Sunday, June 3, 2007

36. Energy storage

(batteries, computer memory (a peculiar property of silicon only discovered in the 1950s), cynanobacteria (being linked as silicon substitutes in experiments), etc.)


Mark said...

Storage, what storage?

Solar Panels May Get Five Times More Efficient

TORONTO (CP) -- Researchers at the University of Toronto have invented an infrared-sensitive material that's five times more efficient at turning the sun's power into electrical energy than current methods.

The discovery could lead to shirts and sweaters capable of recharging our cellphones and other wireless devices, said Ted Sargent, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university.

Sargent and other researchers combined specially-designed minute particles called quantum dots, three to four nanometres across, with a polymer to make a plastic that can detect energy in the infrared.

Infrared light is not visible to the naked eye but it is what most remote controls emit, in small amounts, to control devices such as TVs and DVD players.

It also contains a huge untapped resource -- despite the surge in popularity of solar cells in the 1990s, we still miss half of the sun's power, Sargent said.

"In fact, there's enough power from the sun hitting the Earth every day to supply all the world's needs for energy 10,000 times over," Sargent said in a phone interview Sunday from Boston. He is currently a visiting professor of nanotechnology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sargent said the new plastic composite is, in layman's terms, a layer of film that "catches" solar energy. He said the film can be applied to any device, much like paint is coated on a wall.

"We've done the same thing, but not with something that just sit there on the wall the way paint does," said the Ottawa native.

"We've done it to make a device which actually harnesses the power in the room in the infrared."

The film can convert up to 30 per cent of the sun's power into usable, electrical energy. Today's [as of 2005, it's much larger now in 2007] best plastic solar cells capture only about six per cent.

Sargent said the advance would not only wipe away that inefficiency, but also resolve the hassle of recharging our countless gadgets and pave the way to a true wireless world.

"We now have our cellphones and our BlackBerries and we're walking around without the need to plug in, in order to get our data," he said.

"But we seem trapped at the moment in needing to plug in to get our power. That's because we charge these things up electrically, from the outlet. But there's actually huge amounts of power all around us coming from the sun."

The film has the ability to be sprayed or woven into shirts so that our cuffs or collars could recharge our IPods, Sargent said.

While that may sound like a Star Trek dream, venture capitalists are keen to Sargent's invention.

Josh Wolfe, managing partner at Lux Capital, a New York City-based venture capital firm, said while such a luxury may be five years away, the technology knows no bounds.

"When you have a material advance which literally materially changes the way that energy is absorbed and transmitted to our devices... somebody out there tinkering away in a bedroom or in a government lab is going to come up with a great idea for a new device that will shock us all," he said in a phone interview.

"When the Internet was created nobody envisioned that the killer app (application) would be e-mail or instant messaging."

Sargent's work was published in the online edition of Nature Materials on Sunday and will appear in its February issue.

2005 Bell Globemedia Inc.

Mark said...

battery section

Inventor of the Week Archive

Browse for a different Invention or Inventor


Amorphous semiconductor materials

In the 1950s, Stanford Ovshinsky created an entirely new realm of materials science, which in turn has given new life to the engineering of semiconductors, solar energy, and electric cars.

Stan Ovshinsky was born in Akron, Ohio in 1922. After graduating from high school, he went straight to work. In 1955, he began working the field of amorphous materials, that is, materials that lack a definite crystalline structure. Ovshinsky was the first engineer to devise a method, called "phase change," for crystalizing these disordered materials, with resulting novel uses: for example, films that gain metallic properties without losing their original optical capabilities. One result was amorphous semiconductors --- which the engineering community had previously considered an utter impossibility.

In 1960, Ovshinsky founded Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD), in order to continue and expand his work in amorphous semiconductors. Meanwhile, engineers nationwide had eagerly entered an entirely new field: "ovonics" (from Ovshinsky Electronics).

Ovshinsky earned numerous patents in the 1970s and '80s for amorphous semiconductor materials. These materials became essential to optoelectronic copying and fax machines, as well as large, flat-panel liquid crystal displays like those of computer monitors. As early as 1970, Ovshinsky had used his ovonic phase change principle to invent a reversible optical memory disk: that is, a prototype rewritable CD-ROM. Today, thirteen high tech companies around the world are developing rewritable CDs using Ovshinsky's technology.

Ovshinsky went on to use his thin-film amorphous silicon to invent a manufacturing method that might do for solar energy what the assembly line did for automobiles. In 1983, he patented a system that allowed photovoltaic solar panels to be manufactured in continuous rolls 1000 feet in length. Ovshinsky's "Continuous Amorphous Solar Cell Production System" operates much like a newspaper rollpress, speedily imprinting a plasma of amorphous silicon semiconductors in a continuous web onto a thin, anodized metal sheet.

The high energy-conversion efficiency of the thin-film cells and the high throughput of the process make Ovshinsky's photovoltaic cells a revolutionary leap forward for solar energy. They have been installed at various sites around and above the globe, from Mexican mountain villages to the Mir space station. Ovshinsky's "Uni-Solar" roofing tiles, for residential buildings, have won Popular Science's "Best of What's New" Grand Award (1996) and Discover Magazine's Discover Award in the Environment category (1997).

More recently, Ovshinsky has taken a strong step closer to a feasible electric car. After years of development, he earned a patent in 1994 for a high energy-storage, environment-friendly, maintenance-free, rechargeable battery. Although he is far from alone in the search for the perfect electric car battery, Ovshinsky's nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) model, when compared with its nickel-cadmium and lead-acid competitors, is twice as powerful, with none of their fatigue and discharge problems. In fact, Ovshinsky's battery shattered the Department of Energy's performance targets. Recently, ECD formed a joint venture with GM, whose EV1 features Ovshinsky's NiMH battery, to mass produce the battery for electric cars worldwide. A more modest version of the NiMH battery has been licensed by many of the world's major battery companies for retail consumption.

In total, Stan Ovshinsky has earned about 200 US patents, at a pace which has not flagged since the early 1970s: eight granted in 1999, and three more by February 1 of this year. He has also won many local, national and international awards for his work, which extends far beyond the products described above; and he will doubtless win further fame, as the once impossible products he has invented come into broader use.

