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Buzz Builds About Batteries That Run on Sugar

Posted Dec 18 2008 8:11pm

Since quickly posting my item yesterday about sugar-fueled batteries (I was home very sick), a few more mentions have popped up on the Internet about this development such as in a United Press International story and a Times Online in the U.K piece.

Minteer To briefly recap, researchers -- headed up by Shelley D. Minteer, Ph.D., an assistant professor of chemistry at Saint Louis University -- have invented the sugar-powered battery, which is made from biodegradable materials.

What's more, Dr. Minteer and her colleagues envision the battery being able to be refuelled from whatever sweet liquids are handy. In fact, they've already tried sugared water, flat soft drinks, glucose, sweetened drink mixes and tree saps.

Just imagine: In the not-too-distant future -- like five years from now -- you'll want to quickly charge up your iPod, laptop or mobile phone. Well, just grab a sugary drink and pour it into the battery.

Scientists contend that these new batteries may be able to operate for three to four times longer than your conventional lithium ion batteries, which are typically used in laptops, cell phones, MP3 palyers and many other charge, and other portable electronic devices.

"By bridging biology and chemistry, we can build a better battery that's also cleaner for the environment," Dr. Minteer said in a prepared statement.

So how does sugar do it? Essentially, Dr. Minteer and her colleagues adapted enzymes from nature that can strip charges from sugar to generate electricity in fuel cells.

Now that I'm learning more about this sugar-fueled battery, it sounds even more attractive. Better to put the sugary stuff in your portable electronic gizmos than your body!

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