New material alginate to boost battery life

September 11th, 2011 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 11 (IANS) Scientists have extracted a promising new material, alginate, which can boost battery life.

Researchers from the Clemson University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have extracted the material from brown algae, one of the fastest growing plants in the world.

“Making less-expensive batteries that can store more energy and last longer with the help of alginate could provide a large and long-lasting impact on the community,” said Gleb Yushin of Georgia Instiute, who led the study.

“These batteries could contribute to building a more energy-efficient economy with extended-range electric cars, as well as cell phones and notebook computers that run longer on battery power,” added Yushin, the journal Science Express reports.

Working with Igor Luzinov from Clemson University, the scientists looked at ways to improve binder materials in batteries, according to a Clemson statement.

The binder is a critical component that suspends the silicon or graphite particles that actively interact with the electrolyte that provides battery power.

“We specifically looked at materials that had evolved in natural systems, such as aquatic plants which grow in saltwater with a high concentration of ions,” said Luzinov.

“Since electrodes in batteries are immersed in a liquid electrolyte, we felt that aquatic plants — in particular, plants growing in such an aggressive environment as saltwater — would be excellent candidates for natural binders,” added Luzinov.

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