Sugar-Powered Battery Said To Last 10-Times Longer, To Be Released In 3 Years

/ 6 years ago


Sugar is the best biological source of energy. We need it to be active in just about anything, and not to mention its effect on kids when is almost bedtime! But recently, it has been discovered that with sugar, we can even break the barrier of lithium-ion batteries as well.

The chief researcher at Virginia Tech, Y.H. Percival Zhang, says they have created a sugar-powered fuel cell that has a density of 596 amp-hours/kilo, or to put it plainly, it has a capacity to deliver electrical energy and last longer than normal lithium-ion batteries. Zhang also notes that the fuel cell can be refilled with a solution of maltodextrine, a product which we normally find in sodas and candy.

Sugar and its properties for being a great energy source are not breaking news, since we used them throughout the ages and know fairly well what we expect to get out of it (namely a heap of energy and sleepless nights), but unless it is administered to a biological organism, it is useless. There have been attempts throughout the ages to make a device that can simulate an organism in order to decompose the glucose, fructose and other energy source properties from sugar in order to use it in non-biological forms, but all attempts failed.

However, Zhang and his fellow researchers at Virginia Tech have said to been successful in building a high-tech fuel cell which uses an enzymatic pathway to create a lot of electricity form glucose. Currently, the information on how stable this prototype is and how many refills can it take is not clear. But what is indeed interesting is the fact that the researchers did not immobilize the enzymes which help in decaying the sugar as in past attempts.

The prototype ‘biobattery’ uses 13 enzymes and air with an outcome of 24 electrons for a single glucose unit. There were some other mathematical calculations present, but to describe it in plain language, the outcome received forms a battery which can last 10 times longer than a normal lithium-ion battery. And the best part is that we get green energy, which is safer than the latter battery and most importantly, cheaper!

Besides smartphones and mobile gadgets, Zhang mentions of other areas in which the ‘biobattery’ aims to make itself present, such as implants, computers and other energy-hungry devices. But Zhang underlines implants more than everything else. Since the energy is not harmful to living organisms, it could ‘feed on the glucose in your bloodstream’, which in turn can provide an endless supply of safe electricity for implants inside your body.

Thank you Extreme Tech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Extreme Tech

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