Oct 22, 2016 06:29 PM EDT

Prehistoric Algae Can Create Future Cars

By Paula

Diatoms, a prehistoric single-celled algae, is our ticket in creating better batteries for future cars, reports claim.

Researchers from the University of California explained that they used diatoms in anodes for lithium batteries. They are positive that their findings will create better lithium batteries for electrical devices and vehicles.

Science Daily explained that normal rechargeable batteries in electric vehicles have several major components like anode, cathode and electrolyte. Organic solvent is used to dissolve lithium salt creating electrolyte.

To create Anode, scientists use graphite this has a limiting factor that makes batteries better. This also expands the battery's application.

Researchers are using silicon to replace anodes. Silicon can store 10 times more energy than anodes can, Phys.org reported.

However, they said that production of silicon-based batteries through carbothermic reduction uses a lot of energy and expensive.  Carbothermic reduction is used for traditional method battery production.

The research team used Diatomaceous Earth (DE), a cheap silicon source, for this study. DE can be found in sedimentary rocks that is composed of fossilized diatoms.

Diatoms has been deposited from sedimentary rocks for over millions of years. They researchers also explained that they used magnesiothermic reduction, which help them convert Silicon Dioxide to Silicon Nano-particles.

Researcher Cengiz Ozkan explained that it is significant that the preserve frustules, diatom cell walls. Ozkan also said that frustules created high porous anodes that can easily access electrolytes.

Mihri Ozkan, another researcher, explained that they created this to help people improve electric vehicles. She believes that this will help people have better batteries.

They are positive that DE will be another source battery anode silicon. The stressed that DE is an abundant and inexpensive way for creating a better battery.

The researchers explained that this is the latest project of the researchers. They were previously involved in developing anodes coming from portabella mushrooms and beach sands.  

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