A group of scientists and researchers from the University of Maryland and the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology from Beijing have created a high-tech sodium-ion battery using a decidedly low-tech ingredient -- an oak leaf. The researchers baked the oak leaf before flushing it with sodium, creating a negative battery terminal.
The leaf's natural shape makes it ideal for battery use, thanks to its low surface area and the fact that it includes a lot of tightly packed miniature structures. The scientists baked a dry leaf at 1,000 degrees Centigrade for an hour, before immersing it in hydrogen chloride for six hours to get rid of inorganic impurities. The end result is a carbonized leaf whose pores can absorb sodium electrolyte.
This sodium-ion battery is a wonderful invention as it proves that organic materials do indeed have potential to take care of some energy needs.
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