It would be a great idea to make batteries out of crab shells
The world can make more sustainable batteries with an extraordinary resource: crustaceans. in paper Published this week in Matter, researchers say They made a biodegradable battery from a substance found in crab and lobster shells.
An important part of how batteries work is an electrolyte placed between the two electrodes at either end, which helps the ions move back and forth between the positive and negative terminals to generate electricity. Conventional batteries are based on lead or lithium (for example, lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries), but these batteries come with a host of issues.
weWe’d need a massive amount of batteries to get rid of fossil fuels, but Conventional electrolytes bring with them a host of new issues:can be ey Incredibly complicated to recycleElectrolytes are not biodegradable and can be dangerous in their own right, sometimes exploding or starting fires. In the case of lithium batteries, there is also the issue of disruptive mining practices that the world may have to contend with in order to Get enough lithium for our expected energy needs.
Enter crustaceans. Crabs and lobsters have a substance Its exoskeletons are called chitin, which helps keep its shell tough and strong. Chitin can also be converted into a derivative called chitosan, which the researchers combined with zinc to produce a new electrolyte to power a battery that they say remains almost entirely energy efficient after 400 hours of use. What’s more, unlike traditional battery electrolytes, this sticky crab will break down soil in about five months, leaving behind zinc – which can be recycled -.
“In the future, I hope that all components in batteries will be biodegradable,” said lead author Liangbing Hu, director of the University of Maryland Center for Materials Innovation, He said In a press release. “Not only the material itself but also the biomaterial manufacturing process.”
If any lobster reading this gets nervous, don’t worry – there are other sources of chitin in the world. The scales of crustaceans are particularly rich in chitin, but chitin can also be found in the walls of fungi and parts of cuttlefish.
Alas, There is no single lab test for biodegradable lobster power pack It means that all problems with dirty battery are solved. “When you develop new materials for battery technologies, there tends to be a huge gap between promising lab results and demonstrable and scalable technology,” Graham Newton, a professor of materials chemistry at the University of Nottingham who was not involved in the study, said. He told the Guardian newspaper.
However, Newton said the study was encouraging. “There are still quite a few challenges to be faced in the development of zinc-ion batteries, but basic studies like this are very important,” he said. We can’t be too smug about that.