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Composites: Energy-saving carbon-fibre prototype found

A prototype of a multifunctional carbon fibre-reinforced composite that could store and discharge electricity has been developed and patented by a research team at Imperial College London (ICL, London / UK; www.imperial.ac.uk). Auto maker Volvo, automotive OEM suppliers Hella and Advanced Composites Group and a Swedish battery manufacturer are participating in the three-year, USD 4.7m EU-based project initially focused on extending the range of hybrid vehicles.

The researchers see far-reaching energy-saving potential for the new composite - in which the polymer has not been disclosed. Reducing the number of batteries needed would help to further trim vehicle weight, says the project coordinator.

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