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Japan Power Hardware Technology

Sugar Batteries Could Store 20% More Energy Than Li-Ions 152

Posted by timothy
from the sweet-deal dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at the Tokyo University of Science have developed a way to create sugar batteries that store 20% more energy than lithium-ion cells. Before it can be used as the anode in a sodium-ion battery, sucrose powder is turned into hard carbon powder by heating it to up to 1,500 degrees celsius in an oxygen-free oven." Except that swapping batteries might be a bit tricky, I can think of a perfect application for these.
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Sugar Batteries Could Store 20% More Energy Than Li-Ions

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @06:24PM (#41495195)

    So... there's no actual sugar in it, just a carbon/sodium anode. So why call it a sugar battery? Pure asshattery of course!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @06:25PM (#41495213)

    If you carbonize it, it's no longer sugar. You could probably use a host of other substances for the same purpose besides sucrose.

  • Sugar my butt ... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by gewalker (57809) <<Gary.Walker> <at> <AstraDigital.com>> on Friday September 28, 2012 @06:26PM (#41495221)

    Carbon / Sodium battery not sugar battery. Must be just like Spenda -- We processed sugar so that it is no longer sugar, so we can make a stupid claim that gets your attention because you are fooled into thinking it is somehow made of sugar.

  • by ChronoReverse (858838) on Friday September 28, 2012 @06:28PM (#41495235)
    It seems to me pretty disingenuous to say that the batteries are using sugar when it's really just carbon powder (which can be made from sugar).

    But we're not talking sugar straight out of the paper packet. Before it can be used as the anode in a sodium-ion battery, sucrose powder is turned into hard carbon powder by heating it to up to 1,500 degrees celsius in an oxygen-free oven

  • by icebike (68054) * on Friday September 28, 2012 @06:36PM (#41495287)

    ... or another form of power is a sin.

    I cannot find the right words to say how much this offends me. There are plenty of other places to get carbon that does not mean driving up the cost of food for everyone else, especially in poorer countries, like what has happened with corn/maize.

    --
    BMO

    Meh, we just plant more beets or cane.
    There's no shortage [reuters.com] of sugar in the world, so its not like you are taking food out of people's mouth.

    Further, US style high-surgar diets being exported to poor countries is very harmful [theecologist.org].

    In these countries, traditional healthy diets, made up of grains, beans, vegetables, fresh fruit and animal products are being replaced by more processed and junk foods high in saturated fats, salt and sugar.

    Batteries may turn out to be the best use for excess sugar, since the alternative would be eating it.

  • by spauldo (118058) on Friday September 28, 2012 @07:12PM (#41495573)

    You're missing a huge factor of scale here.

    We're using corn, soybeans, etc. as fuel. They're the energy source, so a lot of the market goes into fuel instead of food. Run out of fuel, you need more corn.

    These guys are using sugar to make a component on the battery. The energy comes from somewhere else. No matter how many times you recharge the battery, you won't use any more sugar.

    Even if we went into full scale production of these and replaced Li-Ion batteries altogether, it wouldn't make an appreciable difference on the sugar market.

    As an aside, you also have to consider that by removing the requirement of lithium, you're moving from a scarce resource to a common one. We could make those batteries in the U.S. (or whatever country you happen to be in) and not require buying lithium from China. Lithium is used for several drugs, and by removing the demand for lithium, those drugs may drop in price to the point they'll be more accessible to people in poorer countries.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @07:54PM (#41495833)
    Could be worse. If the researcher was within 1000KM of a 3D printer then the /. geeks would loudly claim that we can now 3D print batteries. Worst of all, if there was a story about Mars or Elon Musk in the last week, the story would have been about how sugar batteries will help private space tourists to colonize Mars.

    Think I'm exaggerating?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:00PM (#41495887)

    Oh, and btw mods, "overrated" and "flamebait" are not "I disagree"

    Thanks.

    But there's no "You are an idiot" mod, so I guess they'll have to do.

  • by spauldo (118058) on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:38PM (#41496033)

    As a guess, I'd say it was because grass clippings and other vegetable matter aren't very consistant and would require refining to attain the purity of carbon needed.

    Sugar (sucrose, anyway) is a refined product. I know, I pick up truckloads of it in Louisiana from the Domino refinery every now and again :) A fellow truck driver got a bag of raw sugar off a dump truck that was being delivered there, but he couldn't use it because it had sand in it.

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