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back to article Texan team paints batteries onto beer steins

Researchers in Texas have discovered a way to break down the components of a battery into liquid form and paint power cells onto everyday objects. Battery beer stein An electrifying brew In a paper published in Scientific Reports, the team at Rice University detailed the development of fluids that mimic the conventional …

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Bronze badge

This is cool. Imagine spray on solar power. You wouldn't have to worry about the orientation of the panels because an entire house ( or car ) could be the power collector...

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Silver badge

Unfortunately solar panels are a bit more complex - they need implanted diode junctions.

A battery is just a sandwich of an electrolyte between two conductors.

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Anonymous Coward

Nanosolar

Thats Nanosolar's plan, inkjet printed solar panels. Problem is that conventional solar panels have free fallen in price and are already competitive with Nuclear at $1/watt and making Nanosolar look old hat.

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Pint

Drinking from that stein...

...will certainly give you a jolt. But I'll never think of bathroom tiles as something entirely mundane again--they can be electrifying!

Coat, hat, BZZZZZZ!!! (who spray-painted my wallet?!? Oh... wait... that was the charge card...)

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The pee-powered car?

Was it El Reg where the notion of a pee-powered car was discussed a few years back? This is surely the same principle, albeit more realistic with the scaled-back ambition!

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Pint

Re: The pee-powered car?

They just captured the energy earlier in the (water, barley, hops, yeast) -> beer -> urine pathway, that's all. So it should be more efficient ... of course if they could capture it earlier still - say, plough up all the fields of barley and cover them with solar panels - and we'd be spared the whole tedious process of getting outside the beer and converting it into urine.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: pee-powered...

at last - a use for carling black label

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Pint

did anyone else read it wrong

Bit slow this morning, was reading it as beer-stains... sorry Texans! ;)

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Earth - planet - earth

How deep and how far apart would you bury a couple of steel plates with wires attached to get an electrical current up top?

Or was that a sci-fi story I read once?

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MNB

Re: Earth - planet - earth

standard batteries (of the sort invented by Volta more than a hundred years ago) rely on the transfer of electrons between two different metals through an electrically conductive solution ... if you used two steel plates the voltage you'd experience between them would be zero.

If you used a copper plate and zinc plate you get a bit more than one volt, if you're sticking them in the ground then the ground water will be your electrolyte... if you want to go around contaminating ground water in this manner (the more reactive of the two metals dissolves in the electrolyte during discharge) be my guest just don't come running to me when the Environment Agency come after you.

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Would be quite nice for architecture to have a mosaic of battery, PV cells, and OLED or similar.

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Joke

"The material used in the layers ranges from the exotic to the prosaic"

I got all excited at first as for some reason I misread that as Prosac... then I realized it wasnt which was a bit of a downer!

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Pint

Beer

is there anything it can't do?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Beer

is there anything it can't do?

LOL Crosswalks for Barefoots?

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Bronze badge
Pint

Of course ...

Rice University would invent a Beer Heater. Please. "Rice" University ? This is a Sake Conspiracy to replace Beer all together. Texans may fall from it, but by God, we'll never fall for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Uses

and having electrocuted a number of Germans, what's next?

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MNB

"discharged a steady 2.4 volts for six hours"

ok... so you got a potential of 2.4v and sustained it for six hours? The vital missing piece of information here is the *current* of that discharge (if they just wired a volt meter to it we are talking about micro-amps). As in how many amp hours did they store in the battery? I expect the energy density they got was somewhat less than a commercial battery (given the compromises they'd have to make to make it paintable) and the volume is by definition low as it's just a layer of paint.

The key question is how long could you run a smart phone (or other useful device) from a painted battery? and how big an area would you need to paint? If it turns out you need an area the size of parachute to get useful quanties of stored energy it's a whole lot less exciting...

Never mind the techniques apparent sensitivity to such mundane substances as air or water.

Still keep working on it...

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Bronze badge

Re: "discharged a steady 2.4 volts for six hours"

This is a trick question. "Useful device" and "smart phone" in the same sentence gets them every time.

"how long could you run a smart phone (or other useful device)"

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Silver badge

This is the new exciting Green Economy at work

Don't come here with that naysayer mumbo-jumbo about current!

To the Great Unwashed this looks like a break through. Just plug your air conditioning into a a beer mug and keep drinking! Plug in your beer fridge too. That will keep you endlessly supplied with beer.

Of course in a few months we will never hear about this again. It will have been suppressed by the Evil Oil Empire - just like Brown's Gas.

Where's the "Bah! " button?

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Bronze badge
Pint

So does this mean I would be able to get a pint of lager that stays cool via a battery powered glass?

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Anonymous Coward

Mixed Results vs Directed Actions

I been playing with solar lately myself. The quick lesson is deep cycle batteries.

Sure the spray paints with conductor segment attachments might not provide 200 AMPS to your Ham Radio with 2KW amp, but it does power that piece of crap Craig MP4 player when there is no power. It can replace the 1.5 x 3ea batteries in that 23 LED lamp assembly. That might just be enough to get your cooking done or your but cleaned proper with toilet paper in the middle of the brown out.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mixed Results vs Directed Actions

where "but" == "butt" heh

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Anonymous Coward

pondering this down the garden shed

"To manufacture the positive current collector the team used carbon nanotubes in solution, while its negative collector counterpart consists of commercially available copper paint mixed with ethanol."

"While the technique is interesting, don’t expect to buy a can of battery paint any time soon. Some of the materials used are highly toxic and the painting itself needs a special argon-filled chamber for assembly. The team is now working on adapting the paints to be safer to use and adding water and oxygen sealants to get the batteries working outside the laboratory."

thinking about this down the garden shed, i have to mention the obvious here as i don't get it....

why don't these saki rice wine people just use cheaper nano electroplating as used in this paper years ago and probably forgotten now http://ecs.skku.ac.kr/papers/fu1.pdf in combination with printable nano diode junctions circuits and printable solar on plastic or other such transparent cheap to make materials,

they could even go all out and add in some Electro-deposition nano piezoelectric generation and nano thermoelectric layers in there at the same time in production to get the current up, this painting on stuff is fine as an idea but non of this seems realistic in the real world in isolation, only combined so called combined hybrid laminates of different power storage and micro generation make for a potentially real commercial cheap option for everyone here, :)

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