University of Maryland researchers used natural fibers to create a sodium-ion battery.
Scientists are constantly looking for new and eco-friendly ways to create and store energy. Recently researchers at the University of Maryland have submitted a paper detailing their development of a battery made of wood.
The idea of a battery made of wood was inspired by trees. Wood fibers are soft, strong, flexible, and naturally designed to hold liquid electrolytes. Most batteries are made with bases that are too stiff to withstand the changes that occur when ions flow through the battery. The research team at the Energy Research Center of the University of Maryland decided to explore the use of wooden fibers as the base of a battery.
Dr. Liangbing Hu, Teng Li, Hongli Zhu, and the rest of the research team used microscopic wood fibers that have been flattened out into thin sheets and coated with a layer of tin. The team also used sodium instead of lithium to make the battery more environment-friendly.
The prototype sodium-ion battery was able to last for 400 charging cycles. The researchers discovered that the wood fibers became wrinkled but remained intact.
The research team sees the wooden battery as a low-cost solution to energy storage and their paper published on Nano Letters indicated the potential for the technology to be used in large-scale energy storage systems like in solar energy installations or wind farms.
The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the University of Maryland.