MIT: “Progress on a Powerful New Way to Generate Electricity”

“Kevin Bullis explains how a powerful new way to generate electricity could eventually make electric cars and electronic gadgets run longer.”

“About four years ago, researchers in Michael Strano’s chemical engineering labat MIT coated a short piece of yarn made of carbon nanotubes with TNT and lit one end with a laser. It sparkled and burned like a fuse, demonstrating a new way to generate electricity that produces phenomenal amounts of power.

At the time, no one understood how it worked, and it was so inefficient that it was little more than a “laboratory curiosity,” Strano says.

Now, Strano has figured out the underlying physics, which has helped his team improve efficiencies dramatically—by 10,000 times—and charted a path for continued rapid improvements. One day, generators that use the phenomenon could make portable electronics last longer, and make electric cars as convenient as conventional ones, both extending their range and allowing fast refueling in minutes.

The efficiencies of the lab devices made so far are still low compared to conventional generators. Strano’s latest device is a little over 0.1 percent efficiency, whereas conventional generators are 25 to 60 percent efficient. (…)”

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(via MIT)

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/530346/progress-on-a-powerful-new-way-to-generate-electricity/