Cars Powered by … Algae?
I 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
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.