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Batteries batteries

Published on February 17th, 2010 | by Chris Milton

4

Bye Bye Batteries?

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February 17th, 2010 by
 
Clever boffins over at Imperial College, London, have announced their intention to kill off the battery once and for all.

They’re working on a $4.5m project to develop a lightweight material capable of storing electricity.  The carbon fibre based polymer resin is already patented and will be light enough to form the casing of anything from MP3 players to car bodies.

In addition, unlike batteries the substance’s performance won’t degrade over time because the electricity storage and release doesn’t rely upon a chemical reaction.

Researchers are already talking about a 15% reduction in the weight of electric cars, giving them a greatly enhanced range, and a significantly faster charging process.

On the smaller scale, if you remove the battery from your mobile phone and then consider the difference in weight and size requirements, you’ll understand how this could revolutionise portable electric devices as well.

Just one note of caution: no details have been released of what the substance is made of or how recyclable it will be.  These are the early days of the project, so let’s hope they team focuses on being sustainable as well as just clean.

Picture Credit: Batteries by johnseb from flickr under Creative Commons Attribution License.

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About the Author

is a seasoned sustainability journalist focusing on business, finance and clean technology. His writing's been carried by a number of highly respected publishers, including The Guardian, The Washington Post and Scientific American. You can follow him on twitter as @britesprite, where he's one of Mashable's top green tweeters and Fast Company's CSR thought leaders. Alternatively you can follow him to the shops... but that would be boring.



  • http://www.britesprite.co.uk Chris Milton

    Hi Captain Obvious,

    These may be classed as supercapacitors, but to quote the project co-ordinator, Dr Emile Greenhalgh, :

    “We are really excited about the potential of this new technology. We think the car of the future could be drawing power from its roof, its bonnet or even the door, thanks to our new composite material. Even the Sat Nav could be powered by its own casing. The future applications for this material don’t stop there – you might have a mobile phone that is as thin as a credit card because it no longer needs a bulky battery, or a laptop that can draw energy from its casing so it can run for a longer time without recharging. We’re at the first stage of this project and there is a long way to go, but we think our composite material shows real promise.”

  • http://www.britesprite.co.uk Chris Milton

    Hi Captain Obvious,

    These may be classed as supercapacitors, but to quote the project co-ordinator, Dr Emile Greenhalgh, :

    “We are really excited about the potential of this new technology. We think the car of the future could be drawing power from its roof, its bonnet or even the door, thanks to our new composite material. Even the Sat Nav could be powered by its own casing. The future applications for this material don’t stop there – you might have a mobile phone that is as thin as a credit card because it no longer needs a bulky battery, or a laptop that can draw energy from its casing so it can run for a longer time without recharging. We’re at the first stage of this project and there is a long way to go, but we think our composite material shows real promise.”

  • Captain Obvious

    Beware worthless news blurbs written by nontechnical marketeers. These guys are working on supercapacitors.

  • Captain Obvious

    Beware worthless news blurbs written by nontechnical marketeers. These guys are working on supercapacitors.

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