Moldy bread made of lithium battery: 90% capacity is still charged and discharged 200 times

by:CTECHi     2021-07-05

You may not know that moldy bread hiding in a hidden corner of the kitchen can actually help synthesize lithium-ion battery materials.

The research team of the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom recently published a research result in the academic journal CurrentBiology, using the green on moldy bread The fungus (scientific name Neurospora crassa) fixes metal manganese and iron through a biomineralization process, and then is carbonized at a high temperature of 300°C to obtain electrode materials that can make lithium-ion batteries and capacitors. This research is the first to apply the fungal biomineralization process to the manufacture of electrode materials.

About 90 years ago, moldy bread was at the core of one of the most important medical discoveries of the last century. In 1928, British bacteriologist Alexander Fleming discovered that a certain secretion of fungi on moldy bread had antibacterial effects. This antibacterial substance was later called penicillin, the world's first antibiotic.

For a long time, the research team of Dundee University has been committed to the study of how to use fungi as a commonly used model organism in biological research. Previous experiments have proved that the fungus has a miraculous transformation function. It converts toxic lead and uranium into more stable materials through the process of biomineralization.

The manganese oxide of carbonized fungi produced by the biomineralization process is an ideal material for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries and capacitors.

The scientific research team mixed Neurospora crassa with a certain amount of manganese chloride and other substances for experiments. After a period of time, they found that the surface of the fungal mycelium was covered with a lot of manganese carbonate. Then, the resulting mixture was heat-treated at 300°C to obtain a carbon material containing manganese oxide.

'We tested the electrochemical performance of this carbonized fungus mixture in supercapacitors and lithium-ion batteries, and the results showed that it has very good electrochemical properties.' Professor Geoffrey Gadd of the study said. The material exhibits good cycle stability. Compared with other manganese oxides in lithium-ion batteries, the material can still maintain more than 90% of the battery capacity after 200 charge-discharge cycles.

Other research aimed at improving the performance of lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors has focused on the use of alternative materials, such as carbon nanotubes and other manganese oxides. But researchers at Dundee University have opened up a more sustainable way of electrode production by using fungi. 'Fungal biomineralization has huge application potential in the synthesis of biomaterials, so it also provides a new type of biotechnology idea for the production of sustainable electrochemical materials.' Professor Gadd said.

Professor Gadd said that the team will continue to explore the application of fungi in the production of other valuable metal carbides. In addition, he also believes that this method can also be applied to recover rare elements in other compounds.

According to Xinhua News Agency, Chinese researchers have also participated in the research.

Lei Lixu, a professor of chemistry at Southeast University who has been engaged in battery research for a long time, said in a telephone interview with the interface news reporter that the performance of the battery is not only determined by the cycle stability, but also involves many The consideration of indicators, such as specific data of discharge capacity, battery voltage, etc. 'I think the academic value of this research is greater than the practical value.' Lei Lixu said that the chemical reaction speed of this research is too slow, the time cost is too high, and there is still a long way to go before industrialization.

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