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Scientists create batteries out of wood

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, July 8, 2013, 4:05 PM -

When wood and tin are combined, they can create an low-cost and sustainable battery, according to researchers at the University of Maryland.

Researchers hope the battery -- which was created using components more than 1000 times thinner than a sheet of paper -- will one day be used to power large-scale devices, like solar energy panels. 

"The inspiration behind the idea comes from the trees," said Liangbing Hu, an assistant professor of materials science at the university, in a statement.

"Wood fibers that make up a tree once held mineral-rich water, and so are ideal for storing liquid electrolytes, making them not only the base but an active part of the battery."

Standard rechargeable batteries cannot withstand the swelling and shrinking that occurs from storing and expending electrons, but researchers say their wooden battery is flexible enough to hold up for approximately 400 charging cycles, making it one of the longest lasting nanobatteries to date.

The full paper on the findings can be found online at ACS Publications.

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