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Recyclable Battery made From Amino Acids

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    Science & Technology
  • Published
    8th Jun, 2021


Researchers at Texas A&M developed a battery that would be lightweight and powerful, like lithium-ion batteries and more easily recyclable.

About the amino acid batteries

  • Basic material: The researchers chose polymers of amino acids which is called polypeptides because these polymers break apart into their building blocks, amino acids, when heated with just the right amount of acid.
  • Conduction: Polypeptides are not inherently conductive, so the researchers chemically modified them by attaching structural units that can transfer electrons back and forth.
  • Electrodes: They built electrodes by mixing the polypeptides with carbon black, another conductive material, and a binding material to hold everything together.
  • Reusable: The researchers disassembled the batteries and broke the polypeptide electrodes down into amino acids and other small molecule building blocks that could be reused to re-build battery electrodes later.
  • Drawback: The polypeptide batteries didn’t perform quite as well as traditional lithium-ion batteries, they are an exciting alternative because the energy storing materials inside them were easily recovered.

Amino Acids:

  • Amino acids are organic compounds that contain amino (–NH2) and carboxyl (–COOH) functional groups.
  • The key elements of an amino acid are carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), and nitrogen (N).
  • Amino acids are the structural units (monomers) that make up proteins.
  • They join together to form short polymer chains called peptides or longer chains called polypeptides.