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back to article Mmmm, delicious new sugar batteries keep gadgets up all night

Boffins have discovered they can improve battery capacity by using sucrose - aka table sugar - to create the anode material. Shinichi Komaba and his team at Tokyo University of Science made the discovery during their efforts to produce commercially viable sodium-ion batteries, according to Japanese tech site DigInfo.tv. The …

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They will never make batteries run for long time so in 100 years time laptops will run on food especially snacks which are always around and to keep them running you will feed laptops sweets and biscuits much like you already feed a small child to keep it running. There will be a special port for food. I am not a futurologist but I know how these things pan out.

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actually no need for special port if the laptop keys can licks your fingers as you type. you just need to make sure you have something sticky and sweet on your fingers.

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Actually...

...they'll run on mouldy banan skins, and be called Mr Fusion.

I've seen the future, and it has floating skateboards...

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They probably said that you'd "never store lightning" back in the 1700's. Batteries have come a long way very quicker to the point that even your average rechargeable battery has a capacity that alkaline batteries could only dream of when I was a kid. Hell, I remember playing with 400mAh NiCd cells and being able to set things on fire by shorting them out for very short periods (discovered accidentally, repeated scientifically). The power (and flow of current) in them was phenomenal compared to doing the same to even a new alkaline battery.

Batteries are nothing more than a chemical store of energy. The only problem is really the way we get that energy out (we want electricity, not explosions). Even a litre of petrol has a PHENOMENAL amount of energy in it if you use it properly, much, much more than you might think (hell, one litre of petrol can drive my 1 ton car for at least ten miles at 70mph after losses,imagine a 1-litre battery that could do that - car starter batteries tend to be in the 5-10 litre ranges, so your starting battery would be able to do 100 miles!).

It's not really a question of whether they will appear but how we handle them. In the same way that 1litre of petrol is dangerous, 1 litre of equivalent energy in any form is also potentially lethal, especially if mis-used or damaged. It would literally turn into a serious hazard in an accident and make it useful for terrorist actions, even.

There's no limit to battery power that we know of, and we've changed through so many materials that can do better jobs that we could probably work on improving them all for centuries yet. The problem is really the conversion to electricity and the safety of them.

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HMB
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Laptop Poop

But I don't want a laptop that has to poo!

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Childcatcher

Re: Laptop Poop

It would be like having a new baby.

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Anonymous Coward

I suspect that the sticky stuff on your keyboard isn't sugar.

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Joke

"make it useful for terrorist actions"

You don't have to be a terrorist to have fun with explosions! Safe crackers might even find a use for it.

Should we doing this though? MORE man-made carbon???

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"... a battery anode, which is the negative (-) terminal of the device."

I disagree; but I've had this argument before. That is all.

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Re: "... a battery anode, which is the negative (-) terminal of the device."

Doesn't it depend if the battery is discharging or being recharged? The cathode is where the cations go.

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Re: "... a battery anode, which is the negative (-) terminal of the device."

The OP is right. My old chemistry teacher taught that "oxidation occurs at the anode", which is equivalent to removal of electrons. Batteries are the other way round to electrolysis cells.

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Happy

I, for one, welcome our sugary power overlords.

If they overheat like lithium ones, do we get caramel?

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No joke

This may be the best news we've had in years. So much of today's tech depends on Li Ion batts that it's frightening.

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Re: And yet

Even though they'll be cheaper to make, and store a higher charge, they'll still cost just as much for us to buy, if not more because of the extra storage capacity.

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Anonymous Coward

Periodic table

I guess it's logical that the next one down the left of the table makes batteries like lithium.

The problems really start when they reach Francium. A battery where the half life is less than the discharge time.

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FAIL

Is it that time of the month again already?

Thought we'd had this month's Battery-Miracle-Tech story ..

I assume El Reg has a fill-in-the-blanks proforma for them:

<name of publicity whore> has announced <buzzy name> which will give batteries a <random percentage> improvement in <price / capcity (delete as appropriate>.

Etc etc ..

Final line is always:

<buzzy name> will be a commercial reality within the next five years.

I've been reading these stories for .. seems like forever, but strangely my phone still doesn't go six months between charges and spare batteries still cost more than 10 cents.

Where's the Bullsh*t icon when you need it ..?

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Trollface

Re: Is it that time of the month again already?

It's not their fault. Vast improvements in battery power have been made in the last few decades.

But every time your "publicity whore(s)" go and make a better battery, instead of using it properly so it'll last longer, you just go and put more load on it and charge it improperly.

Now, if you took your iPhone battery and hooked it to an actual phone (say a Nokia 3310), the battery would last for about 60 years!

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Coat

Hmmm...

Sodium ions, eh? as in table salt?

Now they're using table sugar for the anode?

Perhaps some flour for the cathode? suspend it all in a little egg white?

Excuse my while I pop off for a little bite to eat.

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Angel

Re: Hmmm...

The table salt you eat is when you combine sodium with chlorine.

Elemental sodium is more like pop rocks, except a little more intense.

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Re: Hmmm...

When I first started reading the article and I saw mentioned that they'd discovered this sucrose anode tech after years of trying to develop a sodium-ion battery, I had initially thought that somebody in the lab had confused table salt with table sugar when setting up an experiment.

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Coat

Sugar, do do do do do do

Ah, honey honey

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Happy

Re: Sugar, do do do do do do

Archies have been popping up recently. This BoingBoing post has a great panel of 'Archie sees the future'.

http://boingboing.net/2012/09/22/archie-comic-from-1972-about-2.html

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Flame

Operating Temperature?

I thought Sodium batteries

a) Had to run Very Hot.

b) Are quite fun if water gets in.

But maybe I'm thinking of Sulphur batteries and metallic Sodium.

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Coat

From Li-ion batteries to Lion bars

What next, Wispa Drives?

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Anonymous Coward

Conventional

Na metal batteries run at >270K, as the metal has to be liquid.

Sodium ion is very similar to lithium ion, and these operate down to -20c as long as you don't charge them.

I expect the cells will need to be heated somewhat to charge but thats no biggie.

The interesting idea I did come up with is to monitor the cells using IR LEDs and a chip.

Each cell could be monitored within the pack by simply sensing the light reflected along the glass sheets, and detecting the periodic code it sends out.

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Anonymous Coward

So if sodium batteries are better with sugar-made carbon, will lithium batteries be even better still with sugar-made carbon? Just wondering.

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