Sunday , May 19 2024



Candles..! Just not a matter of decoration on your cake…but a new approach to make your electric car’s batteries better.

Candle soot, a simple and inexpensive material, might be able to power batteries used in plug-in hybrid electric cars.The electric currents travel more efficiently through candle soot than they did through most of the carbon materials that are currently used in commercial batteries. The soot contains interconnected carbon nano particles that are well-suited as a conducting material for a powerful battery, and a huge amount of them can be produced by doing nothing more sophisticated or elaborate than burning a candle.

Within the corridors of IIT Hyderabad could lie the answer to saving millions of dollars, providing cheaper energy and finally, our very own competition to the silicon valley’s electric cars.

IIT Hyderabad’s PhD student Dr Manohar kakunuri and his guide Dr Chandrasekhar Sharma have come up with a research paper on how candle soot can play a role in making cheaper car batteries.Their work on candle soot proves that, the carbon nano particles, which  cannot be easily manufactured but can be easily found in candle soot, are interconnected and conduct electricity.

While the world has been going gaga over electric cars, the carbon discovery promises an alternative within the concept of electric cars but one that is cheaper and of course, easily available.

All portable electricity devices like mobile phones have Lithium-ion batteries and for smaller devices, the electrode is usually made out of carbon.Now, when it comes to heavy applications like automobiles, it’s not useful and other expensive processes like metal oxides are used.Currently used electric cars Lithium-ion batteries are very expensive.The use of candle soot, which has carbon nano particles, will change the whole scenario.It leads to about 90% cost reduction…How much can candles cost? The cost of one battery of an electric or hybrid car is about $15,000. 10 kg of candle soot can be gathered from 250 regular sized candles and that can help run a battery that can run for 161 km.As candle soot is recharged, cars that run with this battery can be recharged three times faster than the existing technology.

Tests conducted by charging and then discharging 1,000 times bring in positive results also showing that it can give a stable performance for three years. Yet the tests are carried, possibilities that when the cycle increased further, it could even work for five years or more.

Now the question is can only candle soot do this? And the answer is Yes! The reason is that incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons produces nano-particles which a majority of them are buckey balls (C60).These buckey balls have impurities put inside of them. They have very low resistivity. If the right dopants are used they can even become superconducting at very low temperatures.The candle soot produces enough of these buckey balls to be interconnected to give the very low conductivity (Usually takes about 58% of the material for balls to be continuously interconnected.).

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