[March 2000]

Mark said...

"free zero point energy battery"-- from crystal combination

John Hutchison, The Wild Scientist From Vancouver

Photo: Dr. John Hutchison in his living room surrounded by a collection of ship instruments. As he has removed furniture and other household items to give room for the multitude of equipment, the feeling is like being inside a submarine.

We spotted John walking on the street in New Westminster, Vancouver. The tall man with absent daydreaming look in the eyes below his characteristic leather helmet was easy to recognize even if never seen him before.

This self educated physicist has practically become one of the living symbols of new energy experimenting. Not without side effects. John has taken some precautions to guard his privacy, with some humorous wink in his intelligent eyes. Right under the CIA decorated door eye was a sign stating:

"- Attention - No Government Agents, Federal, Provincial or Municipal Agents of Canada are allowed on these Premises. Those in Violation are subject to prosecution. - - - Exempt news media, USA, Liechtenstein or other countries."

We Followed John In

0908back.JPG (11561 bytes)
There was just enough room in the hall for the door to open. When walking sideways we could fit through the narrow space to step over a box between shelves and come into John's apartment.

John has appeared on stage of international TV shows quite a lot of times. He likes to tell about his famous friends like movie stars, millionaires, scientists and government employees. Photos of many of them were fixed beside kitchen door, or what had once been one. Kitchen was loaded with equipment.

"My friends now and then send me few tens of thousands of dollars just to see what comes out with my experiments. Once I even got an Independence Day greeting from the White House. I thought it was a joke until I got one the next year again. In the U.S. free energy is quite a popular topic and big business" , John tells.

"I am supported by my friends who are American and German millionaires. I have sold some of my free energy batteries to Japan. I also know high ranking U.S. officials like John Alexander. I have been demonstrating my effects for the U.S. government several times."

Photo: John shows light to tell about his famous friends with whom he has been photographed.

Free Energy Battery

The version that John showed was made of rhodium plated polarized quartz discs bound together with a long bolt. There are also some different types of discs between. The array has been taped to a rigid spine holding it straight. "It gives 18 volts and a quarter amp. Tom Bearden instructed me how to do the metal plating on quartz discs."

Photo: John shows the quartz type battery and some drawings of it, taps the battery for a moment and the red LED starts glowing.

John connects battery leads to a LED. Then he starts tapping, bending and hitting the battery in a way only he masters as the builder of the experimental power source. After a while the battery comes into life and lights the red LED. The LED is connected to the battery without series resistor so the idle voltage stated as 18 volts apparently drops down to the red LED operating voltage of some two volts with load connected. "I sold a 55 000 volt type made to Japan. It was very well made. The owner is now showing it to audience".

Another type of John's batteries is the Electric Crystal which has been baked from natural minerals. "I like this one - it is so easy to make and the materials are dirt cheap. I have made honeycombs with 1 cc of material in each cell to give more voltage and current. Good ones that I sold for 35 000 USD gave 3 volts and one amp. I have made prototype for a 55 000 volt battery but it blew up. I have it on video."

Well, what he then intends to do with them? "Now I would rather get these batteries out of my hands to concentrate on further experiments with the Hutchison Effect", he states.

Mark said...

Power Up With The Human Body
By Ho Ka Wei
Straits-Times Interactive - Singapore

Out go the batteries and in comes a pair of walking shoes that can power up your MP3 player, mobile phone or digital camera as you go window-shopping in Orchard Road.

This is the dream of National University of Singapore (NUS) and Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) scientists, who are studying how the body can be used to generate electricity.
One way is to fix some piezo-electric material, in this case ceramic, on the soles of a pair of shoes, said the team's leader, NUS Assistant Professor Adrian Cheok, at a conference on mobile technology yesterday. When the wearer of the shoes walks, the soles press down on the material to produce electricity, he explained.

Enough current can be produced to run portable gadgets such as radio players and watches.

The research has been going on for two years and is nearly complete. Making commercial products out of their work is the likely next step.

The DSTA-funded project will find use in military applications first.

DSTA project manager Choo Hui Wei told The Straits Times yesterday: 'This project was an exploratory research study which aimed to look into the feasibility of tapping the human body as a conducting medium for transmitting data.

'The results from the research have shown potential and we're currently assessing how we can adapt the technology and apply it in the military environment.'

Electricity produced in this manner can even be used for transferring data from one person to another via the skin, said Prof Cheok.
For instance, a handshake can mean an automatic exchange of business cards electronically between the handheld computers of both persons.

The human body thus becomes another device, together with mobile phones and digital entertainment gadgets like MP3 players, in what is called a personal area network (PAN).

The team at NUS works from a laboratory called Mixed Reality. More information about the lab can be found at

Since 1996, researchers at IBM, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States and other places have been been working on the technology.

The interest now is in harnessing human power to drive the PAN devices.

Yesterday's Mobility Conference, held at the Orchard Hotel, was the first organised by Computer Human Interaction, the Singapore Chapter of the Association of Computer Machinery Special Interest Group.

Other speakers at the three-day conference, which ends tomorrow, shared their research on mobile devices and networks.
Today, Professor Luca Chittaro from the University of Udine in Italy will present a paper on how to make information on mobile devices easier to view.

This is a challenge because while mobile devices like phones and personal digital assistants are getting smaller, a greater volume of information is available on them for viewing, he told The Straits Times.

Another researcher, Professor Zary Segall from the University of Maryland in the US, spoke yesterday about building devices that learn how to work better with humans, to make computing simple.

He said: 'We're trying to see how to make computers more human-literate, rather than making humans computer-literate.'

2004 Singapore Press Holdings.,4386,264915,00.html

Mark said...

What batteries?

New Power Source -Wall Vibrations
By Lori Valigra
The Christian Science Monitor

Imagine using a computer that runs on energy generated from your building's wall and window vibrations.

Masayuki Miyazaki, a senior researcher at Hitachi Co. Ltd.'s central lab in Tokyo, is trying to do just that.

He recently made a tiny generator that converts building movements into electricity, creating enough energy to run a temperature or light sensor once an hour.

Though the output is small right now, only about 10 microwatts, scientists predict the generator's potential could be huge in coming decades - possibly used in battery-free computing systems.

