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Battery to rival liquid fuels

  1. May 24, 2012 #1


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    I've been reading a lot about solar power recently and far greater uses that could be unlocked if we only had a viable way of storing the energy. I've encountered the fact that no battery as yet comes close to rivaling liquid fuels for as energy as well as research pursuing artificial photosynthesis in order to combine solar power with liquid fuels.

    My question is whether or not there are any good avenues of research that promise to deliver batteries that, whilst maybe not equaling or out-performing, could offer specific energy/energy density reasonably close to liquid fuels? I've read about ultracapacitors and fuel cells but even they have energy densities hundreds of times smaller than liquid fuels.

    Thanks :smile:
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  3. May 24, 2012 #2


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    You mentioned ultracapacitors. This months Photonics Spectra has the article Supercapacitors created from laser-scribed graphene.

    From Science Magazine:


  4. May 24, 2012 #3

    jim hardy

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    just musing here

    for years i've been fascinated by the aluminum atom.
    It binds so tightly with oxygen that Al was a rare metal until electrolytic refining and hydropower came alomg in very late 1800's.

    Seems that energy you put in to separate it ought to be available by letting it recombine.
  5. May 25, 2012 #4
    I heard something about nanotech and lithium cells. I'd put my money there, if I had any.

    Of course, there is always the nuclear option. Alpha or beta-voltaics are most commonly used in stuff like pacemakers. It's basically alpha or beta particles and a p-n junction. Simple things, I suppose. Those don't deliver enough power to really provide the oomph you'd need for an electric vehicle, but they apparently last quite a while.

    Being similar in concept to photovoltaics, if they scale the same way that solar does, I suppose you could get it to power a car, maybe. The NIMBY factor gets pretty harsh as you scale it up, though. Having to decontaminate an entire block every time someone gets into a car accident would be a nightmare. I probably get enough radiation from decomposing radium underneath my house, injecting tritium into your electric garden trimmer the way you'd refill a butane lighter is where I say "no thanks".
  6. May 25, 2012 #5


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    Interesting, looks promising from the perspective of the fairly simple tools and materials they use. I don't have access to the full article unfortunately so I'm not sure how such a device would compare to a liquid fuel.
    Interesting :smile: it seems this has been researched but there are problems with its deployment
    Radioactive cars? Yikes! I wouldn't say it was NIMBYish, think of how often car crashes happen (IIRC leading to 3000 deaths per month in the US) and now think of how much worse they would be if each was radioactive lol.

    I have read about nanoengineered litium ion batteries but they seem to benefit in terms of faster charging and discharging rather than energy density.
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