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Tech Roundup

November 14, 2008

Plug-in electric cars could store wind and solar power at night.


Putting idle cars to work. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

One of the problems with solar and wind power is figuring out how to store the power at night, or when there’s no wind. Researchers at the University of Michigan think that the millions of plug-in electric cars that will soon be rolling off assembly lines could be one answer. At any given time, most of those cars will be parked, and plugged into the electrical grid. The scientists are looking into using those cars as holding tanks for electricity, trickling power back into grid when they’re idle.

In other technology news, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley Lab have demonstrated how the nucleus of an atom can be used to store computer information. It’s a big step forward in the new science of quantum computing, in which engineers replace silicon microchips with far tinier atoms. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.