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Candle soot could power electric car batteries: Indian researchers

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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)

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Tesla Acquires Energy Storage Company For $218 mn

A number of automakers are introducing, or have introduced, electric vehicles in the past several months, including the Jaguar I-PACE, Audi e-tron SUV, Kia e-Niro and the Hyundai Kona

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Tesla, board
Tesla to lay-off 7% full-time staff amid China dreams. Pixabay

Electric car maker Tesla has acquired US-based energy storage company Maxwell Technologies in an all-stock deal valued at $218 million, a deal aimed at helping the electric automaker improve its batteries and lower costs as more competitors enter the market.

According to the report, the offer will value each of Maxwell’s 45.9 million shares at $4.75. The merger is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

“We believe this transaction is in the best interests of Maxwell stockholders and offers investors the opportunity to participate in Tesla’s mission of accelerating the advent of sustainable transport and energy,” Franz Fink, CEO and President, Maxwell, was quoted as saying by TechCrunch on Monday.

Maxwell Technologies’ primary focus has been on ultracapacitors — energy storage devices that can charge and discharge rapidly, perform at a wide range of temperatures and have high power density and long operational life.

In December, the company sold its high-voltage battery product line to Renaissance Investment Foundation for $55.1 million in cash and up to $15 million in potential future milestone payments.

The company says that Maxwell’s dry electrode technology — used to make the ultracapacitors — which can be applied to batteries of varying chemistries, boosts performance and is more cost-effective than the more commonly used wet electrode technology.

Tesla CEO Elon musk, board
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (VOA)

That application could give Tesla a boost in an increasingly competitive electric vehicle market, the report said.

A number of automakers are introducing, or have introduced, electric vehicles in the past several months, including the Jaguar I-PACE, Audi e-tron SUV, Kia e-Niro and the Hyundai Kona.

Also Read- Samsung, Apple Top 2 Semiconductor Chip Buyers in 2018

“We are always looking for potential acquisitions that make sense for the business and support Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” a Tesla spokesman said in an emailed statement to TechCrunch. (IANS)