Now, battery that runs on sugar
A researcher has developed a battery that runs on sugar and has an unmatched energy density, a development that could help replace conventional batteries with cheaper, refillable, and biodegradable ones.
Y.H. Percival Zhang, an associate professor of biological systems engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering, said that while other sugar batteries have been developed, this one has an energy density and order of magnitude higher than others, allowing it to run longer before needing to be refueled.
He said that in about three years, his new battery could be running some of the cell phones, tablets, video games, and the myriad other electronic gadgets that require power in our energy-hungry world.
Zhang and his colleagues constructed a non-natural synthetic enzymatic pathway that strip all charge potentials from the sugar to generate electricity in an enzymatic fuel cell.
Then, low-cost biocatalyst enzymes are used as catalyst instead of costly platinum, which is typically used in conventional batteries.
Like all fuel cells, the sugar battery combines fuel - in this case, maltodextrin, a polysaccharide made from partial hydrolysis of starch - with air to generate electricity and water as the main byproducts.
The findings have been published in the journal Nature Communications.
(Posted on 22-01-2014)