Video: The battery that might change everything

posted at 1:01 pm on February 23, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

It’s time for a short break from politics and a brief excursion into… SCIENCE! (Yes, yes… I know. Republicans don’t care about science, but this may turn out to be important for your smart phone. More on that later.)

Some of the great scientific breakthroughs of the last century came about entirely by accident. Many of you are probably familiar with the origins of the Post It Note, and how it was invented as a result of a failure when attempting to create a super strong adhesive. Well, there may be another such story taking place in the present day. Scientists working with carbon compounds developed Graphene, a safe substance with a lot of structural strength for very little mass and weight. And then some wise guy discovered that it had another use.

The recap: Graphene, a very simple carbon polymer, can be used as the basic component of a “supercapacitor” — an electrical power storage device that charges far more rapidly than chemical batteries. Unlike other supercapacitors, though, graphene’s structure also offers a high “energy density,” — it can hold a lot of electrons, meaning that it could conceivably rival or outperform batteries in the amount of charge it can hold. Kaner Lab researcher Maher El-Kady found a way to create sheets of graphene a single carbon atom thick by covering a plastic surface with graphite oxide solution and bombarding it with precisely controlled laser light.

That last sentence may sound pretty complicated, but the article’s author provides a translation for the layman.

He painted a DVD with a liquid carbon solution and stuck it into a standard-issue DVD burner.

The result was a shockingly thin supercapacitor which could store up a large amount of electrical energy in no time flat. The potential for this sort of discovery should be obvious. Unlike heavy metal batteries, the carbon compound is biodegradable and cheap to manufacture. And a battery made of layers of this material could charge your cell phone for a full day’s use in – wait for it – two seconds. A ramped up version could charge an electric car in a minute or two. (No word on how likely it will be to catch on fire, but bonus points if it doesn’t.)

Here’s the video I mentioned. It’s not long and explains the process better than I ever could. I have to say, this is pretty exciting stuff if it comes to fruition.

The Super Supercapacitor | Brian Golden Davis from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.


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And the best part of this technology? It is described for its utility way back in Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series. It actually is a handy bit of technology, as is demonstrated in the stories… actual means to do it wasn’t described as it was only science fiction just a couple of decades ago.

Still no word on Larry Niven’s teleporter or, for me the real game changer, stasis field. Or the variable sword or Sinclair Monofilament.

Really the future has to start arriving just a bit faster to stop lagging behind SF.

ajacksonian on February 23, 2013 at 3:58 PM

One thing I don’t know – was the research subsidized by the government?

My thought is that if not – if it’s paid for by a private company – I’d be supportive of at least researching this further. It’s what we’ve always said – we’re not opposed to ‘green’ energy, we’re opposed to the government sinking cash into subsidizing the research and / or manufacture of the tech.

I’d also bet that if the tech does pan out (and I don’t know enough to have an opinion on that side of it), and it’s funded through private money, it’d be developed and brought to market pretty quickly.

THIS is the benefit of capitalism.

psrch on February 23, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Will charge your phone in 2 seconds…
Kind of like what we already have though for poptarts & the microwave. I have to say that I’m not kidding because it sounds like I am but from the actual directions for poptarts: “…2. Microwave on high setting for 3 seconds.” Three seconds, right. See the actual directions on your actual poptart box, or here: http://www.amazon.com/Pop-Tarts-Semi-Frosted-Cinnamon-8-Count-Tarts/dp/B000AYDG5C

anotherJoe on February 23, 2013 at 4:16 PM

One thing I don’t know – was the research subsidized by the government?
psrch on February 23, 2013 at 4:01 PM

It appears that GE funded the research.
So, that would mean that it has been indirectly funded by government because it has been reported that GE didn’t pay taxes in 2012 (because of green credits and other corporate subsidies).
Regardless, if this means a reliable and feasible energy storage unit will be available for use, I think it’s a major game changer and net plus all around.

kregg on February 23, 2013 at 4:29 PM

This is nothing like the 787 batteries, which are full of lithium. Very reactive and flammable.

The danger from a capacitor is simple electrocution.

Prufrock on February 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Not if the insulator between the graphine sheets is a flammable plastic. One short dumps all of the electrically connected energy, which in turn could melt adjacent cells, causing a cascade of shorts, and venting vaporized plastic into the air, where it will burn.

