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Fast Talk

Per-Ivar Sellergren Talks Electric Power Airplanes

Here comes the next generation of innovators revolutionizing batteries. Per-Ivar Sellergren is helping Volvo put energy storage—both batteries and high-power supercapacitors—in the body panels of cars.

Per Ivar Sellergen
Photo by Christian Aslund

Per-Ivar Sellergren
Senior Research and Development Engineer
Volvo Car Corp., Goeteborg, Sweden

Sellergren, 60, is helping Volvo put energy storage—both batteries and high-power supercapacitors—in the body panels of cars.

"We're developing two types of storage: a battery, mainly for electric vehicles, and supercapacitors, designed primarily for hybrid vehicles. Both can go in the panels of a car, in the door or the hood, for example. Our battery is very, very thin. Each fiber could be a battery cell, and about 5,000 fibers fit in a human hair. Because this technology can spread across a large surface area, it opens up a lot of possibilities for the amount of energy it can store. One potential application is airplanes. If you put batteries in the wings and bodies, you can run a plane with electric power and a small hybrid engine. When the plane is climbing, it would use battery power; when landing, the battery can be recharged with the propeller as the generator."

More Fast Talk: Battery Power
Brian Parsonnet

A version of this article appeared in the September 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.