Chemists Create First Vitamin-Driven Battery

Posted: Aug 3 2016, 10:54am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

Chemists Create First Vitamin-Driven Battery
University of Toronto chemist Dwight Seferos and colleagues created a lithium-ion battery that stores energy in a biologically-derived unit, using flavin from Vitamin B2 as the cathode. Credit: Diana Tyszko/University of Toronto
  • A Group of Chemists create a Vitamin-Based Battery Cell

A group of chemists from the University of Toronto have managed to create a vitamin-based battery cell.

A bunch of chemists hailing from the University of Toronto have made a battery that accumulates energy in a biological unit. This will lead to less costlier electronics in the future. Also these electronic items will be environment-friendly.

This battery is very similar to lithium-ion batteries that are available on the market. There is a crucial difference though. Flavin is used as a cathode. This comes from vitamin B2. The cathode is the part that stores the electric charge which gets released in the end.

The scientists had turned to Nature for inspiration since they wanted complex molecules that could be employed in consumer electronic items.

According to one of the chemists on the team, when something is taken directly from Nature, a saving process occurs on the level of making complex and novel materials.

The modern-day batteries contain three components: a positive terminal that is connected to the cathode; a negative terminal that is connected to the anode and finally an electrolyte solution that allows the electrons to travel between the cathode and the anode.

When the battery is connected to a device, the electrons flow freely. Their route passes from the anode to the device and back to the cathode. The charge is balanced out in the end.

When the device is hooked up with a charger, the exact opposite occurs. The net product of the normal route taken by electrons in a battery is a steady supply of electricity. The battery continues to provide electricity until the substances in it erode to the point where they are virtually non-existent.

Although biologically derived substances have been used before by scientists to make batteries, this is the first time that biological polymers have been employed in a battery.

One of the electrodes is stored in a vitamin-based plastic. This is an excellent alternative to other substances, such as cobalt, that are harmful to the environment.

Getting it right took some time. After a lot of testing, the perfect substance was selected from a long list of natural materials. The long chain polymers that are found in nature were just ideal for the novel battery.

The organic chemistry that was relied on is said to be like Lego in many ways. You put things together and then take them apart. You can rearrange stuff as you like to. Vitamin B2 was used in this scheme. It was safe to use as well. B2 is the best thing to be used in a lithium-ion battery.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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