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The new batteries can also be recharged hundreds of thousands of times say MIT researchers

You could be charging your long lasting batteries in a matter of seconds in the future if several researchers at MIT get their way. According to a report on ScienCentralNews, researchers at MIT have discovered a new way of making batteries that involves using millions of nanotubes. Leaping over traditional battery technologies, the new types of batteries are based on capacitors, which have been around even longer than the battery itself.

A capacitor maintains a charge by relying on two metallic electrodes. The actual storage capacity of a capacitor is directly proportional to the surface area of those electrodes, and unfortunately making a capacitor in traditional battery sizes means that the electrode surface area is simply too small. To overcome this, the researchers cover the electrodes with millions of nanotube filaments, effectively increasing the surface area.

According to research team leader Joel Schindall "[the nanotube battery] could be recharged many, many times perhaps hundreds of thousands of times, and ... it could be recharged very quickly, just in a matter of seconds rather than a matter of hours." With such promise, Schindall and his team believes that the new technology will revolutionize portable electronics as well as the automotive industry. "Larger devices such as automobiles where you could regeneratively re-use the energy of motion and therefore improve the energy efficiency and fuel economy."

The research team at MIT is hoping that this new promising technology will show up in the market in less than five years from now.

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By rrsurfer1 on 8/9/2006 10:29:05 AM , Rating: 4
It's not stated, however I was interested in this as well... so I did some research:

Cathode materials have evolved from lithium cobalt oxide with energy density around 140 mAh/g (that's milliamp hours per gram of material)

Carbon nanotubes by themselves are able to adsorb a considerable amount of lithium. Nevertheless, the electrochemical performance of carbon nanotubes strongly depends on their structure and morphology, as well as on the level of disorder between nanotube bundles. The reversible capacity of etched multi-walled carbon nanotubes reached 681 mAh/g, exceeding the value obtained for purified multi-walled carbon nanotubes - 351 mAh/g. In the case of opened multi-walled carbon nanotubes, lithium storage capacity may get to 1281 mAh/g. Multi-walled carbon nanotubes with outer diameters of 20–50 nm exhibited a lithium storage capacity of 340 mAh/g. The capacities of single-walled carbon nanotubes vary between 450 mAh/g and 600 mAh/g.

So Standard Lithium: ~140 mAh/g
and Nanotubes: 340 - 1200 mAh/g

Now this tech may differ from what they are using at MIT, but it at least looks feasible that these batteries could store more energy, have longer life, and charge faster. Bring on the nanotubes!

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