Dr. Miyazaki's work is part of a growing movement by scientists to find, create, or capture alternative sources of energy - even in small amounts much less than one watt. Researchers hope to harvest power from anything from the vibrations of walls and windows to the movements of air and the human body.

While alternative energy sources alone might not produce much electricity, they could help power small devices such as computer chips, wireless sensor networks, or cellphones. The idea is simple. Just as some wristwatches power themselves from the random movements of a person's arm, these devices would capture energy from random movements of other things.
In another approach, Larry Kostiuk at the University of Alberta in Canada, is working on a water-powered battery. Its special trait: creating electricity directly from water on the tiniest scales.

Most people are familiar with hydroelectricity, which uses water falling from a height to drive turbines and generate electricity. Professor Kostiuk's method differs in that water is put under pressure as it moves through microscopic channels within a glass or ceramic-filter tube, allowing electricity to be converted directly from water. The experimental tube, about 2 centimeters in diameter, has about half a million tiny channels or holes through which the water is inserted by a hand-operated syringe.

As water travels over the surface of the channels, it becomes electrically charged when its ions rub up against the solid surface. Scientists placed electrodes at the ends of each channel and then extracted electrical energy as current flows between the electrodes. Right now currents are very low, around 4 microwatts, but millions of channels could be added together to increase the power output enough to create a water-powered battery.

Drawing on energy around us

Miyazaki's approach generates electricity from the ambient energy all around us. A building's walls and windows vibrate constantly because of wind, air conditioners, or passing trucks. Since the power is still very small, Miyazaki says he aims to use the power source as an "on-chip battery" for circuits such as those used in computers and other electronic products.
"The application is a field called 'ubiquitous computing.' For example, wireless sensor networks of small chips can be distributed everywhere," he says.

Miyazaki says commercial applications will emerge in several years, although the approach requires more research to make it economically feasible.
Eventually, he plans to put a sensor, wireless transceiver, processor, and power source into one small package that can be used in wireless sensor networks. Such networks are expected to become part of our everyday environment and will be placed in buildings, on roads, and on bridges.

Miyazaki isn't the only one tapping vibrations to create electricity.

Shad Roundy, professor of engineering at the Australian National University in Canberra, is pursuing techniques to capture energy from low-level vibrations caused by factors such as building movement. One of his methods is similar to Hitachi's, but he now is leaning toward using a piezoelectric approach, electricity caused by mechanical pressure or strain, which he says can work better.

A two-layer diving board

Professor Roundy's piezoelectric generator is similar to a two-layer diving board with a boulder on the end of it. When the device is shaken, the beam resembling the double diving board bends, creating tension in the top layer and compression in the bottom. The opposite happens if the beam is bent the other way, so power can be drawn in either direction. Roundy says he designed several devices that can be placed on vibrating structures to generate power. The best output so far is about 300 microwatts per cubic centimeter.

Power from the factory floor
This method is "attractive in providing power for very low-power wireless sensors and transmitters, but are not useful for large-scale electrical power generation," he says. Roundy says commercial applications could emerge within a year and may include harnessing energy from a manufacturing floor.

Kostiuk remains cautiously optimistic about the future for such new approaches. "I don't know if it will ever work at an efficiency that makes it relevant for widespread use," he says of his water battery. "But it can take multiple decades for something to see commercial applications."

2003 The Christian Science Monitor

Mark said...

energy storage new battery, which is also biodegradable, might eventually replace lithium ion

Study: Batteries may work on sugar sources

CHICAGO, March 26 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists have developed a fuel cell battery that runs on nearly any sugar source -- from soft drinks to tree sap -- and operates more efficiently.

The St. Louis University researchers said such batteries have the potential to operate three to four times longer on a single charge than do conventional lithium ion batteries.

The new battery, which is also biodegradable, might eventually replace lithium ion batteries in many portable electronic applications, including computers, the scientists said.

"This study shows that renewable fuels can be directly employed in batteries at room temperature to lead to more energy-efficient battery technology than metal-based approaches," said study leader Shelley Minteer, an electrochemist at St. Louis University. "It demonstrates that by bridging biology and chemistry, we can build a better battery that's also cleaner for the environment."

The study was presented Sunday in Chicago, during the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

2007 United Press International.

Mark said...

more on the 'storage, what storage?' issue

tankless water heaters

It's A Tankless Job

Inside the unit, computer-controlled technology and a redesigned flow switch put NASA technology to work to improve performance. Image credit: SETS Systems.

Washington DC (SPX) Nov 15, 2005
It's hiding in your home, probably in a closet or dark corner of the basement. You depend on it daily, but don't give it much thought until you become too demanding and it lets you down. It's your water heater, and thanks to some space-age technology, someday soon it just might be obsolete.

In most homes, having hot water when you need it means keeping a big heating tank at the ready -- day and night, 365 days a year. That means wasted energy.

And at times of peak use – while doing multiple loads of laundry, running the dishwasher and supplying several showers -- the tank just can't meet all the demands at the same time.

One solution is the tankless water heater -- a phonebook-sized device that provides hot water on demand by heating the water as it is used.

The idea isn't new, but design flaws in the past kept the devices from being efficient enough to accommodate the needs of an entire house. That's before Space Age know-how was applied to this problem on Earth through a partnership between NASA and private industry.

SETS Systems, of Miami, uses computer-chip technology to manufacture electronic, tankless water heaters built to serve an entire home, even during simultaneous uses. And even better, the heaters are designed to save up to half of the energy cost of heating the hot water in a traditional tank.

Several years ago, the company faced a problem with the tank's flow switch that was tough to solve. Several expensive studies by testing and engineering firms produced only graphs and printouts, but no solutions. Then company founder Carlos Cabrera turned to an innovative technology outreach program offered through NASA's Kennedy Space Center and the state of Florida.

To apply scientific and engineering expertise originally developed for space applications to the problem, the program matched his company with a veteran space engineer at Kennedy. Casting an expert eye on the trouble, the engineer identified the problem within the tank's flow switch in just 30 minutes.

The fix he came up with was simple but priceless. Not only did the new design pass the rigors of testing by working flawlessly, but it was cheaper to make and could be retrofitted into the older-model heaters, as well.

