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back to article Superpowered energy-storing wonder stuff created in lab

US-based boffins say they have created a never-seen-before type of ultra-bizarre stuff in the lab by using incredible pressures similar to those found deep inside planets. The scientists believe that their creation is capable of storing an unfeasible amount of energy. "It is the most condensed form of energy storage outside of …

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Anonymous Coward

Storage is "easy"...

...it's the controlled, steady release that's the tricky part.

And how much energy was "lost" in the compression process? ie is it "efficient" enough for real-world application?

All the same...kudos. Roll on the flying-car future!

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Bronze badge

Storage

The ability to generate gigapascals of pressure is one thing, but it's a huge step to it being a useful way of storing energy. I've no doubt the machine required to produce this pressure is huge in comparison to the amount of energy in the compressed material. Given that this incredibly compressed stuff is going to require storage under immense pressure, it would be interesting to know if there are any theoretical way it could be done or the release of the pressure controlled. Also, what it the thermodynamic efficiency of the compression/decompression cycle?

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Unhappy

re: "Storage"

This is why it's a research project. Fundamental science doesn't start with knowing all the answers, just requiring a focus-grouped name and expensive logo. If everyone had taken that intellectually lazy, fatuous and kneejerk response to everything new, we'd still be banging the rocks together.

Clearly you'd middle management or junior minister material in the waiting.

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Boffin

@Steve Jones

"I've no doubt the machine required to produce this pressure is huge in comparison to the amount of energy in the compressed material."

Quite possibly right. Diamond anvil cells are actually quite small (literally handheld) but only because the experimental volume is more cubic micrometers than cubic cenitmetres. They are also used to simulate the compression levels found in implosion nuclear weapons.

As others have pointed out *releasing* that energy in a controlled manner is the tricky bit.

Generically this would come under "Highly Energetic Matter" which the USAF and NASA have looked at for some time. It is the only foreseeable way to get *big* improvements in rocket performance without switching to mad fuels like Hydrogen/Florine (or for barking mad billionaires with a penchant for world domination and a total disregard for human life Hydrogen/Florine/Lithium)

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Anonymous Coward

Trem Gleb

It seems to me all Mr Jones is asking for is a bit more detail.

It may be a research project, but they can be pretty expensive these days - requiring a bit more than just banging rocks together - and are often only funded when real commercial applications have been outlined. The article gives no indication of where this sits on the R&D spectrum, and his comment is therefore neither intellectually lazy nor fatuous.

Feel free to kneejerk to his becalmed leg.

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Welcome

But they ARE just banging racks together...

they may be expensive, glittery rocks, banged together really hard, but they are still rocks.

I for one welcome our technologically-advanced, rock-banging overlords.

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Silver badge
Terminator

It's DARPA on the bomb...

...I mean, on the phone.

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I think we're missing the key point here

How long would a battery containing this sort of technology power a head mounted shark laser? Would it be long enough for a rambling monologue *AND* the insane laughter at the end?

Seriously, where's the icon already Lewis?

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Flame

head mounted shark laser

There is real possibilities for overloading/destabilising the laser using that heatproof diamond coated mirrored tie-pin that the lab boys inexplicably gave the hero on the off-chance it would come in useful. Then there's just the damsel saving, thrilling escape and double entendre in the escape dinghy to go.

Flames to depict the fate of poor old Sparky the shark.

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Stop

Numbers...

or it does not matter.

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Boffin

Ach, always with the shark-mounted lasers..

*Everyone* knows that ion cannons are the way forward.

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Happy

Shipstones, anybody?

If they could make them with a large enough capacity, and safe, it would revolutionise the power distribution industry... not to mention make electric cars actually practical!

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Silver badge

ho hum

Im sure they would make more money if they figured out how to make it release the stored energy as fast as possible.

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"capable of storing an unfeasible amount of energy"

I won't ask if unfeasible is a word -- because it isn't (or wasn't when I checked a couple of minutes ago. Perhaps the word you want is "impossible".

Probably the biggest question is: if the device is made to work, then just where are we going to find an impossible amount of energy in order to put in it?

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Def
Bronze badge
FAIL

Unfeasible

adj

Not able to be done or put into effect; Impossible

See also:

Another dictionary.

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Silver badge

Re : Unfeasible

Although unfeasible is a word it's being used incorrectly here.

Should be "capable of storing a PREVIOUSLY unfeasible amount of energy" although that's rather clunky.

As to its potential there isn't enough information. However XeF2 is NASTY stuff (and could make Li batteries seem quite benign. )

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Boffin

Wrong point

If I'm understanding this correctly, it's not the energy of compression that's being used to store energy, it's the altered chemical bonds. In the same way you can take graphite and pump energy into its bonds to make diamond. If you compress different compounds their properties sometimes change radically, even when back at normal pressure. Now since this is a relatively new area of experimentation, the scientists probably only have a vague idea what they can make. The problem is those who have the money want 'practical results' as opposed to interesting results. Hence the 'possible' application list.

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Flame

Comparing to coal...

It takes a given amount of energy to produce coal (from wooden logs "cooked" in oxygen-free clay ovens, for example), and it takes some energy to release the stored energy in the said coal (matches, anyone? zippo? two sticks?). I'm talking activation energy here...

If it takes gobs of energy to store it, I bet it also takes gobs of energy to release it. A nuclear zippo, perhaps? The energy itself perhaps can be stored in compact units, but the energy release mechanism cannot.

On the other hand, what kind of usable energy density are we talking about? Comparing to Uranium, also?

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Bronze badge
WTF?

Squeeze -> Heat (lost), Relax -> Cool

When it goes off, it'll freeze everyone in a ten-mile radius.

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Jobs Horns

I say..

.. Is it the first of April?

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Terminator

Reminds me of the cartoons...

The old Transformers cartoons had highly energetic cubes too...called them Energon, I believe. We may have just made our planet a target for trans-morphing pseudo-sentient metallic warlords.

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