Amid much discussion and consternation created by problems that have surrounded both the production and disposal of batteries it is encouraging that the recent developments in battery technology have been seriously addressing these issues and new electronic devices are now obtaining their power from a wide variety of different sources. One of the newest – and perhaps most encouraging of all – of the battery technology that has been developed by researchers at Imperial College London is a new light weight, durable polymer that can actually store and discharge power more effectively than a conventional battery.
The primary drive behind this revolutionary new battery technology was to enable devices and machines themselves to benefit from the very materials with which they are built from. This is due to the fact that the new material is both strong and light enough to be integrated into the design of the items which would, for instance, make a car lighter and more fuel efficient or could provide power to the battery of an electric car, thereby minimizing many lengthy recharging issues. In fact one of the primary supporting companies in the development of this multi-million Euro project is Volvo, as they have been looking at integrating the new compound into the wheel wells of their cars in order to help reduce the overall battery draw and provide alternative power sources to many of their vehicles.
As a result of these initial development goals the end product is so versatile that many speculate it could be used even be used in the construction of cell phones, laptops and portable audio devices along with other everyday machines that require battery power. The device’s outer shell or casing, rather than consisting of other common materials, could be constructed from the new material and allow for the device to function without any additional bulky battery encasement – potentially enabling thinner than ever mobile devices than we had previously thought possible.
With cars Volvo and other companies related to the development of the new compound have considered expanding beyond simple wheel well construction and are even looking at incorporating the material into either the door panels or the roof, effectively negating the need for any power storage whatsoever. This is coupled with the fact that the material’s composite carbon nanotubes and polymers can more quickly acquire and retain energy than other conventional liquid based batteries, meaning less energy need be expended to provide the same power storage seen currently and thus provide greater economical energy efficiency all around.
Despite all of these positives the technology is still very new and still requires a great deal of work with regards to development and improving its effectiveness. Research and development is ongoing to find ways of making the new material even stronger, more durable, lighter as well as more energy efficient so that the eventual end product is as effective as possible. Researchers are also looking carefully at ways to maximize cost-effectiveness so that prohibitive costs do not hinder another potentially ground-breaking green breakthrough.
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