An exciting new material from Rice University may revolutionize energy storage.
Led by Rice chemist James Tour, researchers have successfully grown forests of carbon nanotubes that rise quickly from sheets of graphene to astounding lengths of up to 120 microns ...
A house on an average plot with the same aspect ratio would rise into space.
That translates into a massive amount of surface area, the key factor in making things like energy-storing supercapacitors.
The nanotubes aren't merely sitting on the graphene sheet; they become a part of it.
... electrons see no difference, because it's all one seamless material. "This gives us, effectively, a very high surface area of more than 2,000 square meters per gram of material. It's a huge number,"...
... the massive surface area, may hold a great deal of energy in a tiny package.
Electron microscope images showed the one-, two- and three-walled nanotubes firmly embedded in the graphene, and electrical testing showed no resistance to the flow of current at the junction.
If this means that electric vehicles will now be a more viable solution, then this is great news. Unless you happen to own a chain of gas stations.
It might, if the capacitors they can "grow" scale on the order of Farads, or better, hundreds or thousands of Farads. Currently the largest capacitor one might hold in one's hand might be on the order of 100,000 microfarads, fine for a filter cap for your electronic gear, but nowhere near enough to run anything of size. Something else that went unmentioned here is the insulator used between the two capacitive surfaces, how thick it might be and what kind of operating and breakdown voltages we're talking about.
Strikes me, there's a whole lot of missing data which I wouldn't care to take for granted, especially if I were a design engineer tasked with pressing this material into service. I'd like to hear considerably more before I made any unwarranted assumptions.
If you own a chain of gas stations you have the location and facilities to install charging points and will win either way, it's the gas suppliers that stand to lose out in my opinion.
There's still the matter of the infrastructure required to supply those locations with their product. If rolling blackouts are a potential challenge now, I would think that gas stations being converted to mega charging outlets operating during peak demand hours will only exacerbate the dilema. Should batteries be developed with greatly extended range, I would assume that owners would opt to charge their vehicles over night at home, thus greatly diminishing the clientele that the former gas stations rely on to stay viable. I think this paradigm shift is unavoidable and neccessary, but will have plenty of collateral damage, and those who stand to lose will be fighting it from every possible angle.
That's certainly quite likely, but petrol stations can have hydrogen reservoirs and fuel cell powered outlets to handle peak hour electricity demand easily, as well as hydrogen direct pumping outlets for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Even if people want to charge overnight at home, that's assuming that people have a home to charge, some people live in RVs and such, also what about long distance trips well over 700km? People need recharge stations in other cities no matter what. The same reason people buy bottled water on the go is often the same, they have a tap at home but they still buy it from a shop.
I don't disagree - there will always be a need for charging stations, particularly for people like me who would invariably forget to plug in when I got home from work. The hydrogen scenario is a good point. Perhaps if that becomes the norm, many will opt to not charge at home altogether. Gas stations would be wise to start exploring that technology sooner than later.
I've been known to let my phone die in fits of extreme laziness, because getting up to plug it in is such a hassle, I'll just charge it in the car on the way to work in the morning. I could see myself taking the same approach to charging my car. Lol - procrastination and forgetfulness do need a work-around.
Right Future - bad if you own gas stations.
I've been closely following the development of graphene and carbon nanotubes with regards to their developments at UCLA and Duke university as well as other similar developments to this, it's an exciting time for this kind of material and also the various nanocomposites that can also be used as catalytic surfaces in proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cell electrodes (which don't corrode in the same way that titanium or platinum electrode coatings do). So this is relevant to supercapacitors/ultracapacitors but also integrated circuits and really all forms of electrical componentry. Thanks for this post, very interesting, I think this will have a huge impact on transport but also make storage of energy in the home from photovoltaic cells and wind turbines/microbial generated electricity really a lot more elegant.
True. If an efficient, high capacity storage ability that doesn't require half of your house devoted to it - or Donald Trumps checkbook to install it were available the individual home could be off the grid. The increasing capacity of solar voltiac and the decressing cost of same would make it affordable to most homeowners.
Your local power company will love it....not.