Wednesday February 26, 2020
Home India Candle soot c...

Candle soot could power electric car batteries: Indian researchers

0
//

Hyderabad, Oct 8 Burning a candle could be all that it takes to make an inexpensive but powerful electric car battery, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad have found.

The research revealed that candle soot could be used to power the kind of lithium-ion battery that is used in plug-in hybrid electric cars.

“We are very excited about the results. This new approach is very easy and the costs involved are minimal — it would make battery production cheaper,” said Chandra Sharma, one of the study authors.

Sharma estimated that one hybrid car would need ten kg of carbon soot, which would be deposited in about an hour using candles.

Their discovery opens up the possibilities of using carbon in more powerful batteries, driving down the cost of portable power.

Lithium-ion batteries power many devices, from smartphones and digital cameras all the way up to cars and even aircraft.

The batteries work by having two electrically-charged materials suspended in a liquid to produce a current.

Carbon is used as one of those materials in smaller batteries, but for bigger, more powerful batteries — such as those used in electric cars — carbon is not suitable because of its structure, which cannot produce the required current density.

In the new study, Sharma and Manohar Kakunuri found that because of the shape and configuration of the tiny carbon nanoparticles, the carbon in candle soot is suitable for use in bigger batteries.

What is more, because the soot could be produced quickly and easily, it is a scalable approach to making batteries.

When a candle burns, it gives off clouds of black soot made of carbon.

The researchers looked at the soot collected from the tip of a candle flame and from the middle of the flame and compared the size, shape and structure of the carbon.

The results showed that the burning process forms nanoparticles of carbon that are 30-40 nanometres across and are joined together in an interconnected network.

They also found that the soot recovered from the tip of a candle flame, which burns at 1400 degrees Celsius, has fewer impurities like wax, making it perform better as an electrical conductor.

In tests, the researchers found the soot effective as a conducting material in a battery.

The researchers now plan to develop a candle soot battery to test the technology further.

The findings appeared in the journal Electrochimica Acta.

(IANS)

Next Story

Next Generation Storage Technology May Help EVs and Phones Charge Faster

New tech may make EVs, phones charge quickly, run longer

0
Charge EV
Next-generation energy storage technology can help charge your electric cars in almost 10 minutes. Pixabay

Imagine needing less than 10 minutes to fully-charge your electric car or just two minutes for your phone and it lasting the whole day. This could soon be possible with a next-generation energy storage technology that researchers have developed.

While at the proof-of-concept stage, it shows enormous potential as a portable power supply in several practical applications including electric vehicles, phones and wearable technology

The discovery, published in the journal Nature Energy, overcomes the issue faced by high-powered, fast-charging supercapacitors — that they usually cannot hold a large amount of energy in a small space.

Charge phone
With this technology, your mobile phone would be fully charged in almost 2 minutes. Pixabay

“Our new supercapacitor is extremely promising for next-generation energy storage technology as either a replacement for current battery technology, or for use alongside it, to provide the user with more power,” first author of the study Zhuangnan Li from University College London.

“We designed materials which would give our supercapacitor a high power density — that is how fast it can charge or discharge — and a high energy density — which will determine how long it can run for. Normally, you can only have one of these characteristics but our supercapacitor provides both, which is a critical breakthrough,” Li added.

“Moreover, the supercapacitor can bend to 180 degrees without affecting performance and doesn’t use a liquid electrolyte, which minimises any risk of explosion and makes it perfect for integrating into bendy phones or wearable electronics,” Li said.

A team of chemists, engineers and physicists worked on the new design, which uses an innovative graphene electrode material with pores that can be changed in size to store the charge more efficiently.

Charge EV
“We designed materials which would give our supercapacitor a high power density — that is how fast it can charge or discharge,” said first author of the study Zhuangnan Li from University College London. (Representational Image) Pixabay

This tuning maximises the energy density of the supercapacitor to a record 88.1 Wh/L (Watt-hour per litre), which is the highest ever reported energy density for carbon-based supercapacitors, the study said.

Similar fast-charging commercial technology has a relatively poor energy density of 5-8 Wh/L and traditional slow-charging but long-running lead-acid batteries used in electric vehicles typically have 50-90 Wh/L.

While the supercapacitor developed by the team has a comparable energy density to state-of-the-art value of lead-acid batteries, its power density is two orders of magnitude higher at over 10,000 Watt per litre.

“Successfully storing a huge amount of energy safely in a compact system is a significant step towards improved energy storage technology. We have shown it charges quickly, we can control its output and it has excellent durability and flexibility, making it ideal for development for use in miniaturised electronics and electric vehicles,” senior author and Dean of UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences, Professor Ivan Parkin, said.

Also Read- Protesters Urge Facebook CEO to Not Share Misinformation Ads for US Politicians

The researchers made electrodes from multiple layers of graphene, creating a dense, but porous material capable of trapping charged ions of different sizes. They characterised it using a range of techniques and found it performed best when the pore sizes matched the diameter of the ions in the electrolyte.

The optimised material, which forms a thin film, was used to build a proof-of-concept device with both a high power and high energy density. (IANS)