Energy stored in a chemical does not leak off like the charge on a battery, making these new fuel-coated nanotube materials a natural for long-term storage of electricity, such as for remote "emergency" sensors or for one-use applications such as arming a missile. Look for fuel-treated nanotube applications in about five years. R.C.J.
MIT researchers are using fuel-coated carbon nanotubes as "fuses" for thermowave electrical power sources, which store energy like a battery but promise an unlimited shelf life. Thermowave power ignites its fuel to produce electricity through a newly discovered technique that combines nanotechnology with combustion waves, a phenomenon discovered more than a century ago. In a process much like lighting a dynamite fuse, igniting one end of a fuel-coated nanotube causes a burn down its length that simultaneously produces enough electrical current to be used as power.
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