It is believed that chemical batteries, for all their shortcomings, have nothing to replace in the foreseeable future. The discovery of Australian scientists can fundamentally change this idea – they offer to save energy in bundles of carbon nanowires. As calculations showed, the efficiency of such batteries is 3 times higher than in lithium-ion and they will be absolutely safe, since they do not require an electrochemical reaction and an electrolyte.
Experts from Queensland University of Technology have described a new approach to energy storage that uses thin diamond threads with unique properties. These one-dimensional carbon structures are able to twist and stretch, thus accumulating mechanical energy, and to release it when straightened, writes New Atlas.
Scientists conducted a computer simulation and established the energy density of a hypothetical bundle of diamond nanowires. The results showed that such systems are able to accumulate 1.76 MJ per kg, that is, about four to five orders of magnitude more than a steel spring of the same mass, and three times more than in lithium-ion batteries.
Despite the fact that such a high energy density in itself is a good reason to start developing a prototype, there is another advantage – safety. Since such a battery does not require an electrochemical reaction, there is no risk of electrolyte leakage, fire or explosion of the batteries. Therefore, mechanical batteries could be used without much concern in biomedical implants or in portable electronics.
“Nanofilament bundles can be used in next-generation power lines, in aerospace electronics, in field emissions, in the manufacture of batteries, smart textiles and structural composites such as building materials,” said Zhan Haifei, research leader.