Automakers have been experimenting with graphene in their designs for years.
Now they’re using it to make a battery that can be used to charge a car.
Bloomberg Businessweek reports that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have built a battery using graphene, a material made of carbon atoms that is abundant in nature and in nature’s natural products.
The battery has a conductive surface that can switch from electric to conductive, and that’s useful for charging a car in the dark.
“Our battery can be operated in an ambient mode or during a charging process in a low-power mode,” said Yutao Fu, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at MIT.
“In the ambient mode, the graphene can charge the battery faster, while in the low-powered mode, there is a delay.”
The battery is a step toward battery-powered vehicles that can use batteries of graphene and other materials to power their electric motors.
They could help to solve a major transportation problem: The amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has dropped over the past 20 years, which has reduced the amount of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface.
That has reduced how much sunlight the planet receives, and as a result, the amount and quality of sunlight available for photosynthesis.
And if that happens too quickly, there could be a loss of the photosynthetic pathway, which converts carbon dioxide into oxygen.
A battery could help fill that gap.
The MIT researchers have demonstrated that the battery could charge a battery at temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees Celsius) and that it can be fully charged in about 10 minutes, Fu said.
The graphene, he added, can also be used as a catalyst, and he and his colleagues are currently working to figure out how it reacts with hydrogen to produce carbon dioxide.
They have also developed a prototype battery that uses lithium-ion batteries, which can store a large amount of energy.
“We believe graphene can be a valuable and affordable component in electric vehicles,” Fu said, “especially in applications where it is more efficient than lithium-polymer battery.”