Plant virus makes lithium ion batteries last 10x longer

first_imgHow would you like the battery in your smartphone to last ten times longer? It would be great wouldn’t it? No charging for a whole week, talking for hours safe in the knowledge you still have a few days charge left and still juice left to play Angry Birds every lunch time.It’s the kind of battery life we all dream of, but also think is going to take a major technology breakthrough to achieve. Well, it looks like it has already happened and doesn’t require radical new battery tech after all.Researchers at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, have discovered a common plant virus allows for large increases in battery life using existing lithium ion batteries. The virus in question is the Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), which attacks both tobacco and a large range of vegetables.Because TMV is a virus it is very good at self-renewal, and the researchers have used that fact to incorporate it into lithium ion batteries. The small rod shape of the TMV is coated in conductive thin film which then becomes the battery’s active material. Because the structure of TMV is so intricate it’s possible to store a lot more energy in the same space which accounts for the 10-fold increase claims.The news gets better as in order to create such batteries you need infected vegetation which would otherwise be a waste product. The manufacturing process is also cheap to do and not wasteful, with one pound of infected plant leaves producing one pound of TMV. The batteries can also be easily scaled up meaning we could one day see them used in industry and potentially electric cars.Read more at PhysorgMatthew’s OpinionI’ve often wished for a laptop with a 40-hour battery in it, and now I may actually get to use one in a few years when this makes it to market.It sounds too good to be true, especially when you consider it is allowing for the use of an otherwise unwanted waste vegetation product. But this could be the next evolution of the lithium-ion battery we all come to rely on.last_img

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