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?
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.
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. Neat.