Carbon Nanotubes FTW (Again)Stanford researchers have discovered a way to rapidly make batteries and supercapacitors with ink that contains carbon nanotubes and ordinary paper. As shown in the video below, they simply coat the paper with the special ink, put it in an oven and out comes a highly conductive storage device. "The small diameter helps the nanomaterial ink stick strongly to the fibrous paper, making the battery and supercapacitor very durable. The paper supercapacitor may last through 40,000 charge-discharge cycles - at least an order of magnitude more than lithium batteries." Read on for more details and a very cool video that shows post-doc fellow Bing Hu make a paper battery.
Paper or Plastic?
Prof. Cui's previous research was with batteries based on plastics, but he found that paper is an even better foundation since the nano-ink adheres more strongly to it. It also has the benefit of being flexible - you can crumble it and it still works - and durable.
Commercialization on the HorizonCui says that this technology could be commercialized "within a short time", but it's not clear what this means exactly (a few years?). Potential applications include electric cars and hybrid cars, and even grid storage (if this scales up cheaply, it could help create a bugger for intermittent renewables such a wind and solar).
Here's a video interview with Stanford prof. Yi Cui and post-doctoral fellow Bing Hu. It shows some of the process of making the nanotube-coated paper battery:
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