Carbon And Water - A New Storage Medium For Electrical Power?

Feeling the need to take a break from the ongoing debt ceiling drama, perhaps a little good news for a change

One thing I've found to be true over the seven different decades I've trodden this earth is that it's the complicated things that tend to have the easiest answers. That's particularly true of the sciences, where some of the most sophisticated inventions use the simplest of materials and configurations. That's certainly true of this neat means of storing electrical energy, using nothing more than graphite and water.

A combination of two ordinary materials – graphite and water – could produce energy storage systems that perform on par with lithium ion batteries, but recharge in a matter of seconds and have an almost indefinite lifespan.

Dr Dan Li, of the Monash University Department of Materials Engineering, and his research team have been working with a material called graphene, which could form the basis of the next generation of ultrafast energy storage systems.

“Once we can properly manipulate this material, your iPhone, for example, could charge in a few seconds, or possibly faster.” said Dr Li.

The ability to rapidly charge a battery system is key to being able to make electric vehicles a more viable alternative to liquid fuel burning vehicles. If a vehicle's batteries can be charged in the same amount of time it takes to fill a fuel tank, then EV's can become more attractive to the motoring public.

But even if Dr. Li and his team perfect their technology, there's another problem that will need to be solved: How to get all the electrical energy needed for a rapid recharge to the charging station? That's a lot of power to dump in a very short time.