We often hear about innovative energy storage technologies that are inspired by some sort of fruit or a vegetable, like the pomegranate battery, for example. Typically, scientists find a specific property of the bio-product, and implement it somehow into an element inside the energy storage device, which behaves in a similar way to the natural thing.
However, it is not that often that the we hear of a bio-component to be integrated into the battery. Therefore, there is no wonder that when there is a technology made of the real thing, it circulates the news pretty fast.
One such development comes from a team of scientists at University of California, Riverside. In their quest to find a solution to the deteriorating anodes of lithium-ion batteries, the guys stumbled across something quite remarkable- the Portobello mushrooms.
The team discovered that this particular type of mushrooms can replace graphite in anodes perfectly. The mushrooms have a very specific porous structure, which, unlike graphite, allows much easier transfer and storage of energy. In addition, because of the high potassium salt concentration, the battery was found to be much more durable and much less prone to deterioration. In fact, its performance improved over time, because of an activation of blind pores within the carbon architecture.
The new Portobello battery is much cheaper to produce, much more resistant to damage and very environmentally friendly. Considering the huge demand for batteries these days, created by the numerous technologies of all sizes, graphite is soon to became a highly unsustainable component. The new battery therefore marks the first steps towards developing a much greener and much better replacement technology.
More details about the technology and its parameters can be found in the study published in the journal Scientific Reports, with lead author Brennan Campbell, a material science grad student.
Image (c) University of California