By Cat DiStasio
We all love our battery-powered gadgets, but portable power cells can be devastating to the environment. Fortunately, recent developments have proven that greener batteries are coming in the not-too-distant future. Engineers are replacing toxic components with less harmful materials ranging from leaves to sugar. Other innovations on the rise look to nature to help make batteries last longer, perform better and leave less of a trace once they've been discarded. This gold nanowire-based battery, for instance, was created by accident and could make lithium ion batteries obsolete, while this single-use battery dissolves in water when its job is done, making it easier to reuse its components.could be heated to 1,000 degrees Celsius to destroy the existing carbon structures, and then introduced the electrolytes to the leaf's natural pores for absorption. The result is a plant-based anode that performs similarly to traditional battery components. Research is ongoing to test other natural materials, such as peat moss, banana peels and melon skins in search of the nature-based battery of the future.