Just how dependable did the unit prove to be? In a mobile shower trailer used by rescue workers at New York's "ground zero" after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, each unit supported 100 to 200 showers per day for a period of three months. Currently hurricane relief workers in Gulfport, Miss. are using these showers.

So when the company wanted to upgrade its computer-controlled technology, Cabrera's team knew just where to turn. In 2003, SETS Systems once again drew on the expertise at Kennedy Space Center. Through the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program, the company received recommendations for improving its microprocessor, programming techniques and design. These innovations allowed SETS Systems to produce an improved product for the same manufacturing costs.

So while it doesn't take a rocket scientist to produce hot water, it doesn't hurt to have one on your team when you want to improve the process.

Additionally featured in this video "It runs on Water" is featured another tankless version of a water heater, that simply runs on zero point energy vibrations creating heat. One is installed in the local firehouse.

Equinox - It Runs on Water (Free Energy - 1995)
50 min - Apr 17, 2006

Mark said...

another biodegradable, environmental friendly battery, without toxic metals (like the one above based on sugar)

Non-metal non-toxic carbon-based batteries powered by water (1:35)

[cheap and environmental friendly power storage, can be recycled "several times,' and much longer shelf life]

"A Japanese inventor unveils what he calls the "next generation of eco-friendly energy sources" - [carbon] batteries powered by [i.e., activated by] water. [can store them dry and they will last longer, unlike acid/metal/toxic based batteries]

Susumu Suzuki, the president of Tokyo-based building material maker TSC (Total System Conductor), has invented water-powered batteries, which have an electric current as powerful as that of a standard manganese dioxide battery.

Suzuki says these batteries would be cheap to produce and can be recycled several times, making them an essential tool for the future.

FEATURED SPEAKER: Susumu Suzuki, President of TSC and inventor of the water-powered battery (Japanese)

Joanna Partridge, Reuters

Mark said...

[more "energy storage, what storage?"]

MAGNETIC MIRACLE: Inventor's design consumes no fuel, emits no fumes

By Bud Kenny
Free Press, Little Rock, AR
April 14-27, 1994

Devices that have truly improved the human condition - such as electricity, the telephone and the airplane - were created by people who passionately believe their inventions would make the world a better place to live. Troy Reed of Tulsa, Oklahoma is such a person.

Reed has invented and patented a motor that consumes no fuel and emits no fumes. It is powerful enough to turn a 7,000-watt generator, which is enough electricity to run an average home. Production of the Reed Magnetic Motor for use by the general public may begin by year's end.

Reed, 57, has also invented an automobile called "Surge" that employs his new technology. Unlike a battery-powered car, Reed's Surge does not have to be plugged in to be recharged. The car recharges itself as it rolls down the highway at speeds of up to 85 miles an hour. Reed and actor Dennis Weaver, a cousin and inventor in the project, plan to make the first highway test-run of the car this summer.

Reed said he has been contacted about coverage of the test run by, among others, 20/20, 60 Minutes, Larry King Live, Primetime Live and CNN. A representative of CNN, Reed said, has already seen the car and might broadcast daily updates during the journey.

The idea for this technology came to Reed in a number of dreams and visions over the past 35 years. He said he got the first in 1959 while employed as a machinist making 70 cents an hour. Thirty years later, in 1989, he put those dreams to the test, turning a hand crank that put the first Reed Magnetic Motor in motion. That prototype was seven feet tall, weighed more than 500 pounds, had four moving parts and powered a 500-watt generator. His latest motor takes two car batteries to start (they are re-charged by the generator), is 20 inches high, weighs less than 200 pounds, has one moving part and runs a 7000-watt generator.

If Reed's motor works as well as he says it does, it would be a rather amazing technological breakthrough. After all, it would mean a person could live anywhere one wanted with all the comforts and never have to pay an electric bill. One would also be able to drive to work, or anywhere else, without consuming fuel. And best of all, one could do these things without polluting the environment.

Although most people have never heard of the Reed Magnetic Motor, it is well known in the science world. Since 1989 Reed and his motor have been featured at numerous international scientific conferences - the most recent on in Denver in March. Reed also has been written up in scientific journals and is included in the latest edition of Monuments of Mars, a book of inventors written by former NASA science writer Richard Hoagland.

If Reed has his way, his motor soon will no longer be a scientific curiosity. Currently he is in the final stages of granting a license to produce the motor to an American company and a company in India. Reed would not give the names of the companies because he said he is still "negotiating."

"I've been approached by lots of companies from all over the world," Reed said. "I wanted the company that builds this motor to be doing it for the same reason I developed it - to help mother earth."

Reed did say that the companies granted licenses would start producing the motors for the consumer almost immediately. "The technology is already there, it is just a matter of putting all together the right way to make it work," Reed said.

The 1989 prototype uses a horizontal shaft with several magnets on it. Above the shaft are four vertical spring-loaded pistons with a magnet on the end closest to the shaft. Turning the hand crank spins the horizontal shaft and the magnetic spring-loaded pistons move up and down to trigger the motion of the shaft and the magnetic force field. Once the shaft is put into motion, it continues to spin until a brake is applied.

Instead of moveable pistons, the latest model of the motor uses and electronic system and stationary magnets to start and control the motion of the shaft. Consequently, the only moving part in the motor is the horizontal shaft. In the current model, the shaft turns in bearings, but Reed said the mass-produced model will not have the bearings. Instead, the shaft will be magnetically suspended inside the motor casing. Suspending the shaft means there will be nothing to wear out, or make noise, Reed said.

Reed is aware inventions such as his often end up being shelved away from the consumer by a large oil company. So Reed said he has proceeded with caution. "Just like the companies that are going to produce these motors, I made sure that my investors were motivated for the right reasons," Reed said. "If they are only in it for the money, then I turned them away. On the other hand, if they share my desire to see this technology in the marketplace to help save the environment, then we made a deal."

Reed said he also has been careful in how he financed the development of his motor. He said he talked with other would-be world-saving inventors who were put out of business by the government for violating interstate security exchange laws. "They needed capital to develop their ideas, so they sold their investors stock," Reed said. "It always takes longer to develop something like this than you think it will. So when it came time to make good on that stock, they couldn't do it."

