Making batteries with portabella mushrooms

Making batteries with portabella mushrooms

6:38 AM, 6th October 2015
Making batteries with portabella mushrooms
Mihri and Cengiz Ozkan, both professors in the Bourns College of Engineering.

RIVERSIDE, US: Researchers at the University of California (UC) have created a new type of lithium-ion battery anode using portabella mushrooms, which are inexpensive, environmentally friendly and easy to produce.

The current industry standard for rechargeable lithium-ion battery anodes is synthetic graphite, which comes with a high cost of manufacturing because it requires tedious purification and preparation processes that are also harmful to the environment.

With the anticipated increase in batteries needed for electric vehicles and electronics, a cheaper and sustainable source to replace graphite is needed. Using biomass, a biological material from living or recently living organisms, as a replacement for graphite, has drawn recent attention because of its high carbon content, low cost and environmental friendliness.

Researchers were drawn to using mushrooms as a form of biomass because they are highly porous, meaning they have a lot of small spaces for liquid or air to pass through. That porosity is important for batteries because it creates more space for the storage and transfer of energy, a critical component to improving battery performance and the high potassium salt concentration in mushrooms allows for increased electrolyte-active material over time by activating more pores, increasing its capacity. A conventional anode allows lithium to fully access most of the material during the cycles and capacity fades from electrode damage. The mushroom carbon anode technology could replace graphite anodes.

“With battery materials like this, future cell phones may see an increase in run time after many uses, rather than a decrease, due to apparent activation of blind pores within the carbon architectures as the cell charges and discharges over time,” said Brennan Campbell, a graduate student in the materials science and engineering program at UC Riverside.

The research findings were outlined in a paper published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports and was authored by Cengiz Ozkan and Mihri Ozkan, both professors in the Bourns College of Engineering, and three of their current or former graduate students: Campbell, Robert Ionescu and Zachary Favors.

Nanocarbon architectures derived from biological materials such as mushrooms can be considered a green and sustainable alternative to graphite-based anodes, said Cengiz Ozkan.

One of the problems with conventional carbons, such as graphite, is that they are typically prepared with chemicals such as acids and activated by bases that are not environmentally friendly, said Mihri Ozkan.

The Ozkan’s research is supported by the University of California, Riverside.

© University of California News

 

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