New research could help cars kick the fossil fuel habit

September 15, 2008

Researchers at the University of Bath are helping to develop new rechargeable batteries that could improve hybrid electric cars in the future. Transport is a major energy user and is estimated to be responsible for around 25% of the UK's total carbon emissions. As concern grows about climate change, a range of 'green technologies' are being developed to help reduce carbon emissions.

Hybrid petrol/electric cars that use conventional metal-hydride batteries are already available but they are heavy and the cars have limited power.

Professor Saiful Islam, of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath, is researching new materials to use in rechargeable lithium batteries, similar to those that have helped to power the worldwide 'portable revolution' in mobile phones, laptops and MP3 players. For hybrid cars, new materials are crucial to make the batteries lighter, safer and more efficient in storing energy.

Professor Islam's research, which recently won the Fuel Cell Science & Technology Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry, will be presented at the Sustainable Energy and the Environment research showcase on Wednesday 17 September at the University of Bath, alongside other cutting-edge research from across the region.

"Hybrid electric cars such as the Toyota Prius rely on petrol engines, with their batteries being charged by the waste energy from braking. These cars provide better fuel economy for urban driving than a conventional car," explained Professor Islam.

"Developing new materials holds the key to lighter and more efficient rechargeable batteries for hybrid electric cars, reducing our use of fossil fuels and cutting carbon emissions."

The showcase will be opened by David Willetts MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and will be attended by key industrialists, research councils, local and national government officials and other key stakeholders from across the South West.

The exhibition also coincides with the launch of the new Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (I-SEE) at the University of Bath. This will bring together experts from diverse fields of science, engineering, social policy and economics to tackle the problems posed by global warming.

Professor Islam added: "I-SEE reflects the growing focus on 'green technology' at the University, which is a major centre for sustainable energy and chemical research."

The showcase event on 17 September will also feature exhibitions from other researchers from the University on subjects such as affordable solar cells and hydrogen fuel production.

Source: University of Bath

Explore further: Researchers efficiently charge a lithium-ion battery with solar cell

Related Stories

Tech startups want to change the way you drive

August 25, 2015

A veteran computer scientist hates sitting in his car at stop lights, so he creates software that makes the experience less annoying. A former engineering professor wants to double the range of today's electric vehicles. ...

Video: 'Yellow chemistry' turns sulfur waste into plastics

August 18, 2015

While many scientists are hard at work on "green chemistry" projects that will benefit the environment, there are a handful of researchers at the University of Arizona who are starting a trend of their own—"yellow chemistry." ...

Recommended for you

Astronomers detect the farthest galaxy yet with Keck telescope

September 4, 2015

A team of Caltech researchers that has spent years searching for the earliest objects in the universe now reports the detection of what may be the most distant galaxy ever found. In an article published August 28, 2015 in Astrophysical ...

"Hedgehog" robots hop, tumble in microgravity

September 4, 2015

Hopping, tumbling and flipping over are not typical maneuvers you would expect from a spacecraft exploring other worlds. Traditional Mars rovers, for example, roll around on wheels, and they can't operate upside-down. But ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Rick69
not rated yet Sep 15, 2008
Nice sales pitch for your conference! Interesting new information otherwise gleaned from this article? ZILCH!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.