Print 32 comment(s) - last by nekobawt.. on Mar 27 at 1:36 PM

Now if your cell phone dies, just toss some Sweet Tarts in the battery

Researchers at Saint Louis University have developed a fuel cell battery that can run on any type of sugar source.  The batteries can run on anything from soft drinks to syrup and are said to last 3 to 4 times longer than lithium ion batteries.  The funding for the research was provided by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The sugar battery works by using enzymes to strip sugars of charges which generate electricity.  The main byproduct of the fuel cell is water and all materials that compose the battery are biodegradable, states the press release from the American Chemical Society.

“This study shows that renewable fuels can be directly employed in batteries at room temperature to lead to more energy-efficient battery technology than metal-based approaches,” says study leader Shelley Minteer, Ph.D., an electrochemist at Saint Louis University. “It demonstrates that by bridging biology and chemistry, we can build a better battery that’s also cleaner for the environment.”

The only tested sugar products have been flat soda, glucose, sweetened liquids and tree sap which have showed good results.  When testing with sweetened carbonated beverages, the results did not turn out so well, says Minteer.

Minteer envisions that the sugar battery will first be used for cell phone rechargers.  The hope is that cell phone batteries would, once depleted, use a sugar reserve compartment to refuel the battery. 

Future development of the fuel cell has its sights on longer duration and variable environmental conditions.  No information has been released about mass production or public release.

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Blood as power?
By Chillin1248 on 3/26/2007 4:42:00 PM , Rating: 5
I know that on average a Human has ~8mmol/l in the blood, so what I wonder is if that might be enough to power this technology?

I mean for military purposes or for worst case survival instances this would be a god send (literally to some).


RE: Blood as power?
By noirsoft on 3/26/2007 5:25:49 PM , Rating: 3
I thought you were going to go into "Human Battereis" a-la The Matrix for a moment there...

Of course, one could also make the "children are the ultimate sugar-powered battery" joke.

RE: Blood as power?
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 3/26/2007 5:49:29 PM , Rating: 3
Someone has already developed a battery that run off of urine. That is a better option for military, easier to pee then bleed.

RE: Blood as power?
By dice1111 on 3/26/2007 5:57:37 PM , Rating: 4
What if you bleed when you pee?

I think I have to go see a Doctor...

RE: Blood as power?
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 3/26/2007 6:03:32 PM , Rating: 2
Then I would guess you could power both types of batteries...good way to multi task I like your thinking.

RE: Blood as power?
By senbassador on 3/26/2007 11:02:24 PM , Rating: 3
Well, if you need either, just send them in to the front lines. That would help regardless if you want blood or urine.

Look out for Big Syrup!
By DaClyde on 3/26/2007 5:24:55 PM , Rating: 3
I can't wait to hear about all the lobbying from Big Syrup once the bigwigs in Vermont find out about this!

RE: Look out for Big Syrup!
By bobdelt on 3/26/2007 5:25:43 PM , Rating: 3
You can buy any electric car your little heart desires, regardless of whatever "they" want you to drive.

RE: Look out for Big Syrup!
By semo on 3/26/2007 6:33:09 PM , Rating: 1
do you honestly think that big corps' marketing does not influence people's choice. they have the power to make people buy what what needs to be sold. fossil fuels are very profitable and there's still plenty of supply so it's no surprise you have an enormous choice of ice cars compared to fully electric ones.

it is well known slot machines in casinos sound the way they do for a reason. just because it may not work on you doesn't mean others don't get suckered into pouring their entire wages in them. supermarkets also understand human behavior very well and if they want to shift large quantities of a product, they put it at eye level height and in certain parts of the stores. this simply works and is not just wishful thinking.

so your "freedom of choice" is not so free after all. the only electric car i can buy is the g wiz ( ) since the citroen/peugeot electriqe aren't made anymore. so you can't just say anyone can go out a buy an electric car and screw the environment, there are plenty of good (financial) reasons to buy electric in london. but the choice is not there (just one car!!!) and it caters for a very niche market, i.e. the super-duper-mega mini car.

just felt like ranting. btw you (and now i) replied to the wrong thread.

