Scientists at Stanford University may be shattering the range barrier that's holding back electric cars.
A tweak to lithium batteries that's eluded scientists for more than a decade could be the key to extending the range of an EV to 300 miles on a charge, the same as a conventional car.
Rather than experimenting with the substance of the battery, scientists designed a double-walled nanostructure that holds the material in (silicon). Testing shows that structure enables batteries to retain 85% capacity for over 6,000 discharges, far more than what's needed for mobile electronics or electric vehicles. The research is published in Nature Nanotechnology.
"This is a very exciting development toward our goal of creating smaller, lighter and longer-lasting batteries than are available today," says Yi Cui, who leads the research at the Stanford National Accelerator Lab.
While Cui focuses on simplifying production of the double-wall silicon nanotubes, the researchers have already funded a private company to commercialize the batteries, Amprius.
Last year, Amprius raised $25 million from top venture capital firms like Kleiner Perkins.
Sharp Achieves World Record in Concentrating Solar Cells
Sharp Corporation has developed a concentrating solar cell with the world's highest conversion efficiency of 43.5%.
Its previous record was 36.9%, which it reached just last November.
Since 2000, Sharp has been pursuing research using compound solar cells made from compounds that consist of two or more elements, such as indium and gallium.
Because of their high conversion efficiency, compound solar cells have been used primarily on space satellites, but Sharp will apply this latest success to terrestrial concentrating solar.
The breakthrough came from using a triple-junction compound solar cell that enables efficient stacking of the three photo-absorption layers, with InGaAs (indium gallium arsenide) as the bottom layer. Optimizing the spacing between surface electrodes minimized the cell's electrical resistance.
Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany confirmed the record 43.5% conversion efficiency.