"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse
UPI has an article about advances in nanotechnology being applied to the problem of battery power. Batteries have evolved very little in the past 10 years, even though portable technologies have become huge. The iPod is a perfect example of great portable tech witha really sucky power use profile. Enter Nanotech.
[mPhase] is seeking to develop a battery containing millions of silicon nanotube electrodes, sitting upright like a bed of nails. Atop each nanotube sits a droplet of electrolyte. The droplets rest atop the nanotubes without interacting, much like an Indian fakir can rest atop a nail bed. But when a voltage change pushes the droplets down into the spaces between the tubes, they react, causing current to flow.
"This can give them a very long storage life of years and years, by only activating when in use," Simon explained. The silicon-based devices are compatible with semiconductor processes, are easy to miniaturize, have a quick ramp up to full power, are inexpensive to mass produce and have high power and energy density.
Konarka Technologies of Lowell, Mass., makes plastic devices that absorb sunlight and indoor light and convert them into electrical energy.
The devices resemble gift-wrapping paper in their thinness and flexibility, and can be integrated into fabrics and roofs. They are made using nanoscale titanium dioxide particles coated in photovoltaic dyes. When light hits the dye, they generate electricity.
"They're lightweight and flexible, more versatile than previous generations of solar cells," said Daniel McGahn, Konarka's executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
"We can get to the point where the initial cost can be competitive with the electric grid," McGahn told UPI. "If we had a 10-mile-by-10-mile square, we could power the country."
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