MIT's virus-battery capable of three times more power

Posted by Samantha Rose Hunt

Cambridge (MA) - Scientists at MIT have managed to engineer a virus which could potentially form a battery to outlast and outpower those available today three times over. The battery would have the ability to power MP3 players, mobile phones and potentially even a car. The battery would be much more environmentally sound than battery technologies currently utilized.





Originally, the virus type used was commonly found infecting bacteria and not humans. The genes contained in M13, as the virus is being called, were modified to collect negatively charged particles and then build up a small, powerful electrode using carbon nanotubes and metal compounds. The electrode would be capable of producing a battery which is both faster and more powerful than the current lithium batteries (see MIT's other advancements on lithium-ion batteries that enable discharging and recharging in mere seconds).



"It has some of the same capacity and energy power performance as the best commercially available state-of-the-art batteries," Angela Belcher, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientist leading the research stated.



"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 continued, though at this stage of development and research, scaling at such a magnitude is not close to being possible.



MIT is currently working on a second generation battery with materials allowing for higher voltage and electrical capacity, for possible commercial production.