Environmentally Friendly Wooden Battery Can Last Longer

By Shinji Tutoru

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, MD, USA. Scientists were able to develop a new kind of battery made from a sliver of wood, which is about 1,000 times thinner than paper coated with tin. At the same time, it is a more environmentally friendly alternative which is more efficient and promises to last much longer.

Instead of using lithium, the scientists behind the wooden battery used sodium to make it environmentally friendly. This new type of battery is not meant for electronic gadgets, like smart phones, that usually use lithium batteries. Unlike lithium, sodium will not be able to store as much energy. However, its materials are low-cost and common and it will be able to store more energy at once, making it more suitable for solar energy and for power plants.

The developers behind this new technology were inspired by wood fibers in a tree. These fibers hold mineral-rich water which makes them ideal for storing liquid electrolytes. The wood fibers act as the base and an active part of the battery.

As the battery is used, the electrons stored within are used up and undergo shrinkage. This shrinkage is fatal for existing batteries due to their stiff and brittle base. But the new wood fibers are supple enough to last up to 400 charging cycles in a sodium-ion battery.

The group of scientists working on the wooden battery project is led by Hongli Zhu and his team from the University of Maryland. They also claim that the key to the long-lasting sodium-ion batteries is the softness of the wood fibers which serves as a mechanical buffer that makes it strong enough to accommodate changes in the tin wrapped around it.

Invention Sodium-Ion Wooden Battery
Organization Sodium-Ion Wooden Battery
Researcher Hongli Zhu & Team
Field(s) Energy Storage, Sustainable energy, batteries, lithium-ion, sodium, sodium-ion, wood fibers
Further Information http://phys.org/news/2013-06-environmentally-friendly-battery-wood.html#inlRlv

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