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Report: Organic, recyclable batteries could be better for environment, cheaper

1 min. read

The good news just keeps coming about renewable energy. For instance, yesterday we read that "US solar company SunEdison claims to have come up with a way to produce polysilicon – a key ingredient for efficient solar panels – using a method that is far cheaper and more energy efficient than the current industry standard."  According to SunEdison, this "will provide source polysilicon to enable 400 watt peak PV panel performance at a cost of $US0.40 per watt peak by 2016."

We also learned that in just a few years, it's likely that home solar plus a batter could be cheaper than the grid in Germany.  Impressive.

And then there's this news.

Researchers at the Uppsala University in Sweden have come up with a battery that reuses lithium from old batteries, incorporates organic, sustainable materials and is recyclable at the end of its life.

Components of the battery are made from alfalfa and pine resin, and can be recycled using a low energy process and non-hazardous chemicals like water and ethanol, unlike regular lithium batteries that require high energy processes using hazardous chemicals to recover any reusable components.

[...]

The university says, "The scientists have shown that the lithium extracted from a spent battery can be used for a new battery: all that needs to be added is more biomaterial. Their battery proved capable of delivering as much as 99% of the energy output from the first. With future modifications, this figure can very probably become even higher, say the researchers."

Reusing lithium and sourcing organic materials for components is not only much better for the environment, but it could also substantially bring down the cost of batteries.

With cleantech innovation increasing performance and lowering costs every day, it's looking increasingly like the days of fossil fuels are truly numbered.

Topics: Clean Economy