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Making batteries out of crab shells might be a great idea

Connect these guys to Tesla.

Connect these guys to Tesla.
Photo: Brendon Thorne (Getty Images)

The world could potentially create more sustainable batteries using a rare source: crustaceans.and paper Published in Matter this week, researchers say They created biodegradable batteries using substances found in crab and lobster shells.

An important part of how a battery works is the electrolyte material between the two electrical terminals at either end. This helps the ions to move back and forth between the positively and negatively charged terminals to generate electricity. Traditional batteries rely on lead or lithium (e.g. lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries), but there are many problems with these batteries.

weBreaking away from fossil fuels will require a huge amount of batteries, Conventional electrolyte materials pose many new problems.can very complicated to recycleIn the case of lithium batteries, destructive mining practices are also problematic. get enough lithium Because of our expected energy needs.

Enter crustaceans.Crabs and lobsters have ingredients An exoskeleton called chitin, which helps keep the shell tough and strong. Chitin can also make a derivative called chitosan. Researchers have combined it with zinc to create a new electrolyte material that they say retains near-perfect energy efficiency after 400 hours of use. Moreover, unlike traditional battery electrolytes, this Canigoo decomposes. It is removed from the soil in about 5 months, leaving recyclable zinc.

“In the future, we hope that all components of the battery will be biodegradable. Said in a press release. “Not just the material itself, but also the manufacturing process of the biomaterial.”

If any of your crabs are nervous after reading this, don’t worry. There are other sources of chitin in the world. The shells of crustaceans are particularly rich in chitin, but chitin is also found in the walls of fungi and some parts of squid.

Oh, One lab test of a biodegradable lobster energy pack was In short, all dirty battery problems are solved. “When developing new materials for battery technology, there tends to be a large gap between promising experimental results and demonstrable, scalable technology,” says Graham Newton, professor of materials chemistry at the University of Nottingham. was not involved in this study. told the Guardian.

Still, Newton said the study was encouraging. “There are still many challenges in developing zinc-ion batteries, but basic research like this is very important,” he said. We can’t be too picky about that.

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