800-mile electric cars

Laptops: New Laptop Batteries to Last 8 Times Longer Than Current Crop

Researchers at Hanyang University in South Korea have developed new Lithium batteries that can last a whopping eight times longer than today’s models. They’ve achieved this by using cathode materials in the batteries, replacing less-efficient graphite with more-efficient silicon.

A quick search on Jaephil Cho, the guy who’s been leading the research, suggests he may well know what’s he’s talking about.

From the horse’s mouth: Wiley InterScience :: JOURNALS :: Angewandte Chemie International Edition

Complete etching of the SiO2 from the SiO2/carbon-coated Si (c-Si) composite results in the retention of the remaining c-Si as a highly porous but interconnected structure, which preserves the starting morphology.

Which is a fancy way of saying you can use fairly simple techniques to get porous silicon particles that you then fill up with lithium/electrolyte. Much easier than the nanowire growth some of his earlier papers were based on (although with less ultimate capacity).

Whee! Of course this is as far from realization as any number of other superduper battery technologies, but it kinda gives us something to shoot for. An electric car with current-sized battery packs and a range as far as anyone might drive in a day would be cool. Or laptops that run for a full workday. Or think of cellphones and pocket gizmos with the same running times as they have now, but where the battery is 1/8 the size — essentially negligible.

You could change the face of the planet for 1 percent of the wall street bailout…

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