When you think of mushrooms and the most sought after ones, of course, you think about truffles. Pardue University isn’t looking for truffles to eat, but rather a wild mushroom that could aid in the future of lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. Allegedly, the university is taking the carbon fibers from the wild mushroom and altered it with nanoparticles, which has resulted in interesting observations.
Vilas Pol, an associate professor in the School of Chemical Engineering and the School of Materials Engineering, says, “Current state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries must be improved in both energy density and power output in order to meet the future energy storage demand in electric vehicles and grid energy storage technologies. So there is a dire need to develop new anode materials with superior performance.”
The mushroom in question is the Tyromyces fissilis and will form electrodes for lithium-ion batteries according to the researchers.
“Both the carbon fibers and cobalt oxide particles are electrochemically active, so your capacity number goes higher because they both participate,” Pol added. The team took the carbon fibers from the mushroom and attached it to cobalt oxide nanoparticles and created the battery that allegedly has 530 milliamp hours per gram.
Jialiang Tang, a student from Pardue University and assisting Pol on the project, said, “The methods now used to produce carbon fibers for batteries are often chemical heavy and expensive. I was curious about the structure [of the mushroom] so I cut it open and found that it has very interesting properties. IT’s very rubbery and yet very tough at the same time. Most interestingly, when I cut it open it has a very fibrous network structure.”
According to Power-EETimes, the network that runs within a fungus like a mushroom would ensure “faster electron transport” which would lead to faster battery charging if it could be implemented into an energy storage unit.
Read Pardue University’s report: Wild Fungus Derived Carbon Fibers and Hybrids as Anodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries