While lithium batteries have been the standard as small, portable power sources for decades now, their difficulty to the environment is undeniable. Now, researchers from Uppsala have used organic materials to create a new and effective battery that requires a great deal less environmental trouble.
According to sciencedaily.com, lithium itself is a rare element on Earth, and the process of extracting it is arduous. Other chemicals involved in traditional batteries are not only rare but also require toxic chemicals to aid in the extraction process that makes them viable to the battery design. The premise behind the new batteries, which are constructed in part from pine resin and alfalfa, involves recycling the lithium from older batteries and continuing to utilize it, with help from the more-amenable biomaterials.
An astonishing 99% of power was recovered from the "spent" lithium batteries when used in conjunction with the new biomaterial battery design. Further developments in the future may even be able to improve on this, making lithium-ion batteries ever-more attractive options for sparking and storing energy in the future. This could be beneficial in particular for the electric automobile industry, or the storage systems required for implementation of large-scale solar power.
Daniel Brandell, Senior Lecturer of Uppsala University's chemistry department, explained, "The use of organic materials from renewable sources makes it possible to solve several of the problems that would arise from a huge rise in the use of lithium batteries. But above all, it's a major step forward that, to a high degree and in a simple, environment-friendly way, the lithium from these batteries can be recovered. These solutions are also potentially very cost-effective."
Thus, recycling our rare-earth material and mixing it with regular-earth material might just be the perfect way to keep us powered up for years to come.