Battery technology is seeing some exciting developments at the moment; liquid solar cells and current-generating paint are both examples of inventions set to revolutionise the clunky AA mainstay. And now scientists have added something new to the mix: spray-on batteries.
Developed by researchers at Rice University, this new technology allows any surface to become a battery, which could have pretty big implications for traditional energy storage and solar power generation. More on the science of the creation here.
Lead author of the team’s report Neelam Singh said: “Spray painting is already an industrial process, so it will be very easy to incorporate this into industry. We really do consider this a paradigm changer.”
However, there are some drawbacks, namely the spray-paint’s sensitivity to moisture and oxygen given its toxic, flammable and corrosive properties. Eliminating these issues through further research could see the paint being used at a large scale in industrial environments.
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Internet giant eBay is usually the first point of call for folk looking to reuse and recycle their unwanted stuff, and now the firm itself is pushing the green revolution further with plans for a renewable energy-powered data centre.
The Utah-based facility will only use traditional electricity as a back-up to its main power grid, and will instead run its operations with power from 30 fuel cell units. Using biogas, a fossil fuel alternative made from organic waste, the company is aiming to generate 1.75 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year with the new installation, making it the largest non-utility fuel cell installation in the US.
The data centre should be up and running by mid-2013.
The company is not the first to reconsider the environmental impact of its data centres; Apple announced at the beginning of the year its plans for a 100 acre solar array at its Californian site, following concerns from Greenpeace regarding unclean data centre energy use.