When Reed needed capital, instead of issuing stock he gave his investors promissory notes that were contingent on his invention eventually making it to market. Once the motors are available to the public, Reed said he will offer his investors the option of "holding the promissory notes or exchanging them for stock."

However, the federal government is aware of what is going on at Reed Technologies. In fact, Reed said NASA has volunteered to test the motor.

Reed estimated it will cost about $3,500 per motor to mass produce his invention.

Bud Kenny of Hot Springs is scheduled to begin a 15-year world-walking tour on June 5 (see related story page 23). Kenny will live in a small house on wheels, which will be pulled by two mules. Electricity for the house will be provided by alternative electrical generating systems such as solar panels and a pedal generator that will store power from the rotation of Dylan's wheels. Kenny's first stop on his world tour will be around the first of August in Tulsa, where Reed will help Kenny develop the electrical system for the home.

and a short video on it


Mark said...

[out of the frying pan and into the radioactive fire? An idea of a solution that sounds more like 'one step forward two steps back' to me.]

Imagine Your Laptop Running for 30 Years -- On a Single Charge

According to Next Energy News, work funded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory may produce batteries capable of fueling an electrical device, like a laptop, for about 30 years.

The breakthrough betavoltaic power cells are an alternative energy technology, similar to that of a solar panel, which converts photons (light) into electric current.

The betavoltaic batteries are constructed from semiconductors that use radioisotopes as the energy source. As the radioactive material decays, it emits beta particles that transform into usable electric power.

Although they sound like nuclear powerhouses, supposedly, they will not produce any radioactive or hazardous waste [er, because they already are radioactive hazardout waste!], as they use neither fission/fusion nor chemical processes in their energy production.

In fact, BetaVoltaic, Inc., which I found after a quick internet search, hails this process as the next big thing in clean, environmentally-safe, fusion technology -- capable of enormous energy capacity in very small packages -- stating it was originally designed to meet the high-voltage, high-current requirements of electric spacecrafts…

Now, during my internet search, I also found plenty of naysayer’s, countering with proof of how impossible this technology is, but it is definitely food for thought.

You never know… I kind of like the idea that it might provide the means for both inter-planetary space travel – which was a boyhood dream of mine – as well as unlimited cyber-space travel.

Next Energy News October 1, 2007

There's obviously better ways than to consider something like this.

Mark said...

From a correspondent of mine, Eric:

"EEStor has developed a storage system for portable electricity that is so secretive they can't post to their own website. By the time I got back to, the site was gone. I did, however, copy and paste what I found to by blogs. One of these is a link to a company that actually sells these power cells in a hand held drill with a vid that is posted to my blog and a website to direct order the "Coleman"
but..the story got very complicated. I ordered the item using Paypal and got an email saying they will ship today. I thought I was dealing with Coleman the camping company but when I enquired,, is
their response..............

Dear Eric,

This was manufactured by Team Products. The Coleman Company entered into a licensing agreement with Team Products to manufacture and produce products to be sold under the Coleman brand. These items included the Coleman Foam Flooring, 9-can Turbo Car Cooler, the Cold Heat Soldering Iron, Hands-free Utility Light and Portable Bug Zapper and the Coleman Powermate Cordless Tool Kits, Power Inverters, 16 qt.
12-volt Thermoelectric Coolers, 12-volt Ceramic Heaters, Jumpstarts,
Portable Compressors, Buffers, Cordless Drills, Vacuums and
Rechargeable Spotlights.

Team Products was responsible for the product, repairs, and customer
service on these products.

Unfortunately, Team Products has filed bankruptcy and gone out of business and replacement units and parts are not available.

The warranty service and replacement parts for these products were the responsibility of and handled by Team Products. Coleman has never carried or distributed these products and we have no parts or replacement units available. Coleman also does not have any information on these items. We have no copies of the instruction manuals nor do we have specifications for replacement charging adaptors. If you are needing a replacement charging unit or bulb, you might try a local electronics shop or Radio Shack for a comparable

Replacement tips for the Cold Heat Soldering Irons can be purchased
through as that company supplied the Irons to Team
Products. To our knowledge, Coldheat does not cover the warranty for the Coleman Coldheat Soldering Iron.

Thank you,

Coleman Consumer Service

Original Message Follows: ------------------------

The buzz on the internet is a new product by Coleman

Coleman Flash Cell Ultracapacitor Screwdriver

which I would like to purchase. When will it be on your website? eric [xxxxxx]

Anyway, Mark...EEStor is a big story and the video that demonstrates
the Coleman Flash Cell Ultracapacitor Screwdriver is

The link to ordering is at the bottom of the page. I hope this
doesn't turn out to be a scam but it is a rocky road nonetheless.

Visit Zenn cars in Canada to see more including the ultracapacitor
update for cars..

Mark said...

[biomimicry applied to energy storage]

Synthetic Molecules Capture Solar Energy
Green Building Press
September 5, 2006

A leaf is a highly efficient solar cell and researchers in Sydney have created molecules that mimic those in plants.

Like the cells in plants, they harvest light and create power.

According to the research team, led by Dr Deanna D'Alessandro, the best leaves can harvest 30 to 40 per cent of the light falling on them.

The latest state of the art solar cells are only 15 to 20 per cent efficient, and expensive to make.

But the researchers say they have recreated some of the key systems that plants use in photosynthesis.

Bacteria and green plants use photosynthesis to convert light energy into usable chemical energy. Wheel-shaped arrays of molecules called porphyrins, collect light and transfer it to the hub where chemical reactions use the light energy to convert carbon dioxide into energy-rich sugar and oxygen.

This process, which occurs in about 40 trillionths of a second, is fundamental to photosynthesis and is at the base of the food chain for almost all life on Earth.

More than 100 of the newly constructed synthetic porphyrins can be assembled around a tree-like core called a dendrimer to mimic the wheel-shaped arrangement in natural photosynthetic systems.

The molecules designed by the team are about one trillionth the size of a soccer ball.

But the large number of porphyrins in a single molecule means that a significant amount of light can be captured and converted to electrical energy – just like in nature. Since they are so efficient at storing energy, D'Alessandro believes they could also be used as batteries – replacing the metal-based batteries that high technology devices depend on.

