Pomegranates are a super-food for humans, and now they’re inspiring scientists to make super batteries for your smart phone and other devices. Researchers at Stanford University have taken inspiration from the pomegranate to design a supercharged anode battery. Working in collaboration with the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the team used the pomegranate’s unique seed design to make a battery that can store 10 times more charge than a standard rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
The pomegranate project could lead to smaller and lighter silicon anode batteries that could power cell phones, tablets and other devices. The silicon anodes could store 10 times more power than traditional graphite anodes, operating at 97 percent capacity even after being charged and used 1,000 times. Clustered like pomegranate seeds, the silicon anodes are light and powerful, encased in carbon shells that conduct electricity.
Traditional graphite anodes are also grouped in clusters, but during the cycling process they form gunk which gradually deteriorates the life of the battery. The silicon anodes, arranged like pomegranate seeds, are smaller than their carbon outer casing, which enables more leeway when cycling, and prolongs the life of the battery. As the silicon is charged, it expands within its carbon shell, which keeps the anode safe and intact and acts as a perfect path for electrical currents. The scientists are currently working on perfecting the process, and sourcing lower priced silicon nanoparticles to make the battery affordable for the consumer market.