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An environmentally friendly battery made from wood

Submitted by: Odio @ 08:14 AM | Friday, January 29, 2016 | (url: http://phys.org/n...)

Taking inspiration from trees, scientists have developed a battery made from a sliver of wood coated with tin that shows promise for becoming a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly energy source. Their report on the device1,000 times thinner than a sheet of paperappears in the journal Nano Letters.

But don't try it at home yet the components in the battery tested by scientists at the University of Maryland are a thousand times thinner than a piece of paper. Using sodium instead of lithium, as many rechargeable batteries do, makes the battery environmentally benign. Sodium doesn't store energy as efficiently as lithium, so you won't see this battery in your cell phoneinstead, its low cost and common materials would make it ideal to store huge amounts of energy at once such as solar energy at a power plant.

Existing batteries are often created on stiff bases, which are too brittle to withstand the swelling and shrinking that happens as electrons are stored in and used up from the battery. Liangbing Hu, Teng Li and their team found that wood fibers are supple enough to let their sodium-ion battery last more than 400 charging cycles, which puts it among the longest lasting nanobatteries.
Lead author Hongli Zhu and other team members noticed that after charging and discharging the battery hundreds of times, the wood ended up wrinkled but intact. Computer models showed that that the wrinkles effectively relax the stress in the battery during charging and recharging, so that the battery can survive many cycles.

"Pushing sodium ions through tin anodes often weaken the tin's connection to its base material," said Li, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. "But the wood fibers are soft enough to serve as a mechanical buffer, and thus can accommodate tin's changes. This is the key to our long-lasting sodium-ion batteries."


01-29-16 - 08:17 AM
It's gonna catch on fire
01-29-16 - 08:32 AM
So it's 1000x thinner than paper but we won't see it in our cell phones.

I assume that means either the energy density is crap (for a nanobattery) or that the number of charge cycles is far too limiting. Still, neat I guess.
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