles with bodies crafted from the new material would likewise shed weight because it is four time lighter than steel, while remaining as strong and stiff.
"It is the sort of thing you find in tennis rackets or fishing rods -- a carbon fibre composite," Greenhalgh said.
"We aim to increase the surface area of the fibres as much as possible without degrading the mechanical properties. The larger the surface, the more electrical charge they can store."
The European Union (EU) announced last week that it would sink 3.4 million euros (4.6 million dollars) over three years into developing the new technology, with Imperial College coordinating a project spread over nine companies and institutes in Britain, Sweden, Germany and Greece.
Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has said it might build a demonstration panel into an existing electric car prototype.
Within three years, the researchers expect shave 15 percent off the weight of a car, and in five to six years, be able to integrate the material into the body.
But it will take a decade before the new material could fully replace existing batteries, Greenhalgh cautioned.
One of the question marks is cost.
Carbon fibre is a lot more expensive than steel, but mass production should bring down costs dramatically, he said.
Article from: AFP
Material bends, stretches and conducts electricity?
New material may be step towards 3D invisibility cloak
'Recordable' Proteins As Next-generation Memory Storage Materials
'Invisible' Material Key to DARPA Dream Display
Graphene: The Next Semiconductor Material?
Nanobattery created to power RFID tags
Prototype Nokia phone recharges without wires
Latest News from our Front Page
The Aeon of Horus is Ending and the Elites are Nervous as their Icons are Dying
2014 04 18
I predict there is going to be a huge resurgence of interest in European indigenous spiritual traditions from Norse to Celtic/Gaelic to Slavic and so on. Millions of Europeans are going to realise that we are the victims of Christianity and New Age garbage. Their bastardised Kabbalah, the psychic force used by Crowley and the elites to cement his Aeon ...
Easter - Christian or Pagan?
2014 04 18
Contrary to popular belief, Easter does not represent the "historical" crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In reality, the gospel tale reflects the annual "crossification" of the sun through the vernal equinox (Spring), at which time the sun is "resurrected," as the day begins to become longer than the night.
Rather than being a "Christian" holiday, Easter celebrations date back ...
Man-Made Blood Might Be Used in Transfusions by 2016
2014 04 18
Researchers in the U.K. have created the first man-made red blood cells of high enough quality to be introduced into the human body
The premise of the HBO show and book series True Blood revolves around a technological breakthrough: scientists figure out how to synthesize artificial human blood, which, as an ample new source of non-human food, allows vampires to "come ...
The Trials of the Cherokee Were Reflected In Their Skulls
2014 04 18
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors – from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War – led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people.
The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics.
Our Fears May Be Shaped by Ancestral Trauma
2014 04 18
Last December, an unsettling Nature Neuroscience study found that mice who were taught to associate the smell of cherry blossoms with pain produced offspring who feared the smell of cherry blossoms, even if they had never been exposed to it before. We knew that the process was epigenetic—that it was not hard-wired in the permanent genetic structure of the mouse—but ...
|More News » |