Australian professor Michael Strano and Iranian associate professor Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh have discovered a new power source for energy storage and power generation.
Associate Professor Kalantar-Zadeh, from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at RMIT University in Melbourne, and MIT Associate Professor Michael Strano’s nanotechnology research team made the breakthrough in a joint project.
While they were measuring the acceleration of a chemical reaction along a carbon nanotube, they made the remarkable discovery. The reaction they were monitoring generated power.
Kalantar-Zadeh said that the power generated relative to the energy source size is three to four times more than what is currently possible with the best lithium-ion batteries.
“By coating a nanotube in nitrocellulose fuel and igniting one end, we set off a combustion wave along it and learned that a nanotube is an excellent conductor of heat from burning fuel. Even better, the combustion wave creates a strong electric current,” he said.
The Iranian scientist added, “It’s the first viable nanoscale approach to power generation that exploits the thermoelectric effect by overcoming the feasibility issues associated with minimizing dimensions.”
The initial results of their discovery were published in the December issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Spectrum Magazine, in an article entitled “Nanodynamite: Fuel-coated nanotubes could provide bursts of power to the smallest systems.”
Kalantar-Zadeh received a BS in telecommunications engineering from Iran’s Sharif University of Technology and an MS in the same field from Tehran University.
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