Sustainable batteries made from lobster shells using unique chemical derived from crabs
American University of Maryland researchers have identified a special chemical found in crustaceans like crabs and lobsters that can be used to make long-lasting batteries for energy storage. According to a Newsweek report, they employed a substance called chitin, which makes up a significant component of the structural framework of crabs, to manufacture the batteries.
Journal Matter on Thursday published a paper titled "A sustainable chitosan-zinc electrolyte for high-rate zinc-metal batteries." Professor Liangbing Hu from the University of Maryland served as the project's leader.
The professor was quoted by The Guardian as saying, "We think both biodegradability of material, or environmental impact, and the performance of the batteries are important for a product, which has the potential to be commercialised."
As the world proceeds toward the deployment of green energy solutions and electric vehicles, the batteries that are used for such technologies must also be environmentally beneficial, the report added.
The degradation of conventional batteries, comprised of lithium-ion and other materials, can take hundreds or even thousands of years. These compounds are frequently also flammable and corrosive. Batteries from consumer electronics can start fires on aeroplanes, in landfills, and at recycling sites.
The cells that make up the exoskeleton of crustaceans like crabs, shrimp, and lobsters contain chitin, a form of carbohydrate that gives their shells a tough, robust surface. This beneficial ingredient, which can be found in fungi, insects, and other byproducts of the food industry, is extensively spread in nature and is frequently present in restaurant food waste and other byproducts.
Scientists are now focusing on electrical engineering after studying a number of applications for chitin. In biomedical engineering, examples of these applications include anti-inflammatory medications and wound dressing.