Fuel cell and battery improvements

Alternative fuels Octane fuel cells Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have invented a fuel cell that will run on pure Octane (C8H18), emitting only water and carbon dioxide as exhaust. The fuel cell promises a high efficiency, about 50%, which it achieves by making the system a combined hydrogen reformer and fuel cell. The waste heat from the fuel cell helps power the reformer. The system needs high temperature to operate so is likely to be used as part of a battery hybrid system initially. More “traditional” fuel cells such as those offered by Ballard Systems are far further along the development cycle, but require a hydrogen infrastructure to operate.
Li-ion Batteries Altair Technologies have created a new type of Li-ion battery which has exceptionally high surface area. This allows the battery to be charged substantially quicker as well as discharge quickly as well. Broadening the range of applications substantially. Li-ion type batteries suffer from a limited number of recharge cycles, typically around 400 and this new type of battery would allow for up to 20,000 cycles. These type of batteries could well be used in hybrid vehicles. New Scientist has more detail.