If we’re trying to make the world a greener place, moving away from alkaline batteries might be the first step. That might be easier now that there are people developing wooden batteries.
Liangbing Hu and Nicholas Weadock from the University of Maryland are working on a “wooden” battery. Their idea is to use natural fibrous structures present in the tree to excite charged particles and create an electrical current.
The batteries also replace the commonly used lithium with sodium. Since sodium is not as efficient at holding charge you won’t find these batteries used in cellphones but they could prove to be useful in storing large amounts of energy from sources like the sun and wind.
The “wooden” batteries are made from fibers that are 1,000 times thinner than a sheet of paper. These fibers are woven into thin sheets which are then coated with a thin layer of tin that helps the current flow through the device. This is then placed inside a metal disk.
Wooden batteries and lithium batteries both used charged ions to create currents, but the wood and sodium combination is more abundant and cost-effective. The team is also looking at the possibility of creating a long-lasting battery that is also an environmentally friendly source.
Image: Flickr/Auntie P