A new technique for manufacturing batteries has been developed by scientists, which involves reprogramming viruses to build the cells. The ‘harmless to humans’ virus would normally grab molecules it needs in order to build itself a protective shell in its host, but these particular viruses have been engineered to use iron and phosphate molecules available in a specially prepared solution, to assemble anodes and cathodes for the poles on a battery.
As well as being more environmentally friendly than current battery production methods, they are also easier to dispose of, as they are organic in structure. The developers of the virus battery hope to one day create a battery that could be sprayed onto clothing, to power our everyday lives, or to power super soldiers of the future.
“Typical soldiers have to carry several pounds of batteries. But if you could turn their clothing into a battery pack, they could drop a lot of weight,” said Mark Allen, a postdoc in Angela Belcher’s lab at MIT.
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