Battery Alternative Excites MIT Researchers

By Dave

I don’t know about you, but I have run out of battery power at the most annoying times, especially with a car. You leave it out in the cold of Canada, and next thing you know it does not start. The folks at MIT are working on a battery that will be immune to the crazy weather to the North with a new type of Nanotube-enhanced ultracapacitors.

However, despite their inherent advantages — a 10-year-plus lifetime, indifference to temperature change, high immunity to shock and vibration and high charging and discharging efficiency — physical constraints on electrode surface area and spacing have limited ultracapacitors to an energy storage capacity around 25 times less than a similarly sized lithium-ion battery.

The LEES ultracapacitor has the capacity to overcome this energy limitation by using vertically aligned, single-wall carbon nanotubes — one thirty-thousandth the diameter of a human hair and 100,000 times as long as they are wide. How does it work? Storage capacity in an ultracapacitor is proportional to the surface area of the electrodes.

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