Revolution of Renewable Batteries
Everyone uses batteries at some point in their lives. Whether it is for your Game Boy, flashlight, or an electric can opener of some sort, batteries are very useful in our lives during this 21st century, electronic based culture. However, most people do not even fathom where the batteries even come from. So there is a chance that some people will be shocked to find out that some new kinds of renewable batteries are made with trash. But when two European scientists combined chemicals and waste, there was a way to make batteries more environmentally friendly.
Grzegorz Milczarek from Poznan University of Technology in Poznan, Poland, and Olle Inganäs from Linköping University in Linköping, Sweden created a new design that is made up of paper byproducts and other fiber-heavy waste. The exact trash used in the design is lignin, which is a compound deprived from wood in the paper making process. During the paper-making process, wood is chopped in to small pieces and then cooked. When the wood finishes cooking, there is a liquid
substance called “brown liquor” that is lingering, which has lots of lignin. Milczarek and Inganäs combined lignin from brown liquor, with a large polymer called polypyrrole to form a renewable battery cathode.
When constructing the design, Milczarek and Inganäs looked at the different designs to see what was more efficient and better for the environment. They realized that battery cathodes are usually made up of metals such as nickel, lithium, cobalt and manganese, which are not renewable. They decided to choose lignin because it is the second-most universal polymer produced by living organisms. It also is much more renewable and is almost always available due to the paper industry.
Milczarek and Inganäs said they are working on a way to be able to mass-produce their design of environmentally-friendly and renewable battery cathodes. But for now, we will work with the battery cathodes we have right now as we wait for the next revolution of the battery.
For more information, go to: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=rechargeable-battery-green .