The U.S. develops sugar fuel cells with 10 times the capacity density of lithium batteries

by:CTECHi     2021-07-25

Virginia Tech (VirginiaTech) announced that it has developed a fuel cell using polysaccharides. The capacity density of this kind of battery is more than 10 times higher than that of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. The university stated that 'it can reach the level of use on mobile phones and tablet computers within 3 years.' The battery was developed by associate professor Zhang Yiheng and others at Virginia Tech.

The battery developed this time uses polysaccharides such as Maltodextrin obtained by partial hydrolysis of starch and oxygen in the air to generate electricity and water. Using 13 synthetic enzymes instead of platinum (Pt) as a catalyst, the sugar is oxidized to extract electrons.

The high capacity density is said to be due to the high efficiency of these enzymes in extracting electrons. Specifically, the glucose constituting maltodextrin can extract 24 electrons each.

Currently, the output power density of this battery is 0.8mW/cm2, and the current density is 6mA/cm2. When using 15% maltodextrin, the capacity density is 596Ah/kg, and the energy density is 298Wh/kg. According to reports, these values u200bu200bare 'much higher than the 42Ah/kg and 150Wh/kg of lithium rechargeable batteries.' However, the output voltage of this battery is 0.5V lower than the 3.6V of the lithium rechargeable battery.

Although the capacity and energy density of the battery are high this time, the enzyme has a slower speed of action, so there is no danger of explosion or fire. This is similar to the use of hydrogen and methanol. Ordinary fuel cells are different.

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