Saturday, 27 February 2010

Algae-Based Batteries in the Works? Paper Thin Algae Batteries to Power Future Gadgets

There comes a time in everyone s life when regular batteries would
simply not suffice. That s when such algae-based batteries should be
employed, but are we ready for this brand new technology?We re stuck
using AA batteries that don t really measure up to our expectations, not
to mention our disappointment when it comes to cell phone and laptop
batteries. So would a battery made of green algae be good enough? Well
at least the environ
ment won t suffer as much when we dispose of batteries made of grass
that grows underwater, will it?
Scientists have found that the regular green algae, called Cladophora,
also known for that algae smell we have to deal on certain beaches,
makes a special kind of cellulose. What s particularly amazing is the
large cellulose surface area, about 100 times of the cellulose found in
paper. Researchers were able to play with the conducting polymer and
make it recharge, hold and discharge electricity.
Maria Stromme, nanotechnologist at the Uppsala University in Sweden had
this to say about the algae-based battery:
We have long hoped to find some sort of constructive use for the
material from algae blooms and have now been shown this to be. This
creates new possibilities for large-scale production of environmentally
friendly, cost-effective, lightweight energy storage systems.
That doesn t mean that our future handsets and notebooks will come with
cellulose-based batteries made of green algae. In fact, the researchers
behind this technology are looking for new ways of using it like clothes
and wallpaper, although nothing is really certain at this point.
And although they don t want to replace the lithium battery just yet, it
looks like the algae battery would hold 50 to 200% more charge than
similar conducting polymer batteries. They would recharge a lot faster
compared to standard rechargeable batteries. Instead of an hour they
would be done in 11 seconds to 8 minutes. The algae battery only showed
a 6% loss of charge after 100 charging cycles while similar polymer
batteries show a 50% loss after 60 charging cycles.
I don t know about you but I wouldn t mind seeing those algae batteries
power up my laptop right now. How much would one such battery cost?Read
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