"How much sugar do you take? And your car?" What are we on about, right? But a tea time conversation might just begin like that very soon.
That's because a team of scientists from Cell-Free BioInnovations at Virginia Tech have successfully managed to obtain electricity from chemical energy stored in sugar substrates.
What this means is that the wide application of lithium ion for electric vehicle batteries is under threat from future bio-batteries that use sugar instead. The ubiquitous sweetener was discovered to have properties unknown of before, like complete oxidation and near-theoretical conversion of energy.
Significantly, since sugar contains several times the potential energy of lithium ion, these batteries can store 15 times more energy and run 10 times longer than their equally sized lithium ion counterparts.
Lead scientist Y H Percival Zhang told Livescience that these batteries are cheaper to produce, eco-friendly, refillable, and non-flammable. He added that this was a "significant breakthrough".
Bio-batteries containing sugar have been found to be capable of achieving a far higher storage density as well, with a rating of 596 Ah/kg (ampere hours per kilogram) as compared to regular lithium ion batteries that stands at a substantially lower 42 Ah/kg.
I'll have two sugars, please. My car's sweet.