Engineers create battery made of wood


Gather around the bonfire guys, I have good news.

Dr. Lianbing Hu heads the group that developed a new battery made with wood at the Energy Research Center at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Aye, wood. Cool, huh?

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Most of us know how to make a simple battery with a potato and some wires but if this approach could be scaled up to the needs of a big and consuming society, how awesome would that be?

The “wood” is actually microscopic wood fibers that are fashioned into thin sheets coated with carbon nanotubes and packed into small metal discs. Those wood batteries use sodium ions, rather than the lithium ions that are found in the batteries of cellphones and it turns out that wood is a good medium for sodium ions to move around in, thus, creating an electric current.

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“I think this wood-based storage can play a very important role as a low-cost solution,” Liangbing Hu, head of the battery project says.

Wood and sodium are comparatively cheap and right now the battery is just a prototype. Hu and his colleagues will need to tweak the materials before they have something commercially viable. But they hope the new batteries can be scaled up so they’ll be useful for storing the vast amounts of energy generated by solar arrays or wind farms.

N.

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