April 2, 2009
Virus-built batteries advance
two genes in a bacteria-infecting virus and you can make high-power
lithium ion batteries cheaply and cleanly.
The genetically engineered virus acts as a smart glue that
brings together iron phosphate and carbon nanotubes to make cathodes
for lithium ion batteries. One altered gene causes iron phosphate
nanoparticles to form on the virus coat, and the other causes the
other end of the virus to stick to single-walled carbon nanotubes.
The researchers had previously engineered the virus to build
anodes, and they are working on combining the previous and current
work to make whole batteries. They are also adapting the process to
work with materials that can't be used with existing battery manufacturing
The low-temperature biological process can work with non-toxic
materials and promises to be cheaper than today's battery manufacturing.
The process could be used to make batteries for portable devices and
hybrid and electric vehicles.
Genetically Engineered High-Power Lithium Ion Batteries Using Multiple
Science, published online April 2, 2009
The Strano Research Group
Related stories and briefs:
batteries -- precursor research
promises record fast batteries -- related research
Back to ERN
April 6, 2009
Energy-related books and products