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Nothing pops up more regularly in the world of energy science than the claim that sustainable, over-unity fusion generators are just a decade away.
I've lost track of the number of times I've written about companies or researches publishing this claim and no matter how often the promise is made, we're still a decade away from it becoming a reality.
It's not just fusion that gives us these regularly made and always-broken promises however. Almost as frequently we're told that a new "breakthrough" battery technology is just around the corner and that this tech will revolutionise transport, and a raft of other industries.
To be fair, we did have a bit of a break-through with the transition to lithium-ion battery technology but that's been a staple now for over a decade and we've seen only incremental improvements since then.
Sure, Li-Ion batteries are "adequate" for things such as phones, cars, laptops etc -- but they're still far from ideal.
They can be rather dangerous if not properly managed and they add a significant weight burden to EVs whilst only delivering a modest range compared to traditional fossil fuels. The useful life of some Li-Ion batteries is also relatively short and increasingly people are finding otherwise perfectly good bits of consumer electronics are rendered useless by failed batteries that can not easily be replaced.
So what if I told you that the Developer Of Aluminum-Ion Battery Claims It Charges 60 Times Faster Than Lithium-Ion, Offering EV Range Breakthrough?
Even better, what if the developer was an Australian?
Woohoo... it sounds as if our EV and electricity storage woes are over... right?
I'm sure hoping that this *is* a breakthrough but if past history is anything to go by, it's just another bunch of folks who think they "might" have something good and are hyping the snot out of the "potential" of this tech in order to raise a good wad of funding.
But what if this did pan out?
What if we could suddenly come up with battery tech that offered more than double the performance along with lightning-fast recharge rates and an ability to deliver current that "has no theoretical limit"?
What if that tech required no rare-earth elements such as those which are crucial to existing Li-Ion batteries and was cheaper to make?
Be still my beating heart!
I think it is fair to say that if they managed to deliver on the promises, this would be deemed "disruptive technology" since it would make fossil-fueld cars obsolete almost overnight and turn energy self-sufficiency into a reality for many residential and commercial buildings.
So ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls (and the non-binary or gender-fluid who may be reading this), go to the comments section now and give us your predictions as to the likelihood that this tech will be changing the world any time soon.
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