Batteries will be everywhere with nanotechnology

Batteries will be everywhere with nanotechnology

USA Today covers the challenging but environmentally important issue of making batteries: inefficient, nasty things today that need to get a lot better and cheaper. And they will, with nanotech developed by these two MIT professors:

[Prof. Angela] Belcher’s virus-assembled batteries are thin, transparent sheets that look like plastic wrap. They could be used to create smart credit cards or lightweight hearing-aid batteries. Eventually, Belcher hopes to weave battery cells into textile fibers to create battery-powered fabrics. Soldiers might plug night-vision goggles into their uniforms, for example, instead of traditional batteries.

Professor [Yet-Ming] Chiang, who also researches self-assembling batteries, imagines an ink-like substance that would allow one to “paint” a battery onto a device.

As far-fetched as it seems, Chiang is optimistic that such advances are within reach. “We’re not talking about something that’s going to take 20 or 30 years, within the next decade it could very well happen,” he says.

At least one error crept in: nanotechnology is defined as “the science that alters elements at the atomic level”. Oops. —Christine

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  1. Jeremy Dombroski March 19, 2007 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    Sweet. I also remember reading something along the lines of the ‘battery paint’ with regards to computer processors… ‘CPU paint’ you can lacquer on and go.

    Either would finally get me motivated enough to repaint my living room. Bring it on.

  2. Steve Gillman April 8, 2011 at 11:09 am - Reply

    Thank you for this. I love to read about creative new ideas and inventions (and I never know what to do with my toxic dead batteries).

  3. Peter Charles April 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    As a hybrid car owner I have a keen interest in the constant improvement of batteries for these cars. Currently they add a lot of extra weight to the vehicle and their life span is still kind of nebulous. Fossil fuel is not the future, battery power is. If these “nano” ideas for batteries come to fruition, one of the many benefactors will be hybrid and all-electric vehicles. Wouldn’t it be a kick to pull into a fueling station in the future and pull away with a new supply of battery power in the form of paint or fabric. The sky is the limit.

    Peter Charles

  4. Bob Sailor April 14, 2011 at 12:11 am - Reply

    I’ll be so glad when we can get away from the polluting batteries of today. I hate using batteries since I know they will end up in a land fill and leach into our environment, but sometimes I just need to do it, you know.

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