“Chemistry Nobel prize winner Richard Smalley had a vision for a solar-plus-battery-powered future. At its core was a large rechargeable battery in every house and office building, which would meet all the needs of the occupants for 24 hours. These mega-batteries would simply be recharged whenever the sun was shining.
The catch is, today’s batteries aren’t up to the task. To power a household for a day with, say, 100 kilowatt-hours, would require a bank of lead-acid batteries so big it would fill a small room. And, at today’s prices, the cost of this massive storage device would be more than $10,000. Plus, like the one in your car, you’d have to buy a new house battery — for another 10 grand — each time the old one wore out. And your electricity would be on top of that.
But battery technology is advancing. Just recently, nanotechnology researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US developed a completely different concept for a battery. The device doesn’t wear out and so won’t need replacing, and if charged from mains power, remarkably, a laptop-sized one could be recharged in a minute or so rather than the hours it now takes”…. <More>