The team say their preliminary results are very promising, although they are still in the early stages of building practical solar energy devices using the molecules.

Now they’ve made the molecules, the team along with their Japanese collaborators at Osaka University are working to combine them in the equivalent of a plant cell.

Over the next five years they will attempt to scale the technology up to commercial scale solar panels. "


Mark said...

Superfluous given the other examples, though interesting:

I'm sure we'll hear more of this in the future but recently some scientists have figured out how to store hydrogen in pill form. So that changes the game quite a bit.

Hydrogen tablets offer storage solution - 29th September 2005
Pt 2005/2005 Cover thumb shadow.jpg

Read more about the platinum group metals markets in Johnson Matthey's bi-annual reviews click here.

Danish scientists have come up with a novel way to store hydrogen fuel: in tablet form.

Researchers from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) claim to have found an effective way of storing the gas hydrogen that would enable it to be used as fuel in vehicles.

At present, hydrogen is a green alternative to petrol, but has proved difficult to use because it takes up a lot of space and is flammable.

Now scientists have shown that it can be stored in tablet form; a move that could have large consequences for the future of transport.

"Before, the amount of hydrogen needed to fuel a passenger vehicle for 500km occupied the same space as nine passenger vehicles. With our pill, the same amount of energy can be contained in a normal 50 litre tank," said Claus Hviid Christensen, professor of chemistry at DTU.

The tablet is small, cheap, safe to use and can be manufactured without the use of fossil fuels. It is made of ammonia, a mix of hydrogen and nitrogen, which has been absorbed in sea salt and after use the tablet can be recharged with ammonia.

The company Amminex, founded by DTU and SeeD Capital Denmark, will develop the product and industry backing is being sought before the invention can be taken to the next level.


Mark said...

Another closed resonating emf resonating cavity form of propulsion.

I've posted some interesting exceptions to

classical graviation theory (DePalma)

classical inertial assumptions (DePalma)

classical electron models ('hydrino')

Here's another classical caveat:

From another link:

If this is real, and it seems more possible than any other such thing I've ever seen, this could be amazing, if some people have been keeping this sort of thing secret the cat is about to get out of the bag. This was covered in the last Fortean Times btw.

Quote:A force for space with no reaction

Tom Shelley reports on an extraordinary concept which, if it turns out to be as good as it promises, could have a profound impact on engineering

A reactionless force motor, designed for space use, has the potential to drive objects on until they reach speeds close to that of light. Upon first inspection it looks as if it cannot possibly work, however one of the UK's leading engineers has developed a prototype which has been endorsed by academics and government alike.

Defying conventional wisdom, it is low cost, is said to obey the laws of physics (as they are currently understood) and, in the longer term, could revolutionise transport and actuation.

The Emdrive is the brainchild of Roger Shawyer who, in the past, has had charge of some of Britains most advanced aerospace projects.

The germ of the present idea, he says, started when he worked at Sperry Gyroscope and was asked to look for a reactionless system for missile guidance.

Many of you may, at this point, throw up your hands and say that a reactionless system is not possible while citing Newton's Third Law. [actually citing 'the second Newtown', DePalma, it is correct.]

However while photons obey Newton's Laws in some respects, the idea of the solar sail being a typical example, in other respects, light and objects travelling at or near light speed do not obey them.

(Some people say that gyroscopes disobey the Third law - perhaps readers would like to comment).

In essence, the Emdrive is a resonating bottle full of microwaves.

Because microwaves are a low frequency form of light, their behaviour is governed by Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity.

And while microwaves and other forms of electromagnetic radiation may be thought of as very fast moving particles, they also have to be thought of as waves. At the same time that the constituent particles are moving at light speed, or their phase velocity, energy is transferred by the wave aspect travelling at group velocity.

Group velocity is the result of waves of different wavelengths interacting with each other.

According to Einstein, the phase velocity of electromagnetic waves is the speed of light in the appropriate medium whatever happens and in whatever moving frame of reference the observer happens to be; group velocity, however, varies.

Group velocity can be any speed from stationary to light speed (with a few physicists suggesting the additional possibility of faster than light). This varies the level of momentum imparted when striking an impenetrable barrier, and thus the force exerted on it.

Hence, it is possible to have a bottle full of electromagnetic waves exerting more force on one end than the other, whereas this is not possible for anything else that an engineer would normally be expected to encounter.

In the case of the prototype unit, the closed resonating cavity is wider at one end than the other.

Mathematical analysis shows that group velocity is higher at the wide end than the narrow end and, as a consequence, there is a net force exerted on the wider end.

Furthermore, the net force exerted is proportional to Q (Q being the effectiveness that the cavity shows as a resonator). Most academics have blanched at the very idea of getting involved in such a controversial idea. One, however, Dr Richard Paris, a reader in mathematics at the University of Abertay in Dundee, has endorsed the calculations. While the theoretical analyses may still be wrong, there is no denying that the prototype device appears to behave as predicted.

A curiosity of the constructed prototype is that when switched on, it takes some seconds to build up to full thrust.

At first Shawyer suspected that the apparent thrust might be due to some buoyancy effect arising from heat generated within the EMC enclosure. Careful modelling and analysis, however, shows that the effect arises purely from the time constants of the pulsed output of the microwave source and the way these interact with the time constant of the balance system used to measure the forces developed.

The device uses a resonator made of copper, filled with microwaves from a commercial magnetron running at 2.5GHz, delivering 850W at an efficiency of around 70%.

Enclosed in an EMC enclosure for safety reasons, the total weight of the box of apparatus is 15kg.

When the box is placed upon a balance one way up and is switched on, it exerts a downward force of 15kgf + 2gf and, when placed the other way up, it exerts a force of 15kgf - 2gf (the force motor and microwave generator weigh only 9.4kg, the remaining weight is that of the EMC enclosure). A force of 2gf, or about 0.02N, may not sound much, but on a spacecraft, it is dramatic, because it can be constantly applied for hours, days, weeks, months or years.

A three tonne satellite typically carries 1.7 tonnes of propellant.

If it did not need to do this, its weight would be halved, and so would the launching cost of each satellite, currently a minimum of £80 million (Russian launcher).

