Looking Beyond The Horizon

Innovative Technologies & Services

Sugar powered battery – Will Minteer’s innovation find its way to mainstream consumers?

Posted by evolvingwheel on April 7, 2007

My good friend Mark forwareded to me this news article. The news published in Saint Louis University‘s website talks about one of their research scientists, Shelley Minteer, who presented a sugar powered biodegradable battery at the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical society. The technology’s most promising aspect is its source of energy. The battery runs on renewable fuel sources such as sugar solution, soda, glucose, and tree sap. power-your-laptop-by-sugar-based-battery_9

Minteer claims that her version of the battery is superior to other similar new devices in terms of power and longevity. The technology mimics the operational model of our body. The human body unleashes energy from glucose and does that very efficiently. The sugar powered battery has similar enzymes that extracts juice out of glucose solutions. Minteer is foreseeing her invention to find its use in cell phone rechargers. The device will come with cartridges pre-filled with sugar solutions and she expects that people will use the recharger for juicing up on-the-go.

However, I would like to ask few questions regarding commercializing the invention for mainstream use:

§         How big will this cartridge pack be? What is the size-to-power yield ratio? An average consumer will not like to have a device that takes too much space in his/her briefcase or pockets.

§         The product definitely can’t be the best looking, sleek accessory for everyday use. Sugar solution is a liquid that needs some form of container – as it appears from the cartridge offering. And furthermore dipping a device in solutions or pouring solutions into it can be a cumbersome alternative – unless the refill takes place once in a month. Considering the proposition of pre-packed cartridges, which will be a recurring source of revenue, how long will these cartridges last? Usability in today’s consumer electronics is mandatory.

§         How will this product compete with current conventional alternatives? Metallic batteries are evolving too fast and inventions are trying to unleash the power of nano-materials. Inventors are also finding recycle methods that can break down the batteries into recyclable if not biodegradable components after processing.

Nevertheless, the product can find its usage in bigger and heavy duty applications like that in military and factory components. May be the researcher should focus more on such areas rather than miniature consumer applications… or may be she has all these questions addressed by now and the realization process will be a no-brainer![Read Article]


One Response to “Sugar powered battery – Will Minteer’s innovation find its way to mainstream consumers?”

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