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Energy storage alternatives to batteries?

  1. Aug 3, 2011 #1
    I was pondering our reliance on and the limitations of todays electrical batteries. It seems to me (uneducated member of the public) that while technology continues to develop with an impressive momentum our energy storage methods struggle to fuel these ever evolving technologies effectively. What extends the operational time of our phones, laptops or even cars isn't primarily the development of improved batteries; It is mainly the development of more energy-efficient technologies.
    My question therefore is: Are there any promising projects going on that could provide us with the much necessary high capacity, mobile, energy storage? I did a bit of research and came across http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/mar2011/2011-03-24-091.html". Sounds very promising although while it will allow me to recharge my phone in seconds it still won't change the fact that my phone will die after several hours of usage.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2011 #2
    One of the big problems with storing energy in high densities is what happens when that energy is suddenly released. Current Li-Ion technologies have appreciably high energy density. The batteries literally explode when shorted. Imagine doubling or tripling that. Using one in a device requires several electronic safety measures and that still does not provide a 100% guarantee. The liability that may come with a significantly higher energy density could make it prohibitive.
  4. Aug 7, 2011 #3
    Increasing the electrodes' area permits more current from the same battery volume. This is perfectly known since they exist.

    Using nanostructures is an extreme case. This is a possibility every manufacturer and researcher has in mind. Very similar to tantalum capacitors, whose sintered electrode increases the contact area.

    The perfectly known drawback of the increased surface is that self-discharge accelerates consequently. Usage discharge duration and self-discharge duration vary in a very similar way; the electrode area is chosen to fit the use.

    Now, provided some users want to discharge their batteries in seconds and accept self-discharge in minutes, maybe this team has a better process than other teams, maybe not. Such a battery would be in competition with ultracapacitors, for instance to store braking energy in an autobus, and a battery could be smaller than a capacitor - if it doesn't ignite.
  5. Aug 8, 2011 #4
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2011
  6. Aug 8, 2011 #5
    Very cool, I got a kick out of the term "Cambridge Crude". It seems to me the biggest stumbling block in using it for a practical electric car would be the delivery system and the expense. If people can't afford the stuff or if it is too hard to get, it wouldn't be very practical.

    Though, if you could store enough juice and optionally pump your tanks through for charge via conventional charging, it would be more practical. That way, you'd have the option of replacing the electrolyte or recharging it yourself.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
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