It would also greatly increase the working life of satellites, since this is presently ended when they run short of propellant, and are no longer able to keep themselves in their correct orbit.

The end result would be the increased economic viability of satellite communication and navigation systems, especially those that presently have marginal economics, tipping the balance between fibre optic ground-based systems and space-based systems.

Wrist-mounted communication systems and PDAs which would never lose signal, unless underground, would be the most immediate result noted by the 'man in the street'. Even on the basis of present satellite launch programmes, projected cost savings of £15.5 billion over the next 10 years earned the idea a DTI SMART Award in August 2001, and they are encouraging the raising of serious money for the next stage in development.

Assuming that the measured effects are as real as they appear to be, and that the theoretical analyses are correct, it is possible to speculate where the technology might go after this. In space, it would reduce the journey time to Mars from nine months to three, rendering feasible the proposed NASA/ESA manned mission to Mars program, presently a pipe dream because of cost.

On the ground, it may be possible to make the engine much more powerful, even powerful enough to provide lift against the force of gravity.

We have been asked not to say how this might be done, but we can reveal that it involves a drastic improvement in the 'Q' factor, which can be made possible using present day technology, but one which would require a fair amount of expenditure to develop. Shawyer insists that such an engine would not be an anti gravity machine, which it may or may not be possible to construct [it is, read about DePalma; and additionally, read the Nick Cook book about zero point and electrogravitics technology], but would certainly behave like one.

One of the curiosities of the idea is that as the size goes down, the working frequency goes up. Hence, it may one day be possible to make very small force motors working on the same principle, but powered by light.

These would be more compatible with very small scale robotics than trying to build very small mechanical actuators.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 10:14 am Post subject: Re: well, this could be huge... Reply with quote

Is it for real? Electromagnetic energy and how it works is not really well-understood.

Anything to stop depending on oil, at this point, is interesting. --MaryK

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:09 pm Post subject: Re: well, this could be huge... Reply with quote

well, this could help with getting us off fossil fuels [like coal and abiotic fuels like oil] to some extent, but it needs electricity to work. It sure would make space travel faster and simpler tho.

It's so easy to write this off as yet another false hope, but apparently the British government which has funded most of the research and the prototype's construction think it's real.

"The team claims to have undergone seven independent reviews from experts at BAE Systems, EADS Astrium, Siemens and the IEE. The DTI has awarded the company £125,000 to develop a prototype engine as part of a three-year, £250,000 programme."

this bit: " may be possible to make the engine much more powerful, even powerful enough to provide lift against the force of gravity. We have been asked not to say how this might be done, but we can reveal that it involves a drastic improvement in the 'Q' factor, which can be made possible using present day technology..."

Basically they're saying they've invented a UFO engine.

Just keep electricity running to it, and you've got thrust. It's very scale-able too, so it can go from tiny little thrusters providing hundredths of a G accelerations to larger ones able to generate in excess of 1 G acceleration.

This will mean very fast trip times to the moon for instance. This could be as or more significant an advance as going from the steam engine to the internal combustion engine.

Some people suspect we already have such technology and are keeping it secret. In fact that we have an off-planet navy already. There was a British hacker arrested recently who broke into lots of US military computers, doesn't remember much and didn't take notes, claims he was 'too stoned' (or he's being told to forget most of the details if he wants to live). He was specifically looking for UFO related info. One thing he found was a list of what were referred to as "non-terrestrial" officer transfers involving ship names not known to be in the wet-navy. So who knows...

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 1:31 am Post subject: Re: Utopia or Oblivion! Reply with quote

yep. we are playing some high stakes poker here on earth these days, best game in the galaxy at the moment, maybe that's why so many visitors stop in for a look 'round, all kinds of visitors: from outside, inside and unside.

ah well, even if it's oblivion, we'll always get to play again (I think).

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 12:07 am Post subject: I'll make you a bet, drew: Reply with quote

if this propulsion device works the Biefield-Brown effect is also legitimate, and functions off of a similar principle -- exploiting differences in phase velocity between two areas of a local em field.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:49 pm Post subject: Biefeld-Brown effect Reply with quote

There may be a similar thing going on in the B-B effect. perhaps the ionic wind between the two electrodes can function as a weak (or low-Q) wave guide for some electromagnetic radiation emitted by the 'big electrode'. I don't think anyone's looked into that, plus it would seem to produce a much weaker thrust than the ionic wind effect.

I'm fairly convinced that B-B effect doesn't work in a vacuum and the "lifter" thrust only comes from the ionic 'wind'
There seems to be some holding onto the idea that there may be more going on in the B-B effect than (just) the ionic wind, but I'm not aware of anyone showing that it DOES work in a vacuum.

hmmm... is near vacuum a good insulator?

cheers :D

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:25 pm Post subject: yeah, I think Brown claimed his stuff worked in a vacuum Reply with quote

but I also have never seen any credible experiments demonstrating the point; the 'lifters' are only vaguely related, and not really operating on the same 'principle' as the B-B stuff -- asymmetric capacitor plates -- but the lifters clearly only work in a vacuum. That JN Audin fellow claims to have made a lifter work in a near vacuum, but I was extremely unimpressed with the experimental setup and his overall rigorousness.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 1:36 am Post subject: Re: yeah, I think Brown claimed his stuff worked in a vacuum Reply with quote

"but the lifters clearly only work in a vacuum"
I've seen video of lifters working in people's backyards, for sure they work in air. We may be talking about two different things tho... here's the site...

Oddly enough, JL Naudin died in 2001, sortly after his lifter videos gained wide-spread attention on the net. Anyway, it says he's dead. Kinda like Eugene Mallove who was murdered in 2004. The coincidence theorists can have a field day with this I supose, but maybe... maybe "distruptive technologies" is still a dangerous business. (disruptive of the status quo that is).

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 10:41 am Post subject: whoa Reply with quote
that was my mistake -- I meant to say the lifters only work when NOT in a vacuum. I had no clue Naudin died.