Count to 10 on February 23, 2013 at 3:04 PM

-
At work when a lith-ion does this we call it “Spontaneous Dis-assembly with Report”. All that energy coming out at once would be much worse with a Cap… They can dump at least as fast as they charge kinda safely… But when it happens in milliseconds with a car battery cap… Think gallons of gas going boom. A cap damaged in an accident could potentially take out everything for a few lanes around it.

RalphyBoy on February 23, 2013 at 4:32 PM

They didn’t build that./
How cool.

CW20 on February 23, 2013 at 4:33 PM

if i had a nickel for every miracle battery story…

echosyst on February 23, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Electric cars, quick charge cell phones, blah blah blah.

I just want my fricken laser beams.

TexasDan on February 23, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Sounds a little like a hoax:
1. Graphite oxyde? Carbon Oxyde? That is not a solution, it is a gas. It might be some complex oxygen/graphene nanostructure, but they try to make it sound really simple and it is not.
2. DVD burner? I dont think it has enough power to evaporate water from that solution, not enough to make a single layer deposition film. Nano films are usually deposited in vaccuum, with more powerful lasers.
3. There is a big jump from single layer film, to the 3d structure, so while they made it sound like something simple, it is not.
Anyway, hoaxy, but fun.

anikol on February 23, 2013 at 4:41 PM

My thought is that if not – if it’s paid for by a private company – I’d be supportive of at least researching this further. It’s what we’ve always said – we’re not opposed to ‘green’ energy, we’re opposed to the government sinking cash into subsidizing the research and / or manufacture of the tech.

What an inane question. Perhaps you don’t realize that most scientific advances at major US research universities are a consequence of government funding. And those advances are crucial to preserving the economic status of the USA in a technology and knowledge driven global economy.
Silicon valley was literally funded, before the rise of Apple, Microsoft, and Google, by government defense spending.

The conservative position isn’t that government has no place in funding R&G, but that the government should not be financing companies, given the difficulty of predicting the outcomes of early stage investments. Then again, the US is engaged in a cold trade war with China and there’s more to that argument than the merits of government support of private enterprise.

bayam on February 23, 2013 at 4:45 PM

You reheat Krispy Kreme is 8 seconds. 8 seconds is the magic number, not two.

Rusty Allen on February 23, 2013 at 5:05 PM

This graphite battery business is awesome! Hold on while I check to see where most of the world’s graphite comes from…

Aw crap it’s China!

Greek Fire on February 23, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Doesn’t GE own MSNBC (or did own) and was huge donor to Obama…

albill on February 23, 2013 at 5:52 PM

If this works out, look for Obama to take credit.

MPan on February 23, 2013 at 6:10 PM

albill on February 23, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Until I see this technology assessed by a more credible source than GE, foremost among crony capitalists… whose very survival has been dredged from deep in the gubmint’s green trough… I’ll take it with a grain of salt.

petefrt on February 23, 2013 at 6:24 PM

There is a physics problem with many kinds of energy storage — how do you keep the energy from releasing suddenly (i.e. exploding) in a worst case scenario.

Any energy storage device used in a car should be, by nature, slow. You want to store enough energy to move you hundreds of miles but you want it to be impossible for all that energy to release in an instant.

A capacitor can never be made safe for a car. This system might work well for a fixed location but in a collision, all the energy in a capacitor could discharge very quickly.

The nature of a capacitor makes rapid charge and discharge easy. That’s an advantage as long as there’s no physical assault on the device. Any piece of metal piercing the capacitor would short the whole thing out and “go boom.”

Gasoline is mercifully hard to ignite and that makes it surprisingly safe.

Pythagoras on February 23, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Very late to this thread and I am sure it has been asked but is faster as good as longevity?

Cindy Munford on February 23, 2013 at 6:44 PM

You can bet the dipsh!t “progressive” global warming crowds will claim it will increase “carbon footprints”..

ChuckTX on February 23, 2013 at 6:47 PM

“A ramped up version could charge an electric car in a minute or two. (No word on how likely it will be to catch on fire, but bonus points if it doesn’t.)”

If the Feds DON’T build it or subsidize it, the darn thing just might be fireproof!

ronco on February 23, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Does GE build windmills too?

[Hahahahaaaaaa...]

petefrt on February 23, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Yes, yes… I know. Republicans don’t care about science, but…

…but Democrat liberals don’t care about math or accounting.

lonestarleeroy on February 23, 2013 at 7:09 PM

I remember a news report about a technology breakthrough around 20 years ago…a thin plastic battery that I assume works along the same principles.

Yeah, buddy, it was going to change the world!

Unless I’ve missed something, it hasn’t gone anywhere…either that or Eveready bought out the patent…LOL.

