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    Eating Our Way To A Greener Battery VIA Shellfish

      Can a Biodegradable battery be made that can make the EV industry even cleaner? Some think they have found the answer.

    University of Maryland, director of Materials Innovation and lead author of the paper seems to think we can have a greener planet and healthier life by using shell fish or more specifically the Chitin that is found in the shellfish.

    DungenessCrab.jpg

    Crabs are among just one of the many shellfish that not just Americans, but pretty much the global population loves to eat leaving tons and tons of shellfish for the garbage dump until now. 

    Lithium as we know has its own draw backs when it comes to mining and refining the material for our greener EVs. Yet this is the most common used material for the battery cells. Now we have the first research done that is thinking outside the box in regard to how to build battery cells. 

    As the world transitions to deploying green energy solutions and electric vehicles, the batteries being used by this technology should also be evo-friendly. Currently the chemicals used in conventional batteries such as lithium-ion can take hundreds to thousands of years to break down. These same chemicals are corrosive, flammable and in cases of consumer-gadgets batteries have caught fire or caused fires that took place in either the products or recycling centers.

    fx1_lrg.jpg

    The Center for Materials Innovation at the University of Maryland has come up with a solution that is a proposed A Zinc coordinated chitosan electrolyte that they propose. This chitosan-Zn electrolyte enables the desirable Zn-deposition.

    To quote the released paper:

    Rechargeable aqueous Zn-metal battery is promising for grid energy storage needs, but its application is limited by issues such as Zn dendrite formation. In this work, we demonstrate a Zn-coordinated chitosan (chitosan-Zn) electrolyte for high-performance Zn-metal batteries. The chitosan-Zn electrolyte exhibits high mechanical strength, Zn2+ conductivity, and water bonding capability, which enable a desirable Zn-deposition morphology of parallel hexagonal Zn platelets. Using the chitosan-Zn electrolyte, the Zn anode shows exceptional cycling stability and rate performance, with a high Coulombic efficiency of 99.7% and >1,000 cycles at 50 mA cm−2. The full batteries show excellent high-rate performance (up to 20C, 40 mA cm−2) and long-term cycling stability (>400 cycles at 2C). Furthermore, the chitosan-Zn electrolyte is non-flammable and biodegradable, making the proposed Zn-metal battery appealing in terms of safety and sustainability, demonstrating the promise of sustainable biomaterials for green and efficient energy-storage systems.

    End result is that the energy efficiency of these battery cells are 99.7% after 1000 cycles of charging or about 400 hours of charging on the cell.

    Benefits:

    • Quick charge and discharge without significant performance degradation
    • Not flammable
    • Cells if disposed of in the ground breakdown in just 5 months due to microbial degradation leaving Zinc behind for recycling

    Biomedical engineering has found that processing the food waste of shellfish into other uses is a booming business. Currently shellfish processed is now used in wound dressing as an anti-inflammatory treatment on wounds as another example.

    Colleges in the U.K. and Spain have per reviewed the paper and agree that this has great potential to giving green energy creation a greener energy storage.

    The researchers of the University of Maryland are being quiet at this time but are moving forward into prototype production of Chitin-Zinc battery cells for testing by both the automotive industry and energy companies.

    End result is an EV battery that is good for 300 miles of range would be able to handle 1,000 charge cycles in a 10-year period with minimal loss of storage. In this case a Chitin-Zinc battery pack would only loose .03% of its storage capacity according to the research done to date.

    End result is as we transition away from dirty energy sources, such as coal, the world will need a environmentally friendly source of storage for green energy such as wind, solar and hydro. Crustaceans could provide a solution that would reduce the reliance on lithium-ion batteries.


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