It's The Batteries, Stupid

Scientists at Waseda University in Japan have come up with a nifty battery. It's made from polymers, it's only 200 nanometers thick, and it's flexible.

Peter Skabara, an expert in electroactive materials at the University of Strathclyde, UK, praised the high stability and fabrication strategy of the polymer-based battery. 'The plastic battery plays a part in ensuring that organic device technologies can function in thin film, flexible form as a complete package,' said Skabara. 'However, these materials will not give slow energy release, which limits them to capacitor applications,' he continued. 'The polymers can undergo rapid charging/discharging which will be useful in delivering burst power.'

This has real and immediate benefits for handheld devices, of course. But the sticking point for all alternative energy sources is always storage. Battery technology is way behind all the other disciplines involved in making and storing energy. It's a very simple equation. Make something as cheap and portable as a gallon of gasoline, with all the energy it has in it. Energy is all around us but we can't store it and transfer it properly. Advances in battery technology are the most important technological advance we can make as a planet. This is a substantial one.

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