How Portobello Mushrooms May Power Your Phone

Their porous structure is key
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2015 9:19 AM CDT
How Portobello Mushrooms May Power Your Phone
The key to better batteries?   (AP Photo/Red Lobster)

(Newser) – It isn't happening just yet, but a new scientific paper shows that it's possible, and perhaps even advantageous, to make batteries out of organic biological materials that have the added benefit of being cheap, environmentally friendly, and easy to produce, reports CNET. Engineers at the University of California, Riverside, report in the journal Scientific Reports that they've developed a new kind of lithium-ion battery anode that uses portobello mushrooms, which turn out to be so efficient (thanks largely to their porousness) that they could even replace the industry standard of synthetic graphite.

The development could affect multiple industries, reports Discovery, which notes that biological materials might enable us to bring down costs and expend less energy in manufacturing, while synthetic graphite demands specific preparation and purification processes that are not only more costly but less environmentally friendly. The mushroom carbon anode tech could ultimately replace graphite anodes, the team reports in a press release: "With battery materials like this, future cell phones may see an increase in run time after many uses, rather than a decrease, due to apparent activation of blind pores within the carbon architectures as the cell charges and discharges over time," says one researcher. (Check out why some mushrooms glow in the dark.)

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