I’m allergic to batteries!

1 min read

Every so often, we see a story that is immediately classified under the heading ‘you couldn’t make it up’.

Over the years, these stories have included the idea that a lobster’s eye could be used as part of a lithography system, the similarity between the nervous system of a nematode worm and computer chips, a computer based on the swarming activities of soldier crabs, a slime mould that might be used to perform basic computing operations and, one of the more recent, the idea that wood based chips might be possible.

The latest addition to what is becoming quite a thick file comes from the US, where a researcher has determined that pollen could be used for anodes in lithium-ion batteries.

However, when you take a closer look, the idea isn’t as far fetched as it might seem. Spores – in this case, something called the cattail pollen – have an intricate structure and, when reduced to pure carbon, provide the high surface area needed in a battery electrode.

Initial tests are said to be promising, with a storage capacity of 200mAh/g achieved after one hour’s charging. Further work will now be undertaken.

How long before a lithium-ion battery carries a sticker warning those with pollen allergies about its content?