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Finally, nanotechnology makes a greener battery

The company mPHASE points out that battery technology advance has been dismal compared to computer chips. Now they’ve used nanotechnology to build a more environmentally-friendly, longer shelf-life battery, and made a two-minute movie, posted on YouTube, to tell us about it.

If the link doesn’t work for you, go to YouTube and search for nanobattery or mPHASE.

Wired explains:

Krupenkin’s vision is that future gadgets would behave like biological systems, in which cells carry their own power instead of relying on a single primary energy source for the whole organism.

Nanograss, Krupenkin explains, is superhydrophobic, or massively water resistant. Fluids deposited on the tiny silicon posts are practically frictionless. A droplet of water remains spherical on the nanograss. But when Krupenkin applies an electric charge between the droplet and the silicon, the droplet disappears. The current has disrupted the water’s surface tension, causing it to fall into the nanograss, where it’s held firm by the tiny posts. Krupenkin calls this “electrowetting.” Apply another tiny current across the conductor and the water molecules heat up, causing the droplet to rise back to the top of the nanograss, where surface tension once again keeps it in a nearly perfect sphere.

The idea is to marshal this electrowetting to fine-tune a battery’s internal reaction – regardless of what the battery is made of. The nanograss would hold a battery’s electrolyte away from the reactive metal when no power is needed, then release it when it’s time to turn on. This type of structure would free device manufacturers to distribute fields of tiny batteries deep into their products. Components could pop on and go to sleep as needed. Rechargeable nanograss would be controlled by the microprocessor, which would manage exactly how much power each system needs. And because each component would have its own power bank, the built-in inefficiencies of the single-voltage, single-power design would vanish, driving down costs and potentially increasing battery life by an order of magnitude for the first time in 100 years.

As the video makes sure to mention, mPHASE is a publicly traded company, symbol XDSL. —Christine

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