So, I always remain skeptical about such things until they actually hit the store shelves.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 23, 2013 at 7:24 PM

next up, obama cures cancer.

all by himself.

renalin on February 23, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Yes, yes… I know. Republicans don’t care about JUNK science

FIFY

vinceautmorire on February 23, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Gasoline is mercifully hard to ignite and that makes it surprisingly safe.

Pythagoras on February 23, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Liquid gasoline doesn’t burn which is why it is hard to ignite. When it is input into the cylinders it is in vapor form which is much easier to ignite.

chemman on February 23, 2013 at 7:36 PM

if i had a nickel for every miracle battery story…

echosyst on February 23, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Yeah I tend to agree with you, but I do hold out hope that technology will provide many pleasant surprises. Sounds like this could be great portable defibulator material. Frankly, I have a concern with charging a battery that quickly. It’s more likely that before we have phasers, we’ll have power packs we can set to overload.

CitizenEgg on February 23, 2013 at 7:37 PM

You can bet the dipsh!t “progressive” global warming crowds will claim it will increase “carbon footprints”..

ChuckTX on February 23, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Since they don’t know the difference between carbon dioxide(CO2) and carbon (C) then I’ll have to agree with you.

chemman on February 23, 2013 at 7:39 PM

A capacitor can never be made safe for a car. This system might work well for a fixed location but in a collision, all the energy in a capacitor could discharge very quickly.

Pythagoras on February 23, 2013 at 6:32 PM

So this could possibly be an answer to harvesting & storing wind & solar energy? If this isn’t a hoax that is.

mdenis39 on February 23, 2013 at 7:59 PM

I dunno about this. I hope it works out, but my first thought was that if it could be charged up that fast, it could also accidentally discharge that fast. And that could be extremely dangerous. I think I want a series resistor built into it.

Steven Den Beste on February 23, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Well, if we could dump a large amount through a lasing LED…LASER GUNS! Just have to dissipate the heat in the LED….

ProfShadow on February 23, 2013 at 8:00 PM

You need to consider the motor and drivetrains found in electric cars, which are far different than what you find in vehicles based on internal combustion engines.
The replacement of legacy battery technology with graphene or aluminum is a game changer.

bayam on February 23, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Agreed that the efficiency of the drivetrain in converting the power into motion is also important — which is why the Prius gets such good mileage.

That said, the prius’ prime source of power is still gasoline — and, in fact, the reason the prius hasn’t changed over completely to electrical power is due to the lack of energy density in existing batteries.

In the end, the whole equation comes down to the energy the vehicle will expend in moving a given mass for a given distance at a given velocity. That’s the equation which gasoline beats all other power sources at achieving — for much less cost than any electrical alternative — especially when one considers the government tax incentives applied to local electricity generation vice the taxes government applies to local gasoline purchases.

On a level playing field, petroleum trumps solar — at present.

unclesmrgol on February 23, 2013 at 8:57 PM

Perhaps you don’t realize that most scientific advances at major US research universities are a consequence of government funding.

bayam on February 23, 2013 at 4:45 PM

I suppose that means that we the people own the patent for this miracle super-capacitor — right?

unclesmrgol on February 23, 2013 at 9:00 PM

The battery that might change everything

Oh, great. Now we have a battery to make the wind turbines spin when the wind is not blowing? Fantastic.

petefrt on February 23, 2013 at 9:16 PM

Oh, great. Now we have a battery to make the wind turbines spin when the wind is not blowing? Fantastic.

petefrt on February 23, 2013 at 9:16 PM

They should also light up the solar panels too, so…bonus

CitizenEgg on February 23, 2013 at 9:20 PM

How should we treat American jihadists?

Rule .303 or something a little larger?

Oldnuke on February 23, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Dont worry the Oil Companies will bury the technology, kill the scientists who know how to make it and keep on selling eeeeeeevil gasoline until the end of time.

Neo on February 23, 2013 at 10:22 PM

I’ve always said that the Liberal broads would be a lot more serene with better batteries. The Liberal ‘males’ should return to a nonconsequential status.

M240H on February 23, 2013 at 11:10 PM

Um, yeah. Sarc tag, I guess.
/

M240H on February 23, 2013 at 11:12 PM

The libs are going to hate this… until they figure out a way to tax it.

ncjetsfan on February 23, 2013 at 11:31 PM

If you watched the movie, his one inch by one inch capacitor powered an led for over five minutes without a resister in the circuit. That implies that this device combines attributes of a capacitor and a battery — it has a resistance to discharge.

unclesmrgol on February 23, 2013 at 2:04 PM

I didn’t catch the part about there being no resister… And I always put a resister in the circuit when I power an LED with a battery pack so I’m still missing what you’re trying to say here.

