Electric vehicle batteries are heavy and bulky, which limits EV range and cargo capacity. However that could change thanks to groundbreaking new research from the University of Central Florida. Nanotechnology professor Jayan Thomas and Ph.D. student Zenan Yu were able to transform electricity-conducting copper wires into energy-storage devices that could make EVs significantly lighter and more efficient.

copper wire, supercapacitor, energy storage, power-storing wire, electric carsImage via University of Central Florida

The breakthrough was achieved by encasing a copper wire in two energy-storing supercapacitor layers made from nanowhiskers. Besides making electric vehicles roomier, lighter and more efficient, the power-storing wires could scale down personal gadgets and lower fuel costs in space launch vehicles. As the technology improves, it could lead to flexible textiles and clothing that could charge smartphones and other portable electronic devices.

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“It’s very exciting,” Thomas said. “We take it step by step. I love getting to the lab everyday, and seeing what we can come up with next. Sometimes things don’t work out, but even those failures teach us a lot of things.”

Thomas and Yu’s work was publishing as a cover story in the science journal Nature.

+ Materials science: Energy storage wrapped up

Via Treehugger

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