As the need for portable power explodes due to the increasing number of mobile devices and the shift to alternative energies, battery technology receives substantial research funding and focus. In addition to improving safety, environmental impact, longevity, and power density, so battery makers seek ways to make the battery more malleable so they fit with portable devices and mobile applications.
Nanomaterials provide the structure for batteries. Using carbon nanotubes
researchers are able to infuse paper with the ability to make a complete battery with the carbon acting as the electrodes. Medical device researchers are looking to sweat or blood as a potential electrolyte. Thus, by touching the paper, a person makes the paper a complete battery system. Medical researchers see applications in implantable devices in which the carbon nanotubes could be implanted just below the skin so the human body becomes the recharge mechanism for powering a defibrillator for example.
Another nano technique
is to use copper nanorods as the active material and attach them to sheets of copper foil. This increases the energy capacity by increasing the surface area of the nanorods.
Application of these technologies can be done with fairly traditional machines. In this example
the nanorods are treated like fibers that can be woven into the fabric of a soldier’s uniform and can recharge itself.
Another technology in the research phase is electrowetting
which according to Wikipedia uses nanostructured materials to combine the electrolyte material into the electrode space. mPhase
proposes to use the technology to power semiconductor based devices through the use of superhydrophobic techniques which combines a liquid electrolyte and active electrode material.