…or in your PDA, or in your laptop, or in your kids’ toys…
According to an article in Technology Review, the uber-geeks at MIT are working on turbines the size of a dime, spin at over a million RPM’s, and may one day provide power for the gadgets you use.
A micro gas turbine engine… could run for ten or more hours on a container of diesel fuel slightly larger than a D battery; when the fuel cartridge ran out, a new one could be easily swapped in. Each disposable cartridge would pack as much energy as a few heavy handfuls of lithium-ion batteries. As a result, a small pack of the cheap and light cartridges could power a PDA or cell phone through several days of heavy usage, no wall-outlet recharging required — a highly attractive feature for soldiers in remote locations or travelers. What’s more, the miniature turbine takes up about a quarter of the volume of a typical cell-phone battery.
I would think that these mini jet engines could use just about anything for fuel; JP-4, diesel, kerosene, biodiesel, alcohol, etc… One of the big hurdles to overcome — aside from just getting parts that small to spin that fast without self-destructing — is going to be waste heat. Imagine carrying a tiny little furnace around in your pocket… Maybe a teeny tiny air conditioner?
If you want to snoop on some real geek conversation, don’t miss the discussion page for the article.