Using strands of vitamin B2 that originated in genetically-modified fungi, researchers at the University of Toronto (U of T) have developed a battery with high capacity and high voltage that may pave the way for environmentally-friendly, metal-free batteries. Claimed by the researchers to be comparable to existing high-energy lithium-ion batteries, with a capacity of around 125 mAh and a 2.5 V potential, the U of T unit uses flavin derived from vitamin B2 as the battery’s cathode rather than a lithium-based material.
“We’ve been looking to nature for a while to find complex molecules for use in a number of consumer electronics applications,” says Dwight Seferos, an associate professor in the U of T department of chemistry. “When you take something made by nature that is already complex, you end up spending less time making new material.”
While other research, such as the flow cell from Harvard University, has incorporated vitamin B2 as part of a battery, the U of T researchers claim that their derivative is the very first to use long-chain molecules of bio-derived polymers for one of the electrodes, thereby storing energy in a plastic created from vitamins, rather than metals that are more expensive, harder to process, and potentially more toxic to the environment.
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