Latest in Science

Image credit:

What if trees could be used as batteries?

Sharif Sakr
March 23, 2012
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Yes, our bark-skinned friends are nice and beautiful and we shouldn't mess with them too much. But here's the thing: we already chop them down for paper, so why not use their spare woody meat for batteries too? Like previous attempts at organic energy storage, it all hinges on mimicking photosynthesis. Up to the a third of the biomass of a tree is a pulpy substance called lignin, which is a by-product from paper production and which contains electro-chemically active molecules called quinones. With a bit of processing, Professor Olle Inganäs at Linköping University in Sweden reckons he can turn lignin into a thin film that can be used as cathode in a battery, and he believes it's efficient enough to start industrial-style development of the technology. "Nature solved the problem long ago", he says, and "[Lignin is] a source that never ends". Meanwhile, if you imagine Inganäs as having a long white beard and cloak, then, er, snap.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Live PlayStation 5 photos reveal a truly giant console

Live PlayStation 5 photos reveal a truly giant console

View
Microsoft releases a final preview for Windows 10's October update

Microsoft releases a final preview for Windows 10's October update

View
Verizon's $30 Unlimited Plus tablet plan offers 5G access

Verizon's $30 Unlimited Plus tablet plan offers 5G access

View
MIT algorithm finds subtle connections between art pieces

MIT algorithm finds subtle connections between art pieces

View
Sony apologizes for botched PlayStation 5 pre-orders

Sony apologizes for botched PlayStation 5 pre-orders

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr