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Green Tech Industry Receives Some New Life with Wooden Battery
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June 20, 2013

Green Tech Industry Receives Some New Life with Wooden Battery

By Jamie Epstein
TMCnet Web Editor

For those of you out there who simply can’t stand throwing away your money on batteries in order to power your favorite electronics, you will be happy to know that a team at the University of Maryland Nanocenter has just debuted a super tiny and long-lasting battery that is made of wood, tin and sodium.

No, this isn’t a joke, and in spite of the fact that these resources are far from what you imagine a battery to be composed of, according to a recent report the eco-friendly product was developed through “scientists building the battery by using a very thin piece of wood, which they claim is a thousand times thinner than a piece of paper and is coated with tin. And, instead of lithium, which is found in many rechargeable batteries, sodium makes it environmentally friendly.”

As our planet becomes more and more polluted by the day, scientists worldwide have taken it upon themselves to try to do their part in producing more energy while reducing the overall carbon footprint. And sodium, it turns out, is actually better at storing energy than lithium.

“Sodium (Na)-ion batteries offer an attractive option for low-cost grid scale storage due to the abundance of Na. Tin (Sn) is touted as a high capacity anode for Na-ion batteries with a high theoretical capacity of 847 mAh/g,” the scientists stated in a research paper found in ACS (News - Alert) Publications.

While it may be kind of humorous to sit back and imagine a battery that is made of wood, it could soon be a reality. It is no secret that wood is extremely strong, just look around at items in either your office or home and you will see a majority of them are made of this material. 

The product was actually developed by coating microscopic fibers from yellow pine trees with a layer of tin. The nano battery has already been used more than 400 times and thus far, results have been extremely positive with the material yet to break or even crack apart.

Check out the video below for a better idea of how the next-generation works:

The group of researchers added, “It will be useful for low-cost and large-scale energy storage, ideal for things like the smart grid. This is the first time that people have explored the importance of soft properties for natural fibers and deposited tin directly on microfibers for sodium-ion batteries.”

Interestingly enough, this isn’t actually the battery of its kind. Only a few months back in April, University of Illinois of Urbana-Champaign scientist unveiled microbatteries which have the potential to jumpstart a car’s battery via a smartphone if needed.

Still without an official launch date, it seems that whatever can be done to better our environmental conditions should be every person’s top concern.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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