When you imply resistance to discharge… don’t you think that would apply to charging too? I’m trying to be open minded here but this argument that this is a rapid charge/slow discharge tech is not made in the video, and a simple shorting of the leads will prove that one way or the other…

Maybe in the next video though. They could show no charge, seconds to full charge, short the leads for about the same as the charge time… and then run the resisterless LED circuit for 5 minutes. that would make your points…

RalphyBoy on February 23, 2013 at 11:33 PM

Republicans dont care about science any less than Democrats

kmalkows on February 24, 2013 at 12:08 AM

If you watched the movie, his one inch by one inch capacitor powered an led for over five minutes without a resister in the circuit. That implies that this device combines attributes of a capacitor and a battery — it has a resistance to discharge.

unclesmrgol on February 23, 2013 at 2:04 PM

The LED is the resistor. It must just be that the 1 inch x 1 inch sheet produces the proper voltage for the resistor. The reason for a resistor in any circuit is to ensure the proper voltage (pressure) such that energy flow is proper.

astonerii on February 24, 2013 at 12:18 AM

So this could possibly be an answer to harvesting & storing wind & solar energy? If this isn’t a hoax that is.

mdenis39 on February 23, 2013 at 7:59 PM

Well, there are some advantages to using capacitors instead of batteries. First off, they don’t wear out; the number of charge/discharge cycles is almost unlimited. Secondly, there is very little energy lost.

The disadvantage is that the voltage moves around a lot. Batteries tend to hold a certain voltage until they are mostly discharged. The energy in a capacitor is proportional to the voltage squared. The voltage drops continuously as it’s discharged. Thus, the circuits to convert the output to normal electricity for utility use would have to deal with that. It’s a manageable problem but it’s a problem.

However, the non-portable energy storage problem isn’t what’s killing the solar and wind options right now. They are both huge disappointments in terms of energy generated per day (or per bird killed). Windmills are starting to look like they will soon just be curious artifacts — sort of like the Tiki Gods on Easter Island. They are breaking down so much that they are being abandoned almost everywhere they’ve been tried. This leaves all these defunct “war of the worlds” looking monsters dotting the landscape.

Solar is doing just as badly but it’s at an earlier stage. There is still hope this will not end up as bad as the windmills. The practical problems with solar panels may yet be solved.

Pythagoras on February 24, 2013 at 1:28 AM

If they can get these to charge via friction… you could devise a perpetual motion vibrator.

Arugula-scented for Bangs-In-[Sub-]Chief.

profitsbeard on February 24, 2013 at 3:52 AM

I’m still waiting for the room temperature superconductor.

There were such high hopes for that back in the ’80s.

At liquid air temps it becomes a major replacement for trunk lines, and would require a replacement of the current copper system which is a win-win as the old system is showing its age and needs to be overhauled in a major way. In some areas the future just can’t get here fast enough.

ajacksonian on February 24, 2013 at 7:32 AM

BS!

racquetballer on February 24, 2013 at 8:24 AM

This technology would be incredible in a car. Think about it, charging stations that would allow you to charge your car’s battery in a minute? Of course, those charging stations need to be able to produce large quantities of electricity, and at a price that allows them to turn a profit.

I imagine that your corner charging station would look something like this: Pumps would be replaced with battery chargers, and the underground tanks that currently hold the gasoline would be replaced with LNG tanks, because something has to provide fuel for the on-sight generators that will be needed to produce all that electricity.

HarryBackside on February 24, 2013 at 8:34 AM

The flux capacitor cometh! The next big discovery, a balanced budget.

racquetballer on February 24, 2013 at 8:49 AM

anikol on February 23, 2013 at 4:41 PM

How is it living in the 16th century?

right2bright on February 24, 2013 at 9:14 AM

This technology would be incredible in a car. Think about it, charging stations that would allow you to charge your car’s battery in a minute? Of course, those charging stations need to be able to produce large quantities of electricity, and at a price that allows them to turn a profit.

I imagine that your corner charging station would look something like this: Pumps would be replaced with battery chargers, and the underground tanks that currently hold the gasoline would be replaced with LNG tanks, because something has to provide fuel for the on-sight generators that will be needed to produce all that electricity.

