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Brown University Researchers Develop Prototype Polymer-Based Battery

13 September 2006

Polymer_battery
Prototype polymer battery. Source: John Abromowski/Brown University

Brown University engineers Hyun-Kon Song and Tayhas Palmore have developed a prototype polymer-based battery that combines the power of a capacitor with the storage capacity of a battery. A paper published in Advanced Materials describes their work.

The hybrid storage device is based on polypyrrole, a conductive polymer. Discovery and development of polypyrrole and other conductive polymers netted Alan MacDiarmid, Hideki Shirakawa and Alan Heeger the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Palmore and Song took a thin strip of gold-coated plastic film and covered the tip with polypyrrole and a substance that alters its conductive properties. They repeated the process, this time using another kind of conduction-altering chemical. The result was thus two strips with different polymer tips. The plastic strips were then stuck together, separated by a papery membrane to prevent a short circuit.

The resulting device can be rapidly charged then discharged to deliver power. During performance testing, the new battery demonstrated twice the storage capacity of an electric double-layer capacitor and delivered more than 100 times the power of a standard alkaline battery.

The prototype battery is small, light and thin. There are some initial problems with performance, such as decreased storage capacity after repeated recharging, but the Brown team expects strong interest in developing the concept further.

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September 13, 2006 in Batteries | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

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Now let's see how this scales up to a useable (for vehicle power) size.

"The prototype battery is small, light and thin. There are some initial problems with performance, such as decreased storage capacity after repeated recharging, but the Brown team expects strong interest in developing the concept further."

REALLY! I can't think of any uses for small, light, thin and fast charging/discharging batteries.


I can.

I'd buy several in a heartbeat were they on the market. I also know of a multi-million dollar market for them.

Obviously micah's sarcasm doesn't transmit well in typed form.

"I also know of a multi-million dollar market for them."
I bet Exxon/Mobil is interested too.

Without paying $25 to read the paper, but looking at the supporting docs this looks like an improved capacitor that lasts 100 cycles. Caps handle power well but don't store much energy. Batteries store modest amounts of energy, but can't pass it in/out (power) very quickly. Since this is early in the development of this electrochemical system we'll see where it goes, but I'm betting it's an advanced capacitor, i.e. this tech may be suited to hybrids more than pure BEVs. If cheap and capacious enough perhaps it will suit plug-in hybrids.

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