2012: Water battery set to shake up science world

London – The battery of the future could be powered by nothing but water, after a breakthrough by two Canadian scientists who have discovered an entirely new way to generate electricity – the first since 1839. Initial applications could be cellphones and other electronic devices that now use rechargeable batteries, but Larry Kostiuk and Daniel Kwok, researchers at the University of Alberta who made the discovery, think that in time it could even be used for full-scale power generation. When the “water battery” ran down, you would simply pump it up, perhaps with your hands. It would be non-polluting and non-toxic and completely portable. And it could be ready for commercial application before the end of the decade. The discovery, which uses the movement of water through microscopic channels to generate electricity – and even in a laboratory set-up can power an LED, using just a hand-operated syringe, some […] Read More

2014: Hemp Is on its Way to Your Car Battery and Many Things You Haven’t Yet Imagined

New technologies are only beginning to unlock the possibilities of hemp. The first digital-age domestic hemp crop is being harvested as I write. The subtle decrease in seismic activity currently puzzling Virginia geologists can be traced to Thomas Jefferson ceasing to spin in his grave for the first time in 77 years. For a century USDA biologists conducted taxpayer-funded hemp cultivar research for farmers, after all. They did this in a Virginia meadow that is today the Pentagon. And why wouldn’t they, in support of a key crop supplying the Navy with rope and earning millions for farmers from Wisconsin to Kentucky (when millions meant something)? Then there was this weird quirk (Google “cannabis prohibition” if the cause of the quirk is news to you), and it took a tucked-in provision in the 2014 federal Farm Bill to allow hemp research to restart. As I learned while researching my […] Read More

2014: This New Battery Can Charge Phones & Electric Cars In Minutes!

For most of us to fully charge our phone battery, we need to leave it plugged in for at least an hour -with the average life expectancy of the battery being 500 charge cycles; approximately two to three years. But what if you could get a proper power refueling in just a few minutes and a charge that was less taxing on the battery? Scientists at Nangyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have made significant advancements in creating a new lithium-ion battery that recharges to 70% full in just two minutes and can last up to 20 years. It is expected to last for 10,000 charge cycles over a 20-year lifespan. Perhaps most interestingly, is not that this battery has the power to revolutionize the technology that powers mobile devices, but it’s that it has incredible compatibility with existing battery manufacturing processes and its performance and longevity can be […] Read More

2015: New ‘lithium-air’ batteries could be 10x more powerful, 5x cheaper

… Researchers at University of Cambridge in the UK have created a laboratory demonstration of lithium-oxygen, or “lithium-air,” batteries that have around 10 times the energy density of the lithium-ion batteries used in today’s EVs — roughly equivalent to the energy density of gasoline, according to a study in the latest edition of the journal Science. More than simply holding more energy, the batteries are also more than 90% efficient and can be recharged more than 2,000 times, the study says. To put that into perspective, most current lithium-ion batteries are 80% to 90% efficient. But here’s where things really get exciting: Lithium-air batteries could be five times less costly and five times lighter than today’s lithium-ion cells. If these batteries were truly 10 times more powerful and five times lighter than batteries currently used in EVs, “range could be extended upward of 400 miles per charge — or […] Read More

2015: This Aluminum Graphite Battery Could Charge Your Smartphone In 60 Seconds

Stanford researchers are developing an aluminum graphite battery for smartphones that is non-combustible, charges your phone within one minute, and can last up to 7500 charging cycles without losing capacity.  The smartphone could easily be considered one of the greatest triumphs of the modern era. Billions of people currently sport these handy “micro-computers,” giving us instant access to information like no other generation could have ever imagined. Every year, they’re bigger, faster, and more intricate. That being said, there are a few issues that smartphone consumers continually face on a daily basis, the main one being battery life. Indeed, while the issue may serve as a prime example of a “first-world-problem,” this notion doesn’t make the constant and rapid smartphone battery drainage any less of a pain in the butt for consumers. Thankfully though, the good ol’ researchers over at Stanford have been working diligently to solve this issue, proposing an ultra-fast-charging aluminum battery that […] Read More