It was in 1901 when Thomas Alva Edison first invented the nickel-iron battery. This was only one of his many inventions. We can also mark to his credit pioneering work around what we now call record players, motion pictures, and long lasting electric light bulbs. Where would we be without Edison's fine work?


Edison's early work as a telegraph operator definitely shaped his energy related discoveries in later life; discoveries which have gone on to become defining episodes in the way we live today. I sometimes wonder what influences in society today will spur our future Edison's of tomorrow?


Scientists at Stanford University have now developed an ultrafast version of Edison's nickel-iron battery that's capable of charging and discharging in seconds.


The Edison battery was an amazing discovery in the early 1900s, very robust sometimes lasting up to 20 years (of charging and discharging) and able to operate in some quite harsh conditions, it proved to be very popular in its time. The early batteries did have one or two negative features which lead to their gradual decommission, but because of the batteries ability to cope with harsh treatment and withstand severe conditions such as temperature the nickel-iron battery is making a comeback in applications such as wind and solar power systems.


The scientists at Stanford [Wang et al., nature Comms. doi:10.1038/ncomms 1921] have managed to increase the charging and discharging rate by almost 1000 times. This new version could breathe new life in to an old battery and help to power electric vehicles of tomorrow. Thomas Edison would be pleased I think to see these new developments.