If you search the Internet for information on nanotechnology, the likelihood is that you will see a number of scare stories suggesting that nanotechnology robots will take over the world. But if you dig a little deeper, you will see that nanotechnology will play a major part in every area of our life going forward. Indeed, researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico seem to have stumbled upon a new type of technology which could lead to batteries able to hold 10 times the storage capacity at the moment.
While the fact that these batteries could be commercially viable in the future is amazing in itself, it is also worth mentioning that unlike traditional batteries they do not require expensive precious metals such as platinum. This nanotechnology carbon-based catalyst is said to be able to squeeze maximum efficiency out of new lithium air technology, which is currently being investigated by IBM for one.
Reducing the cost of EV batteries
The cost of electric vehicle batteries has been one of the main issues going forward for an industry which cannot seem to pull away from traditional battery restrictions. Historically there have been issues with the battery catalyst, with the likes of platinum very expensive thereby reducing the overall cost efficiency of many electric vehicles.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "I think with the large scale green movement that's helped a lot and things should be progressing fairly quickly with the updates in Graphine/Nano Technology."
There are still a number of issues to address with regards to this new technology, many of which seem to revolve around toxic and hazardous substances historically used to maximise battery efficiency. However, scientists on this particular research programme have come up with a solution which seems to work and involves the use of nitrogen and iron acetate to effectively skip the stage which creates the problem toxic and hazardous substances. It will be interesting to see how this particular issue develops because even if what we see today is not the finished product, it has given many scientists food for thought.
U.S. government invests in battery technology
The U.S. government recently announced a new programme of investment in the battery technology industry and many experts feel this has been long overdue. There was, and is to a lesser extent, concern that electric car technology has moved on in leaps and bounds while investment in the battery technology arena has flat-lined. While we are not at a situation where electric vehicle technology is perfectly efficient there are certainly more efficiency gains to be made in the battery technology industry.
If leading lights such as the U.S. government, and indeed their Chinese counterparts, are serious about the electric vehicle market, we should see a significant increase in battery technology funding. This will not only bring down the overall cost of electric vehicle batteries, this will happen when electric vehicles are sold in greater numbers, but it will also bring in new technologies and new efficiencies going forward. There is so much scope for improvement across the whole electric vehicle arena that it seems almost inevitable that within the next decade we will look back on recent events and wonder what took us so long to move forward from a technological point of view.