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Carbon fibre bodywork can store power, scientists discover

Carbon fibres can work as battery electrodes to store electric power - potentially paving the way for lightweight electric vehicles and even electric planes.

Carbon fibre is capable of storing electricity that can be used to power a vehicle, scientists have discovered in a major materials breakthrough that experts hope could one day open the door to commercial electric flight. A study led by Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden has found that carbon fibres work as battery electrodes capable of storing energy.

In the future they could be used to make 'structural electrodes' - essentially forming the bodywork of cars and aircraft to simultaneously provide energy and structure to a vehicle. The innovation could help reduce the weight of the batteries needed on board, which is currently a major restriction to the range and commercial viability of larger electric trucks and electric planes.

"A car body would then be not simply a load-bearing element, but also act as a battery," explained Professor Leif Asp from Chalmers University, who led the research. "It will also be possible to use the carbon fibre for other purposes such as harvesting kinetic energy, for sensors or for conductors of both energy and data. If all these functions were part of a car or aircraft body, this could reduce the weight by up to 50 per cent." The research was published in August in the journal Multifunctional Materials, and the scientists announced this week they are now working with the aviation and automotive industries to explore the commercial applications for their discovery.

"Structural batteries may perhaps not become as efficient as traditional batteries, but since they have a structural load-bearing capability, very large gains can be made at system level," Asp added.

Lähde: Business Green 


Päivitetty/Updated: 19.10.2018

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