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Sugar Batteries

  1. Feb 5, 2014 #1

    The whole article sounds great till you get to this little detail:

    They don't explain why that is the case, but I suppose that it would be due to crops now grown as food being shunted to fuel sugar batteries.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2014 #2


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    They already are, but storing the energy a different way:
  4. Feb 5, 2014 #3
    If you read the section called "2009–2013 crisis" it actually says the opposite, that sugar grown for methanol is being shunted to food use. And that is only due to a freak confluence of things that upset the system they had going. The cane intended for ethanol was planted quite apart from food considerations and didn't 'borrow' from it.

    The article I posted seems to assume sugar batteries would, necessarily, have to impinge on the cane grown for food. I don't see why that would have to be the case. And the sugar batteries sound really good. 10x better than lithium batteries, and their only bi-product, water.
  5. Feb 5, 2014 #4
    Supply and demand.

    If sugar batteries take off the demand will take off and at some point it will be more valuable to grow sugar to sell for batteries rather than food. Farmers grow sugar for the sake of profit.
  6. Feb 5, 2014 #5
    Wouldn't is follow, though, that more farmers would switch to sugar, thereby bringing the price down again?
  7. Feb 5, 2014 #6
    And increasing the price by decreasing the supply of whatever they used to farm before switching.
  8. Feb 5, 2014 #7
    No, I think all the people who used to manufacture batteries will welcome their new jobs as cane farmers. hehe.
  9. Feb 5, 2014 #8
  10. Feb 5, 2014 #9
    I'm still baffled that people are growing corn for ethanol. It seems it's been determined many times over it's not a particularly good source for sugar, esp. compared to sugar cane. I guess it's a case of general lunacy, much like the defense budget. On the one hand there's this:
    If we want food to remain cheap we need to stop putting it in our cars, by Timothy A. Wise, Economics Blog from The Guardian, September 5, 2012,

    and on the other, calls for decreased dependence on foreign oil, and fossil fuels in general. No one is coordinating any of this. There probably is no entity that can?
  11. Feb 6, 2014 #10


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    You can tell that the article is hype when it is not completely truthful. Sugar also contains carbon, yet they fail to mention how that will end up that as a "bi-product". C02 perhaps!
  12. Feb 6, 2014 #11
    Similar to how human bodies convert food to energy using enzymes, bio-batteries use enzymes to convert glucose into energy.[1] When glucose first enters the battery, it enters through the anode. In the anode the sugar is broken down, producing both electrons and protons.
    Glucose → Gluconolactone + 2H+ + 2e−
    These electrons and protons produced now play an important role in creating energy. They travel through the electrolyte, where the separator redirects electrons to go through the mediator to get to the cathode. On the other hand, protons are redirected to go through the separator to get to the cathode side of the battery.
    The cathode then consists of an oxidation reduction reaction. This reaction uses the protons and electrons, with the addition of oxygen gas, to produce water.
    O2 +4H+ + 4e− → 2H2O
    There is a flow created from the anode to the cathode which is what generates the electricity in the bio-battery. The flow of electrons and protons in the system are what create this generation of electricity

    the research paper http://www.researchgate.net/publica...transfer_proteins/file/32bfe50e458665b76e.pdf

    Only bi-product seems to be Gluconolactone
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  13. Feb 6, 2014 #12
    Zshoes' talking about another version of biobattery which claims to use complete oxidation (unlike the incomplete one before) though CO_2 still may not be a bi product but I can't confirm either way since I can only see the abstract:

    Royal society came through: http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2014/01/sweet-success-bio-battery-sugar-power-phones
    From the diagram- CO_2 is produced in the cycle (maybe recycled but not sure)
    Anyway non toxic, renewable and biodegradable battery is too much of an advantage even if it produces carbon dioxide.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  14. Feb 7, 2014 #13
    In principle any CO2 produced would be recycled back into the next sugar cane crop. It's not like releasing CO2 that's been locked up as fossil fuel beneath the ground for millions of years.

    Regardless, 256bits is right. If it does put out CO2 and they 'neglect' to mention it, it smells of hype, and you have to wonder what other minimizations/maximizations might be being perpetrated.
  15. Feb 7, 2014 #14
    Sugar-cane can easily be replaced with other plants that are not used for making sugar for human consumption.
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