Turbine Chip to Replace Batteries?


Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on a gas-turbine engine — about the size of a ten pence piece — that could fit inside a microchip and potentially produce enough energy to drive a laptop or mobile phone.

The turbine is part of a development project called MEMs or Microelectricalmechanical Systems and is built using etched silicon wafers — using a similar process to that used to manufacture microchips. The engine is made up of a spinning turbine, compressor and combustion chamber housed inside a stack of 6 wafers. In theory the micro generator could produce upwards of 10 watts of power.  So far the MIT team have succeeded in fabricating the individual parts; the trick now is to put them together and see if it works, and presumably work out ways of keeping it cool (the gases it generates are hot enough melt steel), and where to put the fuel tank…

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