Japanese researchers have discovered a way to make rechargeable batteries more effective for less money by using the sucrose found in common sugar. Not only would this ideally make the latest battery-powered technology more accessible to more people, but the availability of sugar would promote a much more sustainable tech industry.
Currently, the popular choice for rechargeable batteries is lithium-ion, but mining the rare lithium metal has become a problem in places like Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and China where politics can interfere. This has challenged Japanese scientists to look at cheaper materials such as those found in the promising sodium-ion batteries. But it was this sodium-ion research that led the team at Tokyo University of Science to experiment with sugar as well. By heating the sucrose to 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit in an oxygen-free atmosphere, they were able to create a hard carbon powder that could be embedded into a sodium-ion cell to allow 20% more storage capacity than that of lithium.
Associate Professor Shinichi Komaba predicts that we'll see this sugar-based battery available commercially in around five years.
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