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Episode 7 – The Battery Outbreak


Loofah Image from Chi Paper

This week on LASER, Emily and Cameron discuss batteries built by modified viruses, charge-dependent crystal changes of Lithium/Selenium-Sulfer Batteries, and Microbiological fuel cells built on natural loofah sponges.


1:15 we start on “Better Batteries Through Biology?” (HERE is the full paper)

13:00 the three major metrics for battery performance

15:00 will these battery-building viruses cause the next zombie outbreak? hint: probably not.

20:25 we start on the second story: “(De)Lithiation Mechanism of Li/SeSx (x = 0–7) Batteries Determined by in Situ Synchrotron X-ray Diffraction and X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy

27:30 they realized that SeS7 electrodes have the highest charge capacity after 50 cycles, which is a hybrid of the Li-Se and Li-S electrodes.

30:00 the three areas of research that are being worked on to improve battery technologies

3X:XX After a sad attempt at a transition, our third and final story today is based on the paper: “Nanostructured Macroporous Bioanode Based on Polyaniline-Modified Natural Loofah Sponge for High-Performance Microbial Fuel Cells

35:54 correction: the bacteria don’t “Create” electrons, they just take them off of the food when they’re eating, and they don’t need it.

44:37 For these microbial fuel cells they report a power density of 1090 mW/m^2 (or 1.09 Watts/m^2). For comparision a solar panel is about 170 W/m^2, but solar is the highest power density of the renewable energy technologies, vs 0.22W/m^2 for corn ethanol and 1000W/m^2 for fossil fuels, source .

47:00 these icrobial fuel cells would not be for high current high power applications, like cars. They would be useful for slowly generating a constant stream of power to be stored in something like a battery.

52:20 we start the signoff for an unusually-short (but targeted length) episode of LASER!


Emily picked the bumper music for this week, so there’s:
Intro:  Open – Crying (Get Olde)
Beyond Electric Dreams – Bad Religion
Electricity – NOFX
Outro:  Dreams are Maps – The Wild (Dreams are Maps)

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