With consumers used to the convenience of refueling their vehicle at the gas station in a few minutes, one of the biggest disadvantages of electric vehicles is the time it takes to recharge their batteries. Now, by separating the energy storage and energy discharging functions of the battery into separate physical structures, researchers at MIT have achieved a breakthrough that could allow EVs to be recharged in the same time it takes to refuel a conventional car. The technology could also provide an inexpensive alternative for energy storage for intermittent, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
For the rest of 2011, I'm visiting a new country every week or two. I'm not the biggest fan of getting lost, asking for directions, or getting ripped off by taxi drivers, so keeping my iPhone's battery charged is high on my list of priorities. I came across Mophie's Juice Pack Powerstation while I was doing my pre-travel gadget shopping, and was surprised at how small, light and cheap the unit was. So how does it stack up?
Scientists at Stanford have developed a battery that uses nanotechnology
to create electricity from the difference in salt content between fresh water and sea water. The researchers hope to use the technology to create power plants where fresh-water rivers flow into the ocean. The new "mixing entropy" battery alternately immerses its electrodes in river water and sea water to produce the electrical power.
It has long been thought that, even though light has electric and magnetic components, the effects of the magnetic field are so weak that they could effectively be ignored. Now researchers at the University of Michigan
(U-M) have discovered that under the right conditions, a light field can generate magnetic effects that are 100 million times stronger than previously expected. The researchers say the discovery paves the way for the creation of an "optical battery" that could harness power from the sun without the use of solar cells
While those of us living in First World countries may take an easily-accessible source of continuously-flowing electricity for granted, such is not the case in developing nations. Many communities have little or no electrical infrastructure, and experience frequent power outages. While people wishing to read a book in the evening could perhaps use a simple lighting device like the Solar Pebble
, the matter becomes quite a bit more serious should the lights go out at a hospital, in the middle of an operation. Many hospitals have turned to using kerosene lanterns, but Australian industrial designer Michael O'Brien has created what he believes is a better alternative – a low-cost battery-powered LED surgical lamp.
Just last month, GoPro introduced the long-awaited LCD screen module
for its viewfinder-less HERO HD
actioncam. At the time, the company stated that the module was the first in a series of BacPac accessories, designed to extend the capabilities of the 1080p high-def camera. Now, the next of those accessories has been released, in the form of the Battery BacPac. It allows an included 1100mAh lithium-ion battery to be mounted onto the back of the camera (which already has its own identical battery), potentially doubling its run time.
We've covered a number of iPhone portable chargers in the past, ranging from the well-known Mophie Juice Pack
to the environmentally friendly iCharge Dx
. There are countless solutions that will ensure that your green battery indicator icon stays fully green, the difference with this iPhone charger is that it's been designed to resemble that very same indicator graphic. Appropriately, it's called the Icon.
In figuring out how a molecule called fulvalene diruthenium works to store and release heat, researchers at MIT may have paved the way for a rechargeable battery that stores heat instead of electricity. Although the molecule was discovered in 1996, ruthenium’s rarity and cost has ruled out it’s widespread use but the researchers say understanding the fundamental mechanism of how the molecule works should make it possible to find similar chemicals based on more abundant, less expensive materials.
As development of micro- and nano-scale devices continues to advance, so does the need for an equally-tiny method of powering them. There’s not much point in developing a surveillance micro air vehicle
the size of a housefly, for instance, if it requires a watch battery in order to fly. That’s why DARPA
is funding a project to create really tiny batteries. Just how
tiny are we talking, here? Well, they’re aiming for something smaller than a grain of salt.
There’s no arguing that batteries
are an essential element of today’s electronics landscape. Without them our mobile devices would be a lot less mobile and we might still be crank starting our cars. The explosion in mobile electronic devices enabled by batteries and miniaturization has a major downside in the form of discarded batteries, the majority of which contain toxic heavy metals. Chemists have now discovered a new way to pass electrons back and forth between two molecules that could see the development of organic batteries that are lightweight and work without the need for toxic heavy metals.