Liquid power: New battery can be painted on most surfaces

Researchers at Rice University have created a lithium ion battery which can be painted on virtually any surface. 

Matt Slocum/AP/File
A Dell notebook computer battery is shown in this August 2006 file photo, in Farmers Branch, Texas. A team at Rice University has recently developed a battery made from paint, according to

One of the biggest problems with batteries is the weight and bulky nature of their packaging. It is the major limiting factors for electric vehicles. Several years ago, to overcome this problem, scientists started researching ultra-thin batteries which would be able to hold the same charge but in a much smaller space. In 2009 researchers from the University of Stanford announced that they had created a battery out of a single piece of plain copier paper by using carbon nanotubes to store energy and generate electricity.

The announcement of such a thin battery led some to predict that one day someone would invent printable battery technology. (More from Japan Steps Away from Nuclear Power)

That day has arrived.

A team at Rice University has made a battery from paint. They created a lithium ion battery which they are able to paint onto virtually any surface.
In tests they combined the battery with a small solar cell and found that the system worked as a perfect energy generating unit. In one test the batteries were even able to power light-emitting diodes that spelled out "RICE" for six hours, with a steady 2.4 volts. (More from Ignore the Political Optimism, the Planet is in Trouble)

Neelam Singh, the team leader, said that she can already imagine integrating paintable battery technology withpaintable solar cells.

They have already filed for a patent, and are now looking to use the technology to create batteries that can be connected together like LEGO and attached to anything.


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