Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stop Your Engines

Imagine a bustling economy with super fast transportation appliances that run on a new age of energy storage devices powered by a vast array of renewable energy production coming from advanced wind turbines that provide reliable economical electric power, soon coupled with a mass deployment of third generation photon to electron materials that cover our highways, roofs, and parking lots.

Imagine pollution free cities with electric powered trolleys and light rail and elevated skyways for pedestrians, bicycles, and other light weight transportation devices.

Imagine filling up with electric fuel while you wait at the red light and paying for it at the end of the month as you pay your electric bill.

Imagine completely forgetting about the idea of fuel.

Imagine fuel being as necessary to your day

as hay.

Here are two stories which could be important steps to a clean, sustainable, unified energy future.

US boffins build paper-thin plastic battery
Hybrid device combines advantages of capacitors and alkaline batteries
Shaun Nichols
20 Sep 2006

Researchers at Brown University in the US have created a prototype rechargeable battery that is as thin as a plastic transparency and as powerful as 100 alkaline batteries.

The plastic battery, created by engineers Tayhas Palmore and Hyun-Kon Song, has been described as a "hybrid" that delivers the energy output of an electrical capacitor with the longevity of an alkaline battery.

Traditional alkaline batteries use electrical current generated from a chemical reaction within the battery to generate a small amount of energy for a long period of time.

Electric capacitors use a pair of oppositely charged plates to store a large amount of energy for a short period of time.

Palmore and Song's plastic battery allows for the power of a capacitor and the extended output of an alkaline battery.

The key component is a chemical compound called polypyrrole which conducts electrical current.

Song and Palmore applied the polypyrrole to a pair of gold-coated plastic strips that were then given opposite charges and stuck together, separated by a thin membrane to prevent a short-circuit.

The result is a super-thin plastic battery roughly 3.5in long that is rechargeable and extremely powerful.

One problem at this stage is that the battery tends to lose capacity with repeated charges. But if this can be overcome, the possible applications are numerous.

And here is the ultra cap EESTOR technology making news on CNN

Gentlemen, stop your engines
EEStor's new automotive power source could eliminate the need for the combustion engine - and for oil.

By Erick Schonfeld and Jeanette Borzo,
Business 2.0
September 20 2006

The Innovation: A ceramic power source for electric cars that could blow away the combustion engine.

The Disrupted: Oil companies and carmakers that don't climb aboard

Forget hybrids and hydrogen-powered vehicles. EEStor, a stealth company in Cedar Park, Texas, is working on an "energy storage" device that could finally give the internal combustion engine a run for its money -- and begin saving us from our oil addiction. "To call it a battery discredits it," says Ian Clifford, the CEO of Toronto-based electric car company Feel Good Cars, which plans to incorporate EEStor's technology in vehicles by 2008.

EEStor's device is not technically a battery because no chemicals are involved. In fact, it contains no hazardous materials whatsoever. Yet it acts like a battery in that it stores electricity. If it works as it's supposed to, it will charge up in five minutes and provide enough energy to drive 500 miles on about $9 worth of electricity. At today's gas prices, covering that distance can cost $60 or more; the EEStor device would power a car for the equivalent of about 45 cents a gallon.

And we mean power a car. "A four-passenger sedan will drive like a Ferrari," Clifford predicts. In contrast, his first electric car, the Zenn, which debuted in August and is powered by a more conventional battery, can't go much faster than a moped and takes hours to charge.


EEStor is tight-lipped about its device and how it manages to pack such a punch. According to a patent issued in April, the device is made of a ceramic powder coated with aluminum oxide and glass. A bank of these ceramic batteries could be used at "electrical energy stations" where people on the road could charge up.

EEStor is backed by VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the company's founders are engineers Richard Weir and Carl Nelson. CEO Weir, a former IBM-er, won't comment, but his son, Tom, an EEStor VP, acknowledges, "That is pretty much why we are here today, to compete with the internal combustion engine." (more )

From the perspective of the Solid State Utility executive, ultra caps will also compete with combustion turbines and natural gas, as well as base load fuels. Large deployments of ultra caps on the utility grid will allow for plant maximization, transmission line deferments, and large renewable energy fractions.

Large deployments of ultra caps or new generation plastic batteries will also allow us to quit invading oil rich countries to capture their most precious resources, so that we don't have to squander our most precious resource at home.

The Truth

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. Albert Einstein


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