MIT developing carbon nanotube ultracapacitors

By Derek Sooman on March 9, 2006, 6:19 PM
Those clever boffins at MIT are developing carbon nanotube ultracapacitors which it is hoped will soon replace traditional batteries. The batteries of today are bulky, and must be frequently replaced. MIT is studying a new breed of ultracapacitors, which utilise carbon nanotubes generate and store energy, all at the atomic level. Ultimately, the goal is to create a new type of battery that is longer-lasting and faster-charging. The new CNT ultracapacitor will be able to store 60 watt-hours per kilogram, and could be recharged in just a few minutes.

Professors Joel Schindall and John Kassakian, along with Ph.D. candidate Riccardo Signorelli, presented their latest renditions of their research at a seminar on hybrid storage devices in Deerfield Beach, Florida, last December.

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mentaljedi said:
For anyone who doesn't understand, this means that you'll be able to carry around your laptop all day without recharging. And if you have to, you can just sit and have a cup of coffee and have it charged fully by the time you finish.
DragonMaster said:
But capacitors lose energy by themselves when you do nothing. Anyways, it doesn't matter since they are charging really fast. The more amps you allow to go in the capacitors, the faster it will charge(They'll have to limit the charge rate not to get the breakers to bump). They really drain energy. Also, caps can last LOTS of years(If they are well made and not underrated like a lot of motherboards). There are 50 years old amplifiers and tuners that have some still good capacitors while it's preferable to change them after that number of years.
Nic said:
And lets not forget that capacitors will lose voltage quickly as they discharge, unlike batteries which maintain most of their voltage over their discharge cycle. This means that the supply will need to be regulated, and the voltage pretty high if a large portion is to make it out to power your electronic device.
DragonMaster said:
[quote]And lets not forget that capacitors will lose voltage quickly as they discharge, unlike batteries which maintain most of their voltage over their discharge cycle[/quote]Maybe a DC-DC converter will bring the voltage higher?Also, it depends on how these caps will work, since they are not normal electrolytics.
nic said:
All capacitors work in exactly the same way, they store energy and discharge it while the voltage drops (rapidly). A dc-dc step up converter could be used to boost the available voltage that feeds a regulator so that a fixed and stable dc output is available to power any electronics.I don't think this will be a cheap solution and some of the newer improved battery technologies will likely win out.
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