Mark said...

computer memory as energy storage

Storing data in molecules: shifting atoms and flipping bits

By John Timmer | Published: September 02, 2007 - 10:19PM CT

As electronics continue to shrink, they're constantly pushing up against the limits of our ability to craft increasingly tiny features. Processors rely on features etched with extremely high-energy light, and disk drives store information in ever-smaller clusters of atoms. As these features shrink, electrical, magnetic, and even quantum interference begin to dominate, and it becomes ever more difficult to maintain and detect signals such as the state of a memory bit. To avoid these issues entirely, scientists have started to explore the possibility of storing information in the chemical structure of single molecules. A team of European researchers reported a new approach to single-molecule storage that may bring these devices closer to stepping out of the lab.
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Molecular memory will require chemicals that can switch back and forth between two stable states, much the way clusters of atoms switch magnetic states on the surface of disk drives. It's relatively easy to find molecules that can behave the same way. So far, however, most of these molecular switches involve structural changes: large parts of the molecule move relative to each other when changing states. This can work well in lab settings, but it isn't ideal in the real world, where it may not be compatible with a stable and reliable material that's easy to manufacture. The approach described in the new research relies on a molecule that's physically flat and changes states by shifting the location of hydrogen atoms without undergoing any structural changes. Even better, the memory states can be changed and read through the same technique used in electronics today: changes in electrical conduction.

The new work is based on a compound called naphthalocyanine, a cross-shaped molecule consisting of a number of interlocking ringed structures (shown at left). At the center of the cross, four nitrogen atoms face inward; two of those nitrogens, located opposite each other, are bonded to hydrogen atoms. The key fact is that it doesn't matter which two. There are two equally stable conformations of the molecule, termed tautomers, that differ only in the location of these hydrogen atoms.

The authors layered these molecules on an insulating surface and chilled them to five degrees above absolute zero. They found that a scanning-tunneling microscope could readily detect the axis of the molecule that included the two hydrogens. By manipulating the current tunneling out of the microscope's tip, however, they were able to induce the hydrogens to swap locations. Because of the interlinked chemical structure of naphthalocyanine, energy pumped anywhere into the rings was able to induce this "tautomerization." In fact, putting energy into the end of one of the molecule's arms was the most efficient way of moving the hydrogens to a different location. Overall, the researchers claim that they can accurately set the state of these molecular bits 90 percent of the time.

The team was not content to stop at a single molecular bit, however. They used the tip of the tunneling microscope to push several naphthalocyanine molecules close enough that the electrons in their ringed structures formed linked orbitals. Depending on where current is injected in the rings, different members of the structure can be selectively switched. They suggest that similar arrangements might also either allow the coordinated switching of a number of atomic bits, or enable the state of one bit to influence the response of its neighbors.

Clearly, this approach is not ready for use on the desktop. It operates just a shade above absolute zero, requires a scanning-tunneling microscope, and only sets bits with 90 percent accuracy. Still, as the authors suggest, the basic approach—one where the molecule holding the bit remains largely unperturbed by changes in its value—is far more likely to produce usable technology than many of the approaches that have been described previously.

Science, 2007. DOI: 10.1126/science.1144366


Mark said...

[much better solutions above, though worth mentioning; these lists continue to show sustainability inspiration in the variety of technologies available for sustainability now that are kept from us by our ignorance or by others, and our false belief that 'no alternatives' exist.]

New silicon-air battery can supply non-stop power for thousands of hours
From ANI

Washington, October 31: Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a new, environmentally friendly silicon-air battery capable of supplying non-stop power for thousands of hours without needing to be replaced.

Created from oxygen and silicon, such batteries would be lightweight, have an unlimited shelf life, and have a high tolerance for both humid and extremely dry conditions.

Potential uses include medical applications (for example, powering diabetic pumps or hearing aids), sensors and icroelectronics structured from silicon.

"Silicon-air batteries will be used like the ones already in use today," said lead researcher Professor Yair Ein-Eli of the Department of Materials Engineering.

"But by using silicon - a safe, non-toxic, stable and more common material - we can create very lightweight batteries with infinite shelf life and high energy capacity," he added.

Silicon-air batteries would provide significant savings in cost and weight because they lack the built-in cathode of conventional batteries.

The cathode in silicon-air (and metal-air) batteries is the oxygen that comes from the atmosphere through the membrane.

Prof. Ein-Eli estimates that in three to four years, silicon-air batteries can be made more powerful, as well as rechargeable.

According to him, in 10 years, it may be possible to build "electric car batteries made from silicon that will turn into and that would be recycled into silicon and then into power again."

Copyright Asian News International/


Mark said...

[connect this with the moving walls above, and you have free electrical generation from wall motion through piezoelectric effects]

New technique harvests electricity from nature's motions
From ANI

Washington, October 31: Duke University engineers have developed a novel approach that they believe can more efficiently harvest electricity from the everyday motions of the natural world.

Energy harvesting is the process of converting one form of energy, such as motion, into another form of energy, in this case electricity.

Strategies range from the development of massive wind farms to produce large amounts of electricity to using the vibrations of walking to power small electronic devices.

Although motion is an abundant source of energy, only limited success has been achieved because the devices used only perform well over a narrow band of frequencies.

"Nature doesn't work in a single frequency, so we wanted to come up with a device that would work over a broad range of frequencies," said Samuel Stanton, graduate student in Duke's Pratt School of Engineering.

"By using magnets to 'tune' the bandwidth of the experimental device, we were able verify in the lab that this new non-linear approach can outperform conventional linear devices," he added.

Although the device they constructed looks deceptively simple, it was able to prove the team's theories on a small scale.

It is basically a small cantilever, several inches long and a quarter inch wide, with an end magnet that interacts with nearby magnets.

The cantilever base itself is made of a piezoelectric material, which has the unique property of releasing electrical voltage when it is strained.

The key to the new approach involved placing moveable magnets of opposing poles on either side of the magnet at the end of the cantilever arm.

By changing the distance of the moveable magnets, the researchers were able to "tune" the interactions of the system with its environment, and thus produce electricity over a broader spectrum of frequencies.

"These results suggest to us that this non-linear approach could harvest more of the frequencies from the same ambient vibrations," said Brian Mann, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials sciences, Duke's Pratt School of Engineering.

"More importantly, being able to capture more of the bandwidth makes it more likely that these types of devices could someday rival batteries as a portable power source," he added.

Copyright Asian News International/