HarryBackside on February 24, 2013 at 8:34 AM

Meanwhile, the administration is cutting back on coal, nuclear, just where are we going to get all of this electricity?
Nuclear is the only viable option right now…clean, safe, can be relatively inexpensive if the gov. allowed it to be…it’s on hundreds of ships, how many serious “accidents” have happened while living within feet of a reactor?

right2bright on February 24, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Whether you are charging a battery or a super capacitor, the energy you get out of it is less than the energy you put into it. The difference goes mainly to heat.

So I don’t have a clue how they can make claims of charging a battery or super-capacitor powered automobile in a few minutes. The amount of energy, and the current required would be enormous. Example: To get 1 kilo-watt-hour of charge in a minute of charging time would require 60 kilo-watts for that minute of charging plus the amount to be expended in heat and in losses in the distribution of the energy.

For small amounts of energy for a cell phone that is not a big issue, for an automobile is a huge problem.

s/ Maybe the plan is to capture a lightning strike to charge super-capacitors, but I think that could be a problem too. /s

Dasher on February 24, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Look for the hockey-stick-hide-the-decline graph.

racquetballer on February 24, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Can’t trust dem gubment funded Obamacare scientists.

racquetballer on February 24, 2013 at 10:27 AM

I’m still waiting for the room temperature superconductor.

There were such high hopes for that back in the ’80s.

At liquid air temps it becomes a major replacement for trunk lines, and would require a replacement of the current copper system which is a win-win as the old system is showing its age and needs to be overhauled in a major way. In some areas the future just can’t get here fast enough.

ajacksonian on February 24, 2013 at 7:32 AM

There are a whole lot of things you could do with a RTSC — although you would also need to be able to produce them at a reasonable price.

Count to 10 on February 24, 2013 at 10:37 AM

I don’t do much in the way of electronics, but caps have been getting smaller per farad for several years. Dielectric manufacturing has apparently been improving.

The answer to the safety question is to have many (many, many) lower voltage caps instead of few higher voltage ones, and then the individual failures are not that bad. Shorting the output terminals of the 12V monster cap would be equivalent to doing that with a lead acid battery, because of all the internal series resistance.

I think.

bbhack on February 24, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Ideally, these things wouldn’t overheat because the resistance of the graphene is near zero:

P(ower) = Current² * Resistance

The higher the resistance, the more power (in that device) is dissipated, therefore the hotter it gets.

If they could build one of these with a HUGE amount of capacitance, this could lead somewhere productive.

I’m going to watch this technology.

fjb3795 on February 24, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Appears to be a very innovative and important science find. Now if someone could come up with a better way to syncronize these videos with the audio it would be even better…

elihu on February 24, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Really the future has to start arriving just a bit faster to stop lagging behind SF.

ajacksonian on February 23, 2013 at 3:58 PM

If it did, there wouldn’t be any SF and then what would you read?

davidk on February 24, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Overproduced video with little specifics other than “graphene is cool”.

How many people will be ruining their CD burners after watching this?

virgo on February 24, 2013 at 3:40 PM

This does sound like exciting technology. I just hope it’s not available too soon to power these MAVs before a responsible president is in the White House.

right of the dial on February 24, 2013 at 3:48 PM

I predict that graphene auto body frames will be designed to also act as capacitors, which can be the big game-changer for hybrid and electric cars. The only downside is what happens to the stored electricity when one of those frames is bent in an accident and shorts out. Some thought will have to be given to that before it really takes off.

Capacitors can take a lot of energy in a hurry, which makes them ideal for regenerative braking and acceleration, while other energy-storage methods may be better optimized for the long slow discharge necessary to make up for losses due to friction. A fuel-cell/capacitor hybrid could be a very clean and economically efficient vehicle that people would buy without being “nudged” into it by the government.

Full-on electric vehicles will never be popular until they can store enough energy to drive five or six hours between recharges and recharge as fast as a gasoline or diesel vehicle can be refueled (maybe if a recharge takes as long as you can go into a restaurant with charging-station parking to eat a meal). Capacitors’ ability to charge/discharge quickly makes them a good choice.

The Monster on February 24, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Come on folks, realize this for what it is. . . .

Think about this.

This video promotion was produced by General Electric — one of the wealthiest companies in the entire world with an income of billions of dollars a year from a variety of endeavors.

If there was anything to it they would keep it under absolutely lock and key — until they were ready to go to market and had all their patents lined up in a roll. No sense in giving out any information to let GM or Siemens or some other multinational company to start work on something similar.

