“Sugar-powered biobatteries could serve as next-generation green power sources, particularly for portable electronics.,” Zhiguang Zhu, Tsz Kin Tam, Fangfang Sun, Chun You & Y. -H. Percival Zhang. The aforementioned list of authors published the article, “A High-Energy-Density Sugar Biobattery Based on a Synthetic Enzymatic Pathway” in Nature Communications. Rechargeable batteries after time cannot hold a charge and end up as toxic waste. It’s not a far stretch to believe that billions of batteries are thrown out each year causing distress to the environment and human health. The sugar battery is a biodegradable alternative, which is non-explosive and non-flammable. Ideally the sugar battery will be refueled by adding more sugar, similar to the way ink cartridges are refilled with ink. In fact the sugar battery may last up to 10 times longer than current lithium-ion batteries. The Virginia Tech University team is extracting as much energy as possible out of sugar and converting it to electricity, making it more powerful than any previously made sugar battery. That’s all fine and dandy but is it practical? The sugar battery wouldn’t be a typical AA battery, rather a fuel cell, which means it would emit CO2 and water. These details are what the Virginia Tech research team will work on for the next three years as well as, increasing the lifetime and power of the battery.
The future is full of hope for the sugar battery. Hope that it can power our iPhones and Kindles. How sweet would that be?
"The World's" audio interview with Zhang about the sugar battery.