Engineers design ‘living materials’

Inspired by natural materials such as bone — a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells — MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots.

New 'pomegranate-inspired' design solves problems for lithium-ion batteries

An electrode designed like a pomegranate – with silicon nanoparticles clustered like seeds in a tough carbon rind – overcomes several remaining obstacles to using silicon for a new generation of lithium-ion batteries, say its inventors at Stanford University and the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

NASA wants better batteries for electric vehicles

Electricity producing batteries are a vital part of daily life on Earth and in space. Power storage devices keep spacecraft operating, cars running, cell phones connected and flashlights lit. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) now is funding 22 projects across 15 states with a total of $36 million to develop better, more efficient power sources for electric vehicles (EV).

Batteries as they are meant to be seen

Researchers have developed a way to microscopically view battery electrodes while they are bathed in wet electrolytes, mimicking realistic conditions inside actual batteries. While life sciences researchers regularly use transmission electron microscopy to study wet environments, this time scientists have applied it successfully to rechargeable battery research.

Tesla clinches EV battery deal with Panasonic

Tesla Motors, in a move which shows aggressive growth plans, inked a deal this week with Japanese giant Panasonic to expand the latter’s supply of automotive-grade lithium-ion battery cells to the electric vehicle manufacturer. This expansion targets nearly 2 billion cells over the course of four years.

Report: Futuristic copper foam batteries get more bang for the buck

People use their GPS apps, cameras, and mobile internet to navigate strange cities in search of good coffee, record "selfie" commentary while they wait in line, and upload their videos directly to social media sites while they sip their latte. But no amount of high-tech savvy can save a well-loved device from dying when its battery is drained.

Why lithium-ion-batteries fail

Lithium-ion batteries are in our cellphones, laptops, and digital cameras. Few portable electronic devices exist that do not rely on these energy sources. Currently battery electrodes contain active materials known as intercalation compounds.

Improving lithium-ion batteries with nanoscale research

New research led by an electrical engineer at the University of California, San Diego is aimed at improving lithium-ion batteries through possible new electrode architectures with precise nano-scale designs. The researchers created nanowires that block diffusion of lithium (Li) across their silicon surface and promote layer-by-layer axial lithiation of the nanowire’s germanium core.

Testing batteries made of wood

Get ready to throw all of your assumptions about how to make a battery right out the window. Scientists at the University of Maryland are working on a powerful new battery that could help reduce hazardous waste usually associated with power storage. The main ingredient? Wood.

Unzipped nanotubes could be key to next-gen batteries

Researchers at Rice University have come up with a new way to boost the efficiency of the ubiquitous lithium ion (LI) battery by employing ribbons of graphene that start as carbon nanotubes.

Researchers eye next-gen lithium-ion batteries

Laptops could work longer and electric cars could drive farther if it were possible to further increase the capacity of their lithium-ion batteries. 

Novel silicon electrodes improve lithium-ion batteries

Stanford University scientists have dramatically improved the performance of lithium-ion batteries by creating novel electrodes made of silicon and conducting polymer hydrogel, a spongy material similar to that used in contact lenses and other household products.

Adding boron to make better batteries

Frustration led to revelation when Rice University scientists determined how graphene might be made useful for high-capacity batteries.

Designing better batteries with sulfur waste

Scientists at the University of Arizona have developed a new chemical process capable of transforming sulfur waste into a lightweight plastic that may improve batteries for electric cars. As expected, the new plastic has other potential uses, including for optical devices.

Slow your car, recharge your batteries

The Cadillac ELR is the luxurious sibling to the more pedestrian Chevrolet Volt. Recently, General Motors released info on the ELR’s "Regen on Demand," a feature unique to the latest Caddy.

Bacteria to power your gadgets

A technique that tethers bacteria to electrodes means your future gadget could be powered by microbes in the future.

Can graphene supercapacitors replace traditional batteries?

If these UCLA researchers are right – and we might find out pretty soon – energy storage could be in for a big change.

Understanding the impact of electric cars on the grid

As more electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids hit the streets, one of the challenges will be managing the power grid requirements for these cars when they are having their batteries recharged at all hours.

Electric car batteries suffer unexpected problem

The lithium-ion batteries commonly used in hybrid and electric-only cars could fail earlier than expected because of a newly-discovered problem with the current collector.

New cellphone battery technology promises ten times longer life

IPhone 4S owners bemoaning their feeble battery life may have some hope, at least, for the future: Northwestern University engineers have developed a cellphone battery that charges in 15 minutes and stays charged for more than a week.