I love my smartphone and I can’t live without it, but its bigger drawback is the batter life. I can’t make it last for a full day on heavy usage. Smartphone manufacturers tried really hard to put more juice under the hood of our gadgets, but today’s battery have their limitations. Just imagine a smartphone battery that has 10 times more power than current batteries and that can be charged in just few seconds. Researchers at Virginia Tech have managed to make a breakthrough discovery in this regard: they invented a battery that runs on sugar. According to its developers, this new type of battery is 10 times more power efficient than common lithium-ion batteries that are used in today’s gadgets.
In this discovery, scientists were inspired by the way nature works. Every living organism on Earth generates its energy from glucose. This special battery has a storage density of 596 Ah/kg, which is 10 times higher than traditional batteries. The sugar powered battery can be recharged using a slow absorbing carbohydrate called maltodextrin that is found in foods , including potatoes and corn.
By emulating the way living organs work, the team of researchers manage to create a kind of artificial cell that generates electricity from glucose. The used 13 enzymes and air to produce 24 electrons from one glucose unit. That means 6mA/cm. It’s the same principles found in our human body. So far, no information was released regarding the stability of this type of battery when it’s charged multiple times.
If this technology is adopted, it could be the long-waited solution for battery disposal, a process that has become a thread to human health and to the environment.
One of the researchers involved in the project, YH Percival Zhang, an associate professor of biological systems engineering, says the technology will be completed and ready to be implemented in about three years. This discovery is especially important for future gadgets (smartphones), but I can almost see its importance in the development of future electric vehicles. So far, the biggest problem of today’s electric cars is the low mileage per charge, so this technology could be beneficial in that department as well.
image sources: www.vtnews.vt.edu, www.impressivemagazine.com