Just how do you get around a 100-year-old battery design – well maybe the answer for a more efficient, greener and more environmentally friendly battery is in the sea? In the picture, Algae doesn’t make for a good hairstyle, that’s unless your swimming in a lake with your mates I guess, but if there’s one thing for certain it makes batteries made from Algae are better by far.
Algae is amazing stuff, whilst the oceans cover 71% of the Earths surface, Algae produces more than 71% of the Earths oxygen, some scientists it provides up to 87%. The most important living things on our planet are single cell-algae, yet they can grow up to 200 feet long, and as simple as they are, they are the basis of the marine food chain.
Researchers over at the Clemson University and at the Georgia Institute of Technology may have found the answer in the sea with Phaeophyceae otherwise known as brown algae. With over 1500 species of the algae, it is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet, it can grow up to half a meter a day and up 60 meters long; to do this it produces alginates, which are the sugars which help it to grow. But how does that help with making a better battery? What you need is to produce a better binder material within the battery?
The binder is the suspension agent for the silicon or graphite particles that react with the electrolyte within the battery to give you that charge; so better binder, better battery. Like the oceans, salt water acts as a highly efficient kind of electrolyte, in which the brown algae produces tons of alginate, and the great news is that this is easy to extract.
Algae is high in protein, low in fat and contains a number of minerals such as iron and calcium.
So maybe your next mobile phone will some Algae on its touchscreen because your batteries are made from Algae. Brown algae have been around for 100 million years and more, it’s completely safe, super efficient and by using it as a binder it’s possible for the battery capacity to be increased by up to 8 times than that of the current Lithium-ion batteries used in mobile phones.