Greenhouse Powerhouse: Cleaner, Stronger Batteries Energize Organically

Power sources of the future will be a lot more eco-friendly thanks to recent discoveries in the fabrication of batteries. New water-based batteries developed by a team at USC last longer than traditional lithium-ion batteries and can be created at a tenth of the cost.

The batteries will be particularly useful as alternative forms of energy become more popular, as the charge gathered from various natural sources requires retaining. Sri Narayan, a USC chemistry professor and co-inventor of the new batteries, explained to www.phys.org that, "'Mega-scale' energy storage is a critical problem in the future of the renewable energy, requiring inexpensive and eco-friendly solutions."

Narayan and his team, after much experimentation, discovered that oxidized organic compounds called "quinones" that naturally aid plants, fungi, and bacteria in photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Their capability for energy transfer is critical to the new battery design, which enables the quinones to become electroactive after being dissolved in water.

The batteries have an estimated lifespan of 15 years and can be built in a variety of sizes. Despite being organic, they are still likely not safe to lick.


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