Bridging the Opportunity Divide

What Is the Battery of the Future Made Of?

June 24, 2014
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What Is the Battery of the Future Made Of?
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Algae can be used to make batteries far better than the ones we use now.

From powering pacemakers to kids’ toys and everything in between, we rely on batteries every day.

But with lithium — the material we use to make batteries — becoming a less viable resource, how are we going to power our gadgets?

Turns out, there’s an alternative energy source that grows quite abundantly: Algae.

Sounds like a crazy idea, right?

Not to Adam Freeman and his team at alGAS in California.

Algae, which forms in large blooms on the water’s surface, can be harmful to fish living below, but it has huge potential in the battery-powered world. The prototype creator says that his algae battery is powerful enough to run anything — even a Tesla!

Not only would an algae battery be incredibly versatile, but it could also charge in a fraction of the time that current, lithium batteries do. Turns out, the incredibly thin fibers found in algae are much more conducive for ions to flow through, making charge time as quick as eleven seconds, according to Tech Crunch.

While this innovation is certainly eco-friendly and time efficient, it is also cost efficient: the lithium imported for batteries not just nonrenewable, but it has to be shipped from China — making batteries more costly.

Although still in testing phases, Freeman says he would be able to make a functioning battery prototype with $1,500 more in funding; $5,000 more and an algae-powered battery it could be ready for mass production.

Between Freeman’s work and this experiment that transformed algae into crude oil, this water plant is on track to become a significant part of America’s renewable energy landscape.

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