The water layers also help store energy more efficiently, with less waste heat.

NCSU envisions this leading to faster acceleration in electric cars — imagine electric sedans that could smoke even the fastest conventional supercars, at least in short stints. You could also see higher-performance storage in renewable energy power grids (important for both storing energy and coping with high demand), and thinner batteries in just about any kind of gadgetry.

The tech isn’t flawless at this stage. In longer charging periods of about 10 minutes, a regular tungsten oxide actually stored more energy. There’s some work to do to avoid compromises, to put it another way. Even so, the technology might be showing up at the right time. EV ranges are becoming good enough that car makers can start devoting more effort to off-the-line acceleration, so you may see more zero-emissions cars that are just as exciting to drive as they are eco-friendly.