So why did they produce this video? It was to convince the unicorn loving greenies that this is yet another breakthrough coming down the pike, and should be subsidized with billions of dollars from the government trough.

And if the good professor from UCLA can get $10-20 million dollars for his lab and UCLA and their school of Marxist Lesbian performing arts. . . . what’s there not to like? I’m sure lots of people would like to have a carbon coated DVD that can power a small LED for nearly five minutes. . . .

Narniaman on February 24, 2013 at 4:11 PM

It appears that GE funded the research.

kregg on February 23, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Here it’s reported as being a product of UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute:
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/ucla-researchers-develop-new-technique-243553.aspx
“The California NanoSystems Institute is an integrated research facility located at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. Its mission is to foster interdisciplinary collaborations in nanoscience and nanotechnology; to train a new generation of scientists, educators and technology leaders; to generate partnerships with industry; and to contribute to the economic development and the social well-being of California, the United States and the world. The CNSI was established in 2000 with $100 million from the state of California. The total amount of research funding in nanoscience and nanotechnology awarded to CNSI members has risen to over $900 million. UCLA CNSI members are drawn from UCLA’s College of Letters and Science, the David Geffen School of Medicine, the School of Dentistry, the School of Public Health and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. They are engaged in measuring, modifying and manipulating atoms and molecules — the building blocks of our world. Their work is carried out in an integrated laboratory environment. This dynamic research setting has enhanced understanding of phenomena at the nanoscale and promises to produce important discoveries in health, energy, the environment and information technology.”

elfman on February 24, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Sounds a little like a hoax:
1. Graphite oxyde? Carbon Oxyde? That is not a solution, it is a gas. It might be some complex oxygen/graphene nanostructure, but they try to make it sound really simple and it is not.
2. DVD burner? I dont think it has enough power to evaporate water from that solution, not enough to make a single layer deposition film. Nano films are usually deposited in vaccuum, with more powerful lasers.
3. There is a big jump from single layer film, to the 3d structure, so while they made it sound like something simple, it is not.
Anyway, hoaxy, but fun.

anikol on February 23, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Apparently it’s not a hoax.
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/ucla-researchers-develop-new-technique-243553.aspx

elfman on February 24, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Ya’ll have really wandered off topic.

Lasers, dammit. L A S E R S.

Let me demonstrate: wow, it would be awesome if they could make eyeglasses with this graphene material that would power that new google glass stuff, which would contain the targeting system for your eyeglass laser beams.

Really, not hard.

Also, he must have altered the controller on that DVD drive or it would have flung the fluid right off the disk, no?

TexasDan on February 24, 2013 at 5:29 PM

If they can get these to charge via friction… you could devise a perpetual motion vibrator.

Arugula-scented for Bangs-In-[Sub-]Chief.

profitsbeard on February 24, 2013 at 3:52 AM

In fact even if you had to plut it into an electrical outlet, those would guarantee that NO Male liberal would ever get any ever again! WOOHOO!

Liberals who claim to be men think they are unhappy today. Just wait until some inventor makes these.

DannoJyd on February 24, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Bamo. Chinese already stole it.

ninjacoastie on February 24, 2013 at 6:55 PM

This could be wildly problematic for the greenies: they’ve spent the last decade trying to convince everyone how dangerous/deadly carbon was.

kpguru on February 24, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Very Promising technology.

Gentlemen, the task that lies before us now is to find a way to prevent this from ever seeing the light of day. We have been able to shut down oil exploration and drilling here in the US and we are doing a good job of frightening the American people into outlawing fracking.

It this stinking little battery ever sees the light of day all our hard work will be for naught, the American people will have escaped and we will have failed in our effort to control, if not enslave our quarry.

The Rock on February 24, 2013 at 7:22 PM

And if the good professor from UCLA can get $10-20 million dollars for his lab and UCLA and their school of Marxist Lesbian performing arts. . . . what’s there not to like? I’m sure lots of people would like to have a carbon coated DVD that can power a small LED for nearly five minutes. . . .

Narniaman on February 24, 2013 at 4:11 PM

-
See… Eventually someone was bound to figure out the real reason for the video.

And just because there is an ah-ha moment in science doesn’t mean that the cost effectiveness of mass production of the new tech is anywhere in the foreseeable future. Single atom stuff is expensive.

Hell, even solar cells which have been around for over 100 years are just now approaching fiscal viability beyond special applications. Which is where this tech will end up, special ops. Like in some ultra-light robots or like that… But it’s decades away from going consumer other than in some small way.

