In a breakthrough to develop long-lasting batteries for smartphones and other gadgets, scientists have successfully created a sugar biobattery that completely converts the chemical energy in sugar substrates into electricity.
This biobattery can achieve an energy-storage density of about 596 ampere-hours (A/h) per kg - an order of magnitude higher than the 42 A-h/kg energy density of a typical lithium-ion battery used in various gadgets.
"A sugar biobattery with such a high-energy density could last at least 10 times longer than existing lithium-ion batteries of the same weight," said YH Percival Zhang, an associate professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, popularly known as Virginia Tech.
The biobattery is a type of enzymatic fuel cell (EFC) - an electrobiochemical device that converts chemical energy from fuels such as starch and glycogen into electricity.
"We are first to demonstrate the complete oxidation of the biobattery's sugar so we achieve a near-theoretical energy conversion yield that no one else has reported," Zhang added.
The sugar biobattery is also less costly than the lithium-ion battery and environmentally friendly, researchers reported in the journal Nature Communications.