UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. See main page for full contents

September 16, 2009

BATTERIES FROM SALT AND PAPER?

Tree Hugger - A new battery made of salt and paper could prove to be an environmentally benign replacement for lithium batteries in things like smart cards, RFID tags, and other low power portable devices. Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden are testing out a prototype, and while it has a few down sides compared to lithium, it certainly has upsides as well.Technology Review reports that the new battery is made simply of pressed mats of tangled cellulose fibers acting as the electrodes, and a salt solution acts as the electrolyte - the simple ingredients mean cheap, easy manufacturing and the potential to replace lithium batteries in a range of small portable devices. Now that the researchers have the design down, they're working on making the paper and salt batteries more comparable to lithium in capabilities. . . . One thing that is fascinating about the design is not only that it could be more ecologically sound than lithium thanks to its ingredients, but that the cellulose that comprises the paper layers is made from a polluting algae found in seas and lakes.

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