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Better batteries charge forward

Researchers are close to releasing prototype designs to meet consumer, business demand

By
5:50pm, January 9, 2017
better batteries

POWERING THE FUTURE  New chemistries and designs promise to take batteries into the 21st century to store energy from solar and wind farms and send energy to homes and businesses.

Everybody wants more juice from their batteries. Smartphones and laptops always need recharging. Electric car drivers must carefully plan their routes to avoid being stranded far from a charging station. Anyone who struggles with a tangle of chargers every night would prefer a battery that can last for weeks or months.

For researchers who specialize in batteries, though, the drive for a better battery is less about the luxury of an always-charged iPad (though that would be nice) and more about kicking our fossil fuel habit. Given the right battery, smog-belching cars and trucks could be replaced with vehicles that run whisper-quiet on electricity alone. No gasoline engine, no emissions. Even airplanes could go electric. And the power grid could be modernized to use cheaper, greener fuels such as sunlight or wind even on days when the sun doesn’t shine bright enough or the wind doesn’t blow hard enough to meet electricity demand.

A better battery has the

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