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Sugar-powered Batteries for Smartphones within Three Years

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sugar-powered batteryIf you are keen about going green on every front of life, but are a little upset because regarding your smartphone battery you cannot do anything green, your distress is soon going to end, as some US scientists are able to find out a “biobattery” for smartphones which is powered by sugar. The report of the researchers’ work has been published in the latest issue of Nature Communications.

The team of researchers in the Virginia Tech University has claimed that the sugar-powered battery stores 10 times more energy than that in a lithium-ion battery of equal size, used in smartphones. The scientists have expressed hopes that these batteries can come in use in the next three years. What’s more, recharging will be just a matter of adding some sugar!

Y.H. Percival Zhang, who is a professor of biological engineering at the university, told that sugar is a perfect energy-storing compound in Nature, so, it is just logical that they (the researchers) try to harness the natural power in an eco-friendly way to produce a battery.

The “biobattery” which emits energy from sugar rather than chemicals like lithium, found in batteries used in today’s electronic gadgets, could take place of conventional rechargeable or disposable batteries and is cheaper, biodegradable, refillable and more eco-friendly. The 10-times higher capacity of the biobattery to produce energy could greatly expand the battery life in smartphones, tablets as well as electric cars.

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Potato Turned to Battery!

The biobattery operates just like other kinds of fuel cell, breaking down a fuel and emitting energy in the process. It gets power from a partially digested starch – the foodstuff contained in high-energy plant-based foods, like potatoes, which are metabolized into sugar in the digestive tract.

The starch is metabolized into a complex sugar named maltodextrin (available already in food additives), which is further metabolized by a chain of 13 enzymes. In this process, a significant number of electrons are released which can be utilized to produce a current, which can power electronic gadgets. The chief byproduct is water and so, it is eco-friendly.

Zhang told that they are freeing all electron charges in the sugar solution gradually step-by-step making use of an enzyme cascade.

One more advantage of the biobattery is the fuel (sugar solution) used in it is neither inflammable nor explosive, unlike that used in other fuel cell technologies, like methanol and hydrogen fuel cells.

Zhang and his team has claimed that the new battery could be installed in and run some of the countless electronic gadgets like cell phones, tablets and portable video games, within as soon as three years, and could be refilled cheaply and easily like an ink cartridge.

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