If the technology can be scaled up, it could be adapted for range of products, from electric vehicles to solar panels
Let’s start with how it works. Local farmers grow an organic crop such as cotton or bamboo. After they’ve harvested the plant, Power Japan Plus heats the crop – breaking down the organic matter into graphite. That’s the carbon used to make the battery’s oppositely charged electrodes (between which is an organic electrolyte with lithium salts).
OK, that’s the science. To understand why the technology may be so important, consider conventional batteries. They’re made of heavy metals and chemical alloys – meaning that if you want to recycle them, you’ll need to use plenty of energy; and the processes required produce toxic runoff. If not disposed of properly, conventional batteries can be hazardous to the environment. (Other problems with conventional batteries: they’re prone to overheating, can catch fire if punctured, and run out of juice entirely when repeatedly charged and discharged.)
The Ryden Green Battery is thus safer to manufacture and handle than conventional batteries because it doesn’t contain hazardous metals. And it’s clearly more sustainable. Conventional batteries require the strip-mining of rare earth metals; the Ryden Green Battery is made of organic cotton. Moreover, all of its parts can be reused, making it 100 per cent recyclable.
Still, what’s especially interesting about it is its potential role in efforts to mitigate climate change. Power Japan Plus claims it charges much faster than conventional batteries – up to 20 times faster, purportedly – and that it can go through 3,000 charging cycles before its function diminishes. The green battery and its ilk could thus help steer ordinary consumers away from conventional batteries. After all, just 38 per cent of the batteries sold in the European Union in 2013 were recovered for recycling.If the technology can be scaled up, it could be adapted for range of products, from electric vehicles to solar panels. Indeed, a green battery would be particularly suitable for electric cars, which benefit from faster charging and regenerate energy from braking. The likes of Elon Musk’s Tesla car (the company also develops recyclable batteries) would suddenly become even more attractive if drivers could go farther on a single charge and recharge the vehicle in minutes. Never mind a bigger boat, then: to help mitigate climate change, perhaps need is a better battery.
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