Chemists propose spinach as a better, cheaper battery catalyst

While it's always been a boon to Popeye's "muskles," it looks like spinach may also have a role to play in clean future batteries.

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  • Scientists are seeking sustainable, clean chemicals for use in future fuel cell and metal-air batteries.
  • Platinum is the current go-to substance for battery cathode catalysts, but it poses a number of problems, including high cost and instability.
  • Chemists at American University have developed a new high-performance catalyst from simple spinach, although its preparation as a catalyst is anything but simple.
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Elon Musk promises $25,000 electric car at Tesla's 'Battery Day'

The electric car manufacturer says updates to its battery design and manufacturing process will help lower production costs.

Tesla
  • The high cost of batteries is the main reason why electric vehicles cost more than gas-powered cars.
  • At the company's 'Battery Day' event on Tuesday, Tesla announced a new battery design that will give its cars more power and a longer range.
  • The success of Tesla's plan depends on its ability to scale up production.
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This fruit reeks, but it may one day power your phone

Ever smell a durian fruit? Don't. Think of it as nature's stinky battery.

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  • New research finds that jackfruit and durian, often called the world's smelliest fruit, make outstanding supercapacitors.
  • Supercapacitors are useful because they can be used as infinitely rechargeable batteries.
  • The study, published in the Journal of Energy Storage, also demonstrates the development of carbon aerogels for the bodies of the fruit batteries.
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New, MIT-made battery is powered by CO2

In the near future, we might use the toxic gas to power homes.

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  • New research from an MIT team has resulted in a proof-of-concept battery that uses a CO2-based component.
  • The research made innovative use of technology from existing carbon-capture processes and applied it to battery systems, potentially circumventing the high cost of carbon capture and the inefficiency in prior CO2-based batteries.
  • The system could be installed in power plants to capture excess carbon dioxide and use it to store energy.
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Will Human Skin Revolutionize Batteries?

Melanin, the pigment-producing part of human skin, may change the way batteries are manufactured and used.

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Research by Professor Christopher Bettinger of Carnegie Mellon University and his colleagues reveals that parts of human skin might be crucial to rethinking the manufacture of batteries. Specifically, melanin, the molecule that provides pigment to skin, has been shown to have helpful ion-controlling properties. The complex compound made up of carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen might be an unintuitive solution for creating batteries safe for use in human bodies, which is one of Bettinger’s goals.

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