Powered By Viruses!


Or is it virii? Either way, the little critters may hold the key to green power.

Researchers at MIT have announced that they have genetically engineered viruses that can replace the toxic chemicals found in lithium-ion batteries.

The first virus, which acts as a positively charged anode, was created three years ago and its partner, which acts as negatively charged cathode has recently been finished. The viruses form nanowires in the battery by coating themselves in gold, cobalt oxide and iron phosphate, allowing the electrons to flow.

Professor Angela Belcher, who led the MIT team, has made it clear that the viruses pose no threat to human beings. The viruses used are common bacteriophage, which infect bacteria but are harmless to humans, so we’re not looking at a real-life Resident Evil.

The virus battery is still in the prototype stage, as they begin to lose capacity much sooner than conventional lithium-ion batteries, but once perfected should be a major step towards making electric cars a genuinely green prospect. The coin cell has been demonstrated to Barack Obama by MIT President Susan Hockfield.

The urge to say “It’s alive, it’s alive!” is almost overpowering…

Source: Business Green via io9

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