RE: Look out for Big Syrup!
By kalak on 3/27/2007 9:31:58 AM , Rating: 2
There's no choice at all, period. You will buy what they sell, it's a simple rule. :-(

RE: Look out for Big Syrup!
By dever on 3/27/2007 1:07:51 PM , Rating: 2
Or, if you live in a free country, you make what they don't sell. And yes, you can be manipulated by marketing if you don't actively look for marketing tactics. Education pays. Thinking pays big.

<no subject>
By Scabies on 3/26/2007 4:37:22 PM , Rating: 3
Always knew my hometown was good for SOMETHING.
Kidding, we got our own Mr. Fusion going on here! Pour on the Kero, its a road-trip!

RE: <no subject>
By dice1111 on 3/26/2007 6:02:48 PM , Rating: 2
Mr. Fucion... Beat me too it!
First thing that poped in to my head. Next we need flying cars and "Button-push form fitting jackets". Of course hoverboards as well.

RE: <no subject>
By LtFarva on 3/27/2007 7:37:26 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think it could handle liquid schwartz, though.

Well this just
By Misty Dingos on 3/26/2007 4:36:31 PM , Rating: 3

I had to do that.

RE: Well this just
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 3/26/2007 5:45:44 PM , Rating: 1
Damm beat me to it. :)

By hlper on 3/26/2007 4:37:12 PM , Rating: 2
What if I don't want water or syrup in my fancy new phone or computer?

RE: But
By nekobawt on 3/27/2007 1:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
Well, the water would apparently be a by-product of putting syrup in your fancy new phone or computer, so if you don't want water in it, don't put the syrup in. :)

What happens if...
By JBird7986 on 3/26/2007 5:03:55 PM , Rating: 2
What happens if you attempt to use this with Diet sodas?

Also, I suppose this is a good way to ensure Coca-Cola and PepsiCo will never go out of business.

RE: What happens if...
By quiksilv3r on 3/26/07, Rating: -1
RE: What happens if...
By noirsoft on 3/26/2007 5:24:03 PM , Rating: 3
I believe the quote was comparing flat soda to carbonated soda. "Sweetened" does not imply diet soda by any means.

Tact and maturity are also both skills, BTW.

Large scale?
By InsaneScientist on 3/26/2007 6:56:00 PM , Rating: 2
What about running something like this on a large scale?

Instead of pouring coal into a power generator station, we could pour in sugar. There would be no harmful by-products - the only thing that comes out is water.

The real question is how much power would that produce.

Anyone see any flaws in the argument? I just can't imagine why they wouldn't be looking in that direction if the small scale stuff works like they say.

RE: Large scale?
By lennylim on 3/26/2007 7:08:16 PM , Rating: 2
Sugar production as it is done today is not without environmental harm. I do not know enough to comment further.

Sugar powered batteries?
By plowak on 3/26/2007 7:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
...Snicker, Snicker!

RE: Sugar powered batteries?
By AnotherGuy on 3/26/2007 9:09:52 PM , Rating: 2
Next news: Maple Syrup is so good even your phone will drink it.

Hurry up.
By mconsonni on 3/26/2007 4:59:12 PM , Rating: 1
This is fantastic news. Lets get this technology over to electric cars.

oh wait. 'they' don't want us to have electric cars.

RE: Hurry up.
By lobadobadingdong on 3/27/2007 10:33:04 AM , Rating: 2
soo. all I need to do is get another coconut and a couple of copper rods and fill the coconut with aunt jamima's.

Fill'er up!
By Chernobyl68 on 3/26/2007 6:11:30 PM , Rating: 2
Gatorade, please!

By alexcurpas on 3/27/2007 7:33:58 AM , Rating: 2
Methink this technology is too sticky for my taste.

And this is something new?
By Creig on 3/27/2007 7:58:55 AM , Rating: 2
This particular phenomenon is something that all parents have suspected, but could never prove. Just ask any parent what happens when you add sugar to a small child. They just keep going and going and...

ants !
By kalak on 3/27/2007 9:38:47 AM , Rating: 2
They don't consider ants ? It will be a BIG problem to store those things... Ants are well know enemies of electronic devices, so imagine a sugar battery in your Motherboard.... Imagine your Ipod full of ants....

By exdeath on 3/27/2007 10:45:32 AM , Rating: 2
What happens when you run it dead and all the bacteria dies or all the enzymes are depleted? Just topping off the sugar after the fact will be of no use then.

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