Power Japan Plus has developed a powerful battery with numerous potential uses, powering everything from flashlights to electric cars. There is no active ingredient other than cotton, which has considerable implications for the sustainability of the battery – as it is both renewable and biodegradable.
The Ryden Dual Carbon Battery looks like a lithium-ion battery, but comprises a ‘dual carbon complex’ made from organic, carbon-based cotton restructured so fibres act as anodes and cathodes inside an organic electrolyte-conducting liquid.
The battery’s many advantages include cost, safety, durability, reliability, power duration and speed of charging compared with alternatives – in particular lithium ion batteries. It is also reported to be safer than conventional batteries as it maintains a constant temperature during use, and so doesn’t require an energy-draining cooling system. It charges significantly faster than traditional batteries (over 3,000 times faster) and, if used in electric cars, could allow a range of up to 300 miles. What’s more, it is 100 percent recyclable.
Professor Ishihara and Dr Takeya drew on a previous Japanese invention from the 1970s, which was never taken forward. A pilot production line has been begun and there are plans to begin manufacturing large quantities of between 500 to 5,000 batteries a month. The carbon complex technology has potential applications in healthcare and heating.
If the technology becomes widespread, there could be important implications for the cultivation and trade of cotton. Will we see energy and textile companies team up to secure a sustainable supply?
Professor Tatsumi Ishihara and Dr Kaname Takeya, Kyushu University