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Friday, 24 January 2014 10:52

Sugar coated battery could hit shops

Written by Nick Farrell



Spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down

A sugar-powered battery could be powering smart phones and tablets in three years.

Researchers from the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have powered a device using partially digested starch found in foods like potatoes. They think that it could extend the battery life of devices such as smart phones by ten times more than the lithium-ion smart phone batteries.

The battery uses a synthetic-enzyme pathway to break down the sugar with the help of partially digested starch. If it does ever take off it could provide a cheap, refillable and more environmentally friendly way to power technology.

In a press release by Virginia Tech associate professor of biological systems engineering Percival Zhang said: "Sugar is a perfect energy-storage compound in nature. So it's only logical that we try to harness this natural power in an environmentally friendly way to produce a battery.”

High-energy plants like potatoes are broken down into sugar called maltodextrin which is then further broken down. The process releases electrons which are used to generate a current which can power electronic devices and only create a by-product of water. It could be a matter of time before they also power objects like cars, but if Big Oil finds out about that then Virginia Tech could find itself bought out and is scientists killed off.

Nick Farrell

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