Battery development wins funding

Friday, 20 March, 2009

More than US$2 billion has been earmarked for motor vehicle battery research as part of the US$787 billion economic stimulus and recovery package announced by US President Obama.

"Lighter, more efficient batteries could hold the key to a more economically and environmentally sound future," said William Robinson, chairman and CEO of Bellingham-based Integral technologies, Inc, a development-stage company that may have created a new building block for a better Detroit.

"While you can't change the basics of how a battery works, you can change the materials that are used to create it."

The company has developed a mouldable conductive plastic called ElectriPlast, a polymer blend that can be used to conduct electricity. It consists of small single pellets compounded with metal fibre that, when poured into a moulding machine and shaped, may help streamline production of batteries and electronics.

With ElectriPlast replacing lead or stainless steel, batteries could be created that would be 9 to 13 kg lighter than batteries used today. On average, most components would weigh 80% less than standard metal counterparts. Lighter doesn't only mean faster, it also means greener.

Today, decreased vehicle weight translates into lower fuel consumption. Tomorrow, a better, more efficient battery likely holds the key to widespread popularity of hybrid and electric cars.

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