February 9, 2016

Electric Vehicles Renewable Energy and Storage News

In the department of” You’d Have To Have Thought About It” how about building electric car batteries with viruses?

The gist is that, fast on the heels of our last posts related to lithium technologies and its implications, one thing is for certain, lithium-ion is no panacea and looking for alternatives to push our cars in the future is important.

Using Natural Organic Material For Technology.  Using natural organic products has been seen before, such as Toyota’s idea to use seaweed, or kelp to help build its cars.  So what about using viruses to power batteries?  After all, Star Trek Voyager uses “organic gell packs” to facilitate faster operations of its ship, right?

Virus Can Be Helpful, Under Certain Conditions.  A new virus producing electricity in batteries would have the same energy capacity and power performance as rechargeable batteries, according to Angela Belcher of MIT, via PhysOrg.

How Does It Work? The process could be produced with a cheap and environmentally benign process where synthesis happens at room temperature with non-toxic, harmful organic solvents.  Technically speaking, an MIT team engineered 3 years ago viruses that build an anode by coating themselves with cobalt oxide and gold while self-assembling to form a nanowire.  Anodes, the negative part of the plate in batteries are more difficult to build so the researchers found a way for the viruses to recognize and bind to certain materials and be electrically “wired” to conducting carbon nanotube networks.

In conclusion, breakthroughs as these have great potentials to revolutionize the battery world.  Not only would our electronics tools benefit but also plug-in hybrids, PHEV and electric vehicles, EV in general.  With a process that is easy on the environment and works as effectively as state-of-the-art batteries, it is a hopefully insight into the future.

Hybrid , Plug-in Hybrid