Eco-news lovers can fully appreciate all elements of how exciting this remarkable and slightly surprising new is. Following on-going developments with scientists looking to find more efficient and eco-friendly way to create batteries, they now say they’ve fallen on an unlikely solution that carries substantial potential, the humble fungal favourite: the mushroom!
What the experts have done is to create a new, innovative kind of lithium-ion battery anode out of the skins of Portobello mushrooms.
The positives (no pun intended) of using the skins of the mushroom offer an inexpensive, environmentally friendly and easy to produce cell that can be readily accessed.
At present, the industry standard for rechargeable lithium-ion battery anodes is synthetic graphite. This product is expensive to produce due to the fact that it is required to go through processes including purification and preparation, which are also harmful to the environment, before they can be used in phones.
What’s more, when you consider how the number of batteries required for the growth of the electric vehicle industry, along with the thriving electronics sector, a more cost effective and further sustainable source to stand in for the existing graphite is certainly required.
The experts behind the study, undertaken at the Riverside Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California say they were drawn to mushrooms due to the fact that they’re extremely porous, meaning they possess a extraordinary number of small cavities for liquid or air to go through.
The level of porosity is an essential factor for batteries as it creates more space for the storage and transfer of energy, which is a vital component to improving battery performance. And what’s more, the high potassium salt concentration in mushrooms permits increased electrolyte-active material over a period of time by activating more pores, thus gradually increasing its capacity- something the lithium version is unable to do. In fact, capacity fades after the first few cycles because of electrode damage from then on.
Who would have thought that the mushrooms we see growing around the fields near our glamping UK locations have such astonishing potential?!