Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have created a battery using portabella mushrooms that is more durable than traditional batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries power everything from smartphones to electric vehicles, but manufacturing the anodes in lithium-ion batteries is costly. This is because the anodes are made with synthetic graphite, which has a tedious and environmentally harmful preparation process. The anodes also weaken significantly with time.
Using portabella mushrooms to create battery anodes is cheaper, more sustainable and more durable than traditional options, the researchers found
To see the portabella mushroom’s potential as an anode, the researchers scraped the skin from the cap of the mushroom and heated it to 500 degrees celcius (932 fahrenheit), making it resemble a carbon nanoribbon. Further heating the scrape to 1,100 degrees celcius (2,012 fahrenheit) turned it into a porous carbon nanoribbon. The porous nature of the nanoribbon is beneficial because the pores provide space for the storage and transfer of energy — the more space for storage and energy, the more durable the battery.
“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,” UCR graduate student Brennan Campbell, one of the authors of the study, told UCR Today.
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