Virginia Tech makes a breakthrough in green technology

January 23, 2014 0 By Tami Hood

Research team develops new battery that uses sugar as an energy storage medium

Virginia Polytechnic Institute - Green TechnologyA team of researchers from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University have developed a new battery that runs on simple sugars. Researchers suggest that their battery could be a major breakthrough in energy storage technology. Energy storage has been a problematic issue for several years and this issue has become more pronounced as renewable energy has gained popularity. Modern energy grids are not built to accommodate the energy produced by clean technologies, and much of the electrical power that is produced by wind turbines, solar panels, and fuel cells is lost in translation.

New battery boasts of high energy density

Sugar batteries are nothing new, but researchers from Virginia Tech note that their new battery boasts of a higher energy density than others. This means that the battery can provide electrical power for much longer periods of time before it must be recharged. The research team suggests that their battery may be available on the market in as little as three years.

Battery is designed to work in a similar way to fuel cells

Researchers suggest that sugar is the perfect energy storage compound and is used prolifically throughout nature for such a purpose. The team took nature’s example in using sugar as an energy storage medium and applied a synthetic enzymatic pathway that is capable of stripping all charge potential from sugar, thereby generating electrical power from sugar itself. A biocatalyst comprised of enzymes is used as a replacement for platinum catalysts, allowing the battery to produce electrochemical power without doing so in a costly fashion.

New battery may be a major step forward in green technology and energy storage

The sugar battery is quite similar to a fuel cell in the way that it produces electrical power. It can, however, store energy for a prolonged period of time, allowing this energy to be used when it is needed. The sugar battery may be a major breakthrough in green technology due to its high energy density, but researchers are still working to determine whether the battery can be further improved so that it can reach higher levels of energy density.

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