Nature and Environement
Swedish latest research points to future battery made of wood for sustainable energy
Monday, 26 March 2012
There is still a vacuum in the a growing technological sector - lack
good storage capability for electricity generated from solar and wind
power so that it cane be used in a future time as needed for example,
during nights and still days.
Many of today's batteries, that would have been used to store these
energies, are inefficient. The main problems being associated with that
is they use rare earth metals and pollutants such as lead. But now
Swedish researchers are producing what could be an environmentally
friendly rechargeable battery from a substance found in wood.
“The reason we set out to try and develop new ones is that with the
development of organic electronics, which makes electricity from
sunlight, there is the need for a matching technique for storing the
electrical energy,” said Olle Inganäs, professor of bio molecular and
organic electronics, Linköping University, Sweden.
The substance that scientists have discovered that could be used in
storing electricity comes from trees. It's called lignin, representing
about a quarter of the wood content. The study took advantage of a
sulphuric process, a waste product from pulp production that would
otherwise be burnt. From the lignin in the pulp remnants bred a
material that in itself does not conduct electricity, but has the
ability to store the charged electrons and protons.
The view that metals conduct electricity and wood rather insulates are
perhaps surprising to learn of the new development. But in the
photosynthesis of green plants, it is just carbon-based molecules that
transport charged particles and combining the energy of the sun – is a
reasoning that actually inspired the researchers to use lignin, which
are chemical compounds that include molecules that convert the energy
Attempts have been made to produce batteries in a similar manner,
already 25 years ago, and lignin was not used in them before – but the
effect is much higher in the new study.
If scientists manage to create a wood-based battery, its advantages
could be that it would be cheap, biodegradable and one would not need
to use rare earth or environmentally harmful substances.
Although it is far from a finished battery, Olle Inganäs thinks it is
possible to feed the planet with the technology, once it is mature –
for now it's very immature so far.
By Scancomark.se Team
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