March 17, 2010

Batteries, hydrogen and a new way to use fuel

* Make highly porous silicon nanoparticles, and you have the key ingredient for inexpensive, high capacity lithium ion batteries. See High-performance lithium-ion anodes using a hierarchical bottom-up approach, Nature Materials, published online March 14, 2010.

* Come up with the right complex cobalt-containing molecule, and you have an inexpensive, durable catalyst for generating hydrogen from water using sunlight. See A Fast Soluble Carbon-Free Molecular Water Oxidation Catalyst Based on Abundant Metals, Science, published online March 11, 2010.

* Coat an array of carbon nanotubes with fuel, ignite one end, and you can generate powerful pulses of electricity. See Chemically driven carbon-nanotube-guided thermopower waves, Nature Materials, published online March 7, 2010.

* Treat cellulose with a combination of an ionic liquid and an acid, and you can turn biomass into sugars that are readily processed into biofuels. See Fermentable sugars by chemical hydrolysis of biomass, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online March 1, 2010.

* Mix carbon with lithium sulfide and carbon with tin nanoparticles, separate the two with the right kind of gel, and you have a lithium ion battery with five times the capacity of today's commercial devices. See A High-Performance Polymer Tin Sulfur Lithium Ion Battery, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, published online February 28, 2010.

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