Cars Powered by … Algae?

by Sarah Green LivingComments: 9

Green Algae on BeachI love to read stories about creative people coming up with new, amazingly innovative ideas that improve the modern standard of living but also where the manufacturing process is kind to the environment and utilizes renewable resources.

One area today that requires serious innovation is the area of battery production.  Not only do today’s lithium-ion batteries come from limited, non-renewable resources, they present disposal challenges as acid leakage from used batteries threatens to pollute the environment.

Enter Maria Stromme.

Maria Stromme, Professor of Nanotechnology at Uppsala University in Sweden is experimenting with making batteries that have electrodes made from none other than algae cellulose!

The first generation of  algae battery production has been encouraging as they are very cheap to manufacture and environmentally friendly.

Unfortunately, these renewable algae batteries are not very powerful.    Dr. Stromme’s research team is working to change that by increasing the energy density while also keeping the structure of the algae batteries simple and made of renewable materials.

Another goal is to ensure the manufacturing process for the algae batteries doesn’t require much energy so production from start to finish is as green as possible.

Could the polluting lithium-ion batteries of today be completely replaced one day with non-polluting, renewable algae batteries strong enough to power an automobile?

Dr. Stromme’s research team thinks so.

Let’s hope she’s right!

If the manufacturing uses of plant cellulose is interesting to you, check out another story I wrote about cellulose from kombucha cultures being used in the fashion industry for making clothing!


Source: FastCompany, Battery Power, September 2011

Picture Credit


Comments (9)

  • Algae Biofuel

    Algae biofuel is a great way to save a substantial amount of money on your diesel fuel costs. Not forgetting you can also save big on your heating cost if you live in colder areas. The basic aspect of algae biofuel is to transform algal oil into biodiesel, a fuel source that can be used in your diesel engine powered vehicles.

    January 4th, 2012 6:00 am Reply
  • susan v.

    very interesting! i sure appreciate the range of topics you blog about!

    October 2nd, 2011 7:19 pm Reply
  • Joseph Burk via Facebook

    That would be so cool!

    October 1st, 2011 12:30 am Reply
  • tina

    I may be the only one who thinks it’s stupid to use algae to power cars. We’d use it so fast, it wouldn’t have time to reproduce.

    September 30th, 2011 11:53 am Reply
    • D.

      Tina, algae is being reproduced in labs around the world. This is not a new phenomenon, this has been in the works for more than a decade already. I read about it several years ago. It is classified as biodiesel fuel, or it was at the time I first read about it, so the uses would be limited. Hopefully technology will, or has been able to perfect it a bit more so its uses will be more diversified.

      September 30th, 2011 12:14 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Pam, I posted a story about kombucha cellulose being used to make clothes a month or so ago. The link is at the bottom of the cars powered by algae post.

    September 30th, 2011 10:48 am Reply
  • Pam Howe via Facebook

    You know the kombucha “mushroom” is cellulose. Wonder if the good professor has played with that yet?

    September 30th, 2011 10:11 am Reply
  • The Economics Smiley (@TheEconSmiley) (@TheEconSmiley)

    Cars Powered by … Algae? – The Healthy Home Economist #economics #econ

    September 30th, 2011 10:06 am Reply
  • HealthyHomeEconomist (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon)

    Cars Powered by … Algae? – The Healthy Home Economist

    September 30th, 2011 9:57 am Reply

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