Monday, May 09, 2011

When how to store is more important than how to produce

Producing alternative clean energy is without any doubt the future of humanity, but how to store the produced energy is far more important.
Lithium ion (li-ion) batteries are currently the technology of choice for today’s hybrid and electrical vehicles.
There are, however, a number of limitations to the technology, such as the length of the battery’s life.
There is a lithium battery where the anode and cathode are separated by a (proprietary) thin layer. It’s coated on, and it looks as if it’s solid, but it can bend and flex.
This technology was first used in credit cards in Europe and Asia.
The new MasterCard is the first major card in the United States to offer single-use security coding powered by Solicore’s thin, flexible battery.
Current chemical batteries have a number of limitations, including their short lifespan and the limited range of temperatures and pressures at which they can function.
Not so for betavoltaic batteries. Like photovoltaic cells, betavoltaic batteries absorb radiation, but instead of sunlight, the radiation comes from a physical source that emits electrons.
City Labs focused on tritium as a radiation source, as tritium—one of the most benign radioisotopes—is already used to power the phosphorescent glow in the watches used by divers and in exit signs (the signs are not battery powered).
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