You know graphene, the super material that's strong enough to withstand diamond cutters? Turns out that not only may it replace silicon as the de rigeur component of microchips, it's on track to becoming the next megabattery as well. Engineers at the University of Texas in Austin have found a way to store electrical charge in graphene-based ultracapacitor devices, and their discovery could revolutionise the renewable energy industry.
There are two ways to store electrical energy today—through traditional rechargeable batteries or in ultracapacitors, a newer tech that runs safer, cooler, and longer. The UofT researchers think their breakthough could end up doubling the capacity of current ultracapacitors, which are made with a different, less awesome form of carbon.
If everything works out, it could give a much needed boost to solar and wind energy industries, whose main challenge right now is energy storage for when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing. Beyond that, graphene ultracapacitors could end up improving the efficiency of all electrical appliances—cars, buses, trains, you name it. [Science Daily via Slashdot]