Till then… research grants will have to prop it up to keep it alive.

Please… someone ask the price of the carbon solution that was on the cd. Graphene goes for about 5 time what gold does by weight; which would make it $7,500 per oz. This is not a cheap tech…

RalphyBoy on February 24, 2013 at 7:26 PM

The enviro-fascists are going to hate this. Like fracking, it’s not about the environment and never was.

Exactly. Who was on record saying that cheap, clean energy would be the worst thing to happen to humankind? I can’t remember, but they don’t care if poor people die as long as they get what they want.

Bob's Kid on February 25, 2013 at 10:45 AM

The more I hear about the meddling in actual efforts to cheapen energy, the more I’m convinced it’s more about the progs wanting to control everyone. Solar energy? Great idea!… until you try to build on what some consider sacred land. Electric cars? Awesome!… then comes new kinds of taxes to make up for loss of gas-tax revenue.

TMOverbeck on February 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

If we were to use Al Gore for our raw material supply, we could create an almost limitless energy supply when he is reduced to single carbon atom slices.

Carnac on February 25, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Leave it to those ingenious little human beings to find solutions to problems. Sort of like solar directly to gasoline, a film that generates electricity directly from body heat, and the ability to generate electricity from coal without creating CO2.

Now all we gotta do is kill most of ‘em off. (/ \ whatever…)

WryTrvllr on February 25, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Is it like a flux capacitor?

federale86 on February 25, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Kaner Lab researcher Maher El-Kady found a way to create sheets of graphene a single carbon atom thick by covering a plastic surface with graphite oxide solution and bombarding it with precisely controlled laser light.

A single carbon atom thick? This is unlikely to work as a capacitor, because the electrons around a single carbon atom circulate on both sides of it. A capacitor requires positively and negatively charged ions to remain separated despite an electric field between them, and would have to be thousands of atoms thick (which is possible over thicknesses of less than a millimeter).

If this is what it’s cracked up to be, graphene is an excellent dielectric material, which enables a capacitor to store a lot of charge on parallel conducting plates (with the dielectric between them) at low voltage without discharging.

The disadvantage is that the voltage moves around a lot. Batteries tend to hold a certain voltage until they are mostly discharged. The energy in a capacitor is proportional to the voltage squared. The voltage drops continuously as it’s discharged. Thus, the circuits to convert the output to normal electricity for utility use would have to deal with that. It’s a manageable problem but it’s a problem.

As “Pythagoras” pointed out, the voltage delivered by a capacitor decreases when it’s discharged, so if it is used as a battery to deliver DC current, it needs to be connected to a variable resistor whose resistance is changed to maintain a constant current.

And a battery made of layers of this material could charge your cell phone for a full day’s use in – wait for it – two seconds. A ramped up version could charge an electric car in a minute or two. (No word on how likely it will be to catch on fire, but bonus points if it doesn’t.)

It would be nice to be able to charge up a cell phone in two seconds, but a cell phone draws a minimal amount of current at low voltage, so that the total charge is not that much.

An electric car battery needs to deliver about 100 HP (76 KW) of energy over an hour or more. Even if the initial voltage across the capacitor was 100 volts, 760 amps of DC current would be required to supply 76 KW of power, and over an hour, this comes out to 2.7 megacoulombs of charge, which is a HUGE amount of charge, and would require a tremendous capacitance (at 100 volts, 27 kilofarads, where most capacitors found in eletronic devices are microfarads).

Even if “graphene” is a great dielectric, an electric car would require many graphene capacitors wired in parallel to provide enough power for an electric car to run for an hour. Graphene capacitors would need to be tested for how much voltage and charge could be safely stored across each capacitor without “arcing out” (sudden discharge across the capacitor, with a spark that could eventually start a fire).

Steve Z on February 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM

The conservative position isn’t that government has no place in funding R&G, but that the government should not be financing companies, given the difficulty of predicting the outcomes of early stage investments. Then again, the US is engaged in a cold trade war with China and there’s more to that argument than the merits of government support of private enterprise.

bayam on February 23, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Wrong as usual. Funny how you presume to speak for a population to which you do not belong, but you would loudly castigate anyone else for doing likewise.

The conservative position isn’t opposed to government funding of research, that has happened for a very long time now. The conservative position is opposition to government increasing “revenue demand” (aka taxes) in order to force-feed a still-unproven industry which experts know is not ready for profitable production.

