We’ve all heard that sugar is bad for our bodies, but in the near future, it may just be good for your smart phone. Scientists in Japan have developed a way to create batteries using sugar. A group at the Tokyo University of Science recently confirmed that carbon, a main element of sugar, could be harnessed to be used as an alternative power source for batteries, replacing the common lithium ion batteries used today.
Rechargeable batteries, like the one inside a smart phone, are usually made using lithium, which is a finite resource. The high demand and relatively limited supply means that lithium ion batteries are expensive, and the process to obtain it isn’t very good for the environment. But by heating sugar at extremely high temperatures, it can be converted to hard carbon, which can then be used to create sodium ion batteries.
“The supply of sodium is unlimited. Also, sodium ion batteries can be made using iron, aluminum, and sodium, rather than cobalt or copper as before. What’s more, our results show that battery capacity can be increased simply by using carbon made from sugar as the anode,” researchers say. The Komaba Group on Tokyo has achieved a 20% increase in storage capacity using sugar over traditional lithium batteries. Sodium ion batteries won’t be commercially available for at least five years, but we say: bring on the sugar!