A new 3D printed recyclable battery that uses electrodes made from vegetable powder could provide mobile devices with a higher capacity source of power.
That is the suggestion from a team of engineers led by the University of Glasgow, which has published its findings in the Journal of Power Sources.
The battery was designed to make more sustainable lithium-ion batteries, capable of storing and delivering power more efficiently.
Scientists wanted to increase lithium-ion batteries‘ recyclability and overcome the limitation on the amount of energy current designs can store.
That is believed to be caused by the thickness of their electrodes – thicker electrodes restrict the movement of lithium-ions across the electrode, limiting the energy of lithium-ion batteries.
The scientific team loaded their 3D printer with a material they developed which combines polylactic acid, lithium-iron phosphate and carbon nanotubes.
Polylactic acid is a biodegradable material processed from the starch of corn, sugar cane and sugar beet.
The testing of the new battery showed its performance is around two to three times higher than a traditional lithium-ion battery.
Dr Shanmugam Kumar from the University of Glasgow’s James Watt School of Engineering, said: “The 3D printing process we’ve used in this research gives us a remarkable amount of control over the electrodes’ porosity, allowing us to engineer very precisely a new metamaterial capable of addressing some of the shortcomings of the current generation of lithium-ion batteries.
“We’ve created a battery with a high specific capacity and areal capacity with excellent cyclability.”