Personally, I'm very excited that lithium ion batteries are finally getting advanced enough to find homes in automobiles. But a small company called EEStor is promising "Electronic Storage Units" that will be ten times lighter, hold ten times more power, and cost half as much as lithium ion batteries.
What's more, they'll be able hold enough power to drive a car for 300 miles, charge in less than five minutes (at charging stations, not at home outlets) and will be able to charge and recharge an infinite number of times.
If true, this isn't just great news for the auto industry...it's great news for consumer electronics and the power industry as well. The question is...is it true?
Well, one obstacle was overcome today, when EEStor was finally awarded a patent (PDF) on its technology. But a patent can be awarded for technology that doesn't work or isn't viable...they do it all the time. But now, at least, EEStor will be able to control the device if it turns out to be feasible.
It also opens up the window for all of us to look in on their mysterious chemistry a bit. According to the patent the device is a sort of capacitor that actually contains 31,353 separate capacitors in parallel. These nano-capacitors are basically a ceramic powder suspended in a plastic solution, and we're not going to pretend we understand why they can soak up so many electrons.
The patent does point out that any number of these nano-capacitors can be used in parallel, depending on the needs of the application. So, yes, if they begin manufacturing these things for cars, it won't be long before they're in your laptops and cell phones as well.
But the question of feasibility remains. They're already behind on their scheduled delivery to Zenn auto company (who currently has exclusive rights to use the storage units.) But Zenn apparently remains confident that they will have a vehicle on the roads using the technology by 2009.
written by CL, December 26, 2008
written by Claire, December 27, 2008
written by Chris Gammell, December 28, 2008
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