MIT designs viruses that can build batteries

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MIT designs viruses that can build batteries

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have genetically engineered viruses to build lithium batteries.

The team have designed viruses that form cathodes by coating themselves with iron phosphate and bond with carbon nanotubes to create a network of highly conductive material.

Three years ago MIT managed to perform a similar trick to make viruses form anodes by attracting cobalt oxide and gold and self-assembling to form a nanowire.

The process is also relatively green, as it is conducted at room temperature and involves no organic solvents.

Using the two processes the production of lithium batteries could be made much more environmentally friendly and potentially reduce the cost of battery production significantly.

MIT President Susan Hockfield took a battery created by the process to the White House and showed it to President Obama, who has committed funding to such projects.

The team will use the same process to create more efficient batteries using manganese phosphate and nickel phosphate. These will hopefully be ready for mass production soon.

Details of the new battery creation technology are to be published in the journal Science.

The research was funded by the Army Research Office Institute of the Institute of Collaborative Technologies, and the National Science Foundation through the Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers program.

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