As for this tech, it appears to have great promise in making certain forms of circuitry more economical, miniature and/or effective. However, a capacitor is not a battery, and no person with a shred of wisdom would attempt to use one as the other. Capacitors oppose a change in voltage, and in doing so, accrete a charge in the form of stored electrons on one or more plates, between which there is dielectric resistor material. All reactions from a capacitor are purely electrical, not electro-chemical.

Give the capacitor a path through which to discharge, and it will do so at a rate of RC (Load resistance x capacitance). A 1 MegOhm resistance discharging a 1 microFarad capacitor will lose 63% of its charge in 1 second. A 10 Megohm resistance discharging a 50 microFarad capacitor will lose 63% of its charge in 500 seconds.

The problem with this, if you want to use it in place of a battery, is that the charge of a capacitor is its felt voltage to a load at any given instant. As it discharges, the voltage falls to zero along a logarithmic curve.

The difference between this, and an electrochemically charged battery, is that the battery is capable of sustaining a relatively constant voltage source until nearly depleted, via a sustained internal chemical reaction. A capacitor cannot.

No matter how efficient, economical, or magical these supercapacitors turn out to be, they are not batteries, and the only way to make them so will still require a chemical reaction.

Freelancer on February 25, 2013 at 11:01 PM

But, but, but, that evil carbon is a danger to the environment, or so says the brain trust bust at EPA.

hillbillyjim on February 26, 2013 at 9:49 AM

A capacitor can never be made safe for a car. This system might work well for a fixed location but in a collision, all the energy in a capacitor could discharge very quickly.

Pythagoras on February 23, 2013 at 6:32 PM

You mean like a tank of gasoline exploding?

Axion on February 26, 2013 at 6:51 PM

As “Pythagoras” pointed out, the voltage delivered by a capacitor decreases when it’s discharged…

Steve Z on February 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM

So does a battery.

Axion on February 26, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Very Promising technology.

Gentlemen, the task that lies before us now is to find a way to prevent this from ever seeing the light of day. We have been able to shut down oil exploration and drilling here in the US and we are doing a good job of frightening the American people into outlawing fracking.

It this stinking little battery ever sees the light of day all our hard work will be for naught, the American people will have escaped and we will have failed in our effort to control, if not enslave our quarry.

The Rock on February 24, 2013 at 7:22 PM

That is precisely what the greens will think about this.

Axion on February 26, 2013 at 6:58 PM

You mean like a tank of gasoline exploding?

Axion on February 26, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Ayeah, that always seems to be lost on people whenever batteries or fuel cells are discussed.

There is no way to have a power-dense source of any kind without SOME chance of it going boom in an accident. Either get the he11 over it or go back to using horses.

MelonCollie on February 27, 2013 at 9:13 AM

You mean like a tank of gasoline exploding?

Axion on February 26, 2013 at 6:51 PM

No, not at all like. Gasoline in a tank will not explode without the tank first being ruptured, and then the vapors being exposed to an external ignition source, such as a fire which started elsewhere. In all ways, gasoline is, while very volatile, an extremely controllable substance apart from an externally-caused violent condition like a major crash.

A faulty capacitor goes boom all on its own, with no external causation of any kind. Were it not for IP constraints, I’d show you some photos of the effect of high-value capacitors which failed, exploding in a previously contained environment and destroying a half-million dollar piece of equipment, starting a fire, and putting nearly a dozen workers in grave jeopardy.

Freelancer on February 27, 2013 at 9:48 AM

There is no way to have a power-dense source of any kind without SOME chance of it going boom in an accident. Either get the he11 over it or go back to using horses.

MelonCollie on February 27, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Exactly! Power sources are dangerous by their nature. Good engineering can dramatically decrease the chances of death and destruction due to a failure, but it can never be eliminated. This is true no matter what the source, natural gas, gasoline, oil, electricity… it doesn’t matter, all energy is dangerous, but trying to live without it is even more dangerous.

Axion on February 27, 2013 at 11:57 AM

In my comic I speculated that one day we’d have something called “battery tape”. That’d be cool if graphene were the precursor to it. Hopefully the innovators will be wise to not sell this to the government or any megacorporation (though GE does have the potential to bury it).

TMOverbeck on March 4, 2013 at 1:22 PM

No word on how likely it will be to catch on fire

I know a little about batteries and something that is capable of charging at this rate, will likely be prone to discharge at an equally shocking (forgive the pun) rate. Capacitors are known for, among other things, being able to offload completely in a few milliseconds.

Pole-Cat on December 30, 2013 at 11:56 PM

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