Monday, April 6th 2009

Researchers Develop Gene Viruses to Build a Better Battery

Last week Reuters reported interesting information on a new virus that can be used to create batteries that can last three times as long as current lithium batteries.
Researchers who have trained a tiny virus to do their bidding said on Thursday they made it build a more efficient and powerful lithium battery. They changed two genes in the virus, called M13, and got it to do two things: build a shell made out of a compound called iron phosphate, and then attach to a carbon nanotube to make a powerful and tiny electrode.
Such an electrode could conceivably make more powerful memory devices such as MP3 players or cellular telephones, and are far more environmentally friendly than current battery technologies, said Angela Belcher, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology materials scientist who led the research.

"It has some of the same capacity and energy power performance as the best commercially available state-of-the-art batteries," Belcher said in a telephone interview.

"We could run an iPod on it for about three times as long as current iPod batteries. If we really scale it, it would be used in a car," she added. Such scaling is not even close, Belcher cautioned.

The technology is inherently green because it involves a live virus. "We are having organisms make the materials for us," Belcher said. "We are confined to temperatures and solvents -- water -- that organisms can live in. It's a clean technology. We can't do anything that kills our organisms."

Reporting in the journal Science, Belcher's team said their genetically engineered viruses were designed to grow shells of amorphous iron phosphate.

The material is generally not a good conductor, but makes a useful battery material when patterned at the nanoscale -- a microscopic molecular scale.

Lithium batteries are powerful and light, but they do not release their electrons very quickly. The virus-made material did, however. This translates into more battery power.

"My students hate it when I say we sit back and let them (the viruses) do the work. We put a lot of work in too," Belcher said.

"But once you have the right genetic sequence and have the right proteins then you just put them in solution with water and ions and they template the battery in the same way an abalone templates a shell. They build little shells around themselves."

The team is already working on a second-generation battery using materials with higher voltage and electrical capacity, such as manganese phosphate and nickel phosphate, said Belcher. This new technology could go into commercial production, she said.
Source: Reuters
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27 Comments on Researchers Develop Gene Viruses to Build a Better Battery

#1
eidairaman1
Reminds me of I am legend, using viruses to make stuff and then eventually it mutates into something else that causes problems.
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#2
Assassin48
by: eidairaman1
Reminds me of I am legend, using viruses to make stuff and then eventually it mutates into something else that causes problems.
like Rsident evil the regenerist virus and that one beauty company made a product called regenerist i was like :eek: didnt they see the movie?
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#3
Binge
Overclocking Surrealism
Zombie apocalypse here we come! Who has their shotty?... other than CD :laugh:
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#4
z1tu
:laugh: I'm sure we'll be alright :toast:
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#5

When i read the article i thought "Oh wow, this is definitely gonna mutate and kill everyone" xD
#6
thebeephaha
Totally buying some guns. A P90 is high on my list.
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#7
BazookaJoe
This is too awesome....

I cant think of anything to add. "T" Virus here I come!

I want to be one of those ones with like a Bazooka grown into my shoulder... OOH, and a laser sighting eye...

Edit : And a Jet-pack...

Edit : Fluff it, I wanna be IronMan :
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#8
laszlo
by: thebeephaha
Totally buying some guns. A P90 is high on my list.
why not buying a big condom....

i've seen a commercial spot people in big condoms...:laugh:
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#9
TreadR
My first thought when hearing about live viruses was that it will probably be used as another bio-weapon... maybe to torture, manipulate and destroy anyone who's a threat to those that control it. Thinking Bilderberg...
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#10
PP Mguire
by: thebeephaha
Totally buying some guns. A P90 is high on my list.
Same here. Im NOT for controling virus's to do my bidding.
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#11
Assassin48
Ill be armoring up a F650 anyone wanna ride?

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#13
TheMailMan78
Banstick Dummy
Skynet. Thats all I'm going to say. SKYNET.

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#14
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
I read about this a few months back in CPU I believe it was. Sounds promising, but even then I was hesitant with using a virus. Who knows, if the battery leaks, you may contract some new disease.
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#15
z1tu
meh if the virus is programmed to do a certain thing then i don't think it'll do anything else ... i think :D
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#18
Marineborn
hmmm intriging using living organism's for energy, i figured it would eventually come to this, this can only lead to worse and worse things..matrix anyone?
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#19
h3llb3nd4
by: BazookaJoe
This is too awesome....

I cant think of anything to add. "T" Virus here I come!

I want to be one of those ones with like a Bazooka grown into my shoulder... OOH, and a laser sighting eye...

Edit : And a Jet-pack...

Edit : Fluff it, I wanna be IronMan :
Nah I'd rather be bruce lee:D fight!
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#20
3870x2
hmm, they should legalize marijuana so that we can use as "herbs" to fight the zombies!!!
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#21
Haytch
by: TreadR
Thinking Bilderberg...
Ofcourse. . . What better way to kill off the masses then a mistake :)
In the Resident Evil storyline, wasn't it the Elite Bilderberg that was running the whole show ?

Im sorta bored of modern day First Person Shooters and i foresee most of mankind as being a Zombie already, so it would be nice to actually be able to do something about stupid people and Zombies.

BTW, i too will need a decent vehicle, but i think ill get myself a stolen Hummer and deck it out with a few of the boyz.
The Glock will need a shitload of extra rounds, but what ill require is a nice Sniper rifle so i can have have a coffee and bong on a rooftop somewhere. The jetpack will indeed come in handy.

I think Z1tu is right, this shouldnt mutate or do anything beyond what its designed to do, but since we humans have never really done this before we cant be sure.
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#22
z1tu
by: Haytch
and i foresee most of mankind as being a Zombie already
:roll: that was a joke right?
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#23
Haytch
Nope. I rarely come across an individual i can maintain a conversation with for more then 15 minutes.
Its rare for me to come across someone that understands respect, honour, purpose and legacy.

Maybe i should stop hanging out at a pub ? <--< Thats the joke.
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#24
z1tu
nice one :laugh:
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#25
FreedomEclipse
Crazy Dogmatic Bullsh!t!
by: Binge
Zombie apocalypse here we come! Who has their shotty?... other than CD :laugh:
I know Kung Fu....
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