Creating high energy and non-toxic battery power
In landfills, heavy metals have the potential to leach slowly into soil, groundwater or surface water. Dry cell batteries contribute about 88 percent of the total mercury and 50 percent of the cadmium in the municipal solid waste stream. In the past, batteries accounted for nearly half of the mercury used in the United States and over half of the mercury and cadmium in the municipal solid waste stream. When burned, some heavy metals such as mercury may vaporize and escape into the air, and cadmium and lead may end up in the ash.
The average person owns about two button batteries, ten normal (A, AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, etc.) batteries, and throws out about eight household batteries per year. About three billion batteries are sold annually in the U.S. averaging about 32 per family or ten per person. Finding a smarter, more energy efficient and environmentally safe solution could save the planet from tons of waste and damage.
Researchers at UCLA announced they have developed a battery made from a revolutionary new material which could change everything. Graphene, a single layer of carbon one atom thick, was first described in 1962 but only manufactured for the first time in 2004. Since then its remarkable properties – the 'strongest material in the world', completely flexible, more conductive than copper – have presented scientists and engineers with an intoxicating range of possibilities. In this case, the technique developed at UCLA offers the prospect of batteries which are inexpensive, non-toxic and incredibly efficient. They will mean you can charge your phone in five seconds, or a laptop in 30, while electric vehicles could run far longer than current vehicles and recharge in a fraction of the time. The graphene battery has the potential to power its very own wave of technical innovations.