Will crabs and lobsters soon be used to make drums?

Will crabs and lobsters soon be used to make drums?

Will crabs and lobsters soon be used to make drums?


Lsea ​​air soon in electric vehicles? According to our British colleagues from Guardian, American scientists have managed to create more environmentally friendly electric batteries using a chemical compound found inside the shells of crabs and lobsters. This is “good” news as the issue of the environmental impact of batteries currently used in electric cars – for example – is increasingly criticized, with lithium in particular. A product that can sometimes take thousands of years to decompose.

Specifically, crabs and lobsters – like many crustaceans – have what is called an exoskeleton, in other words an external skeleton. If you have ever come across a crab on the beach – or on your plate … – you have noticed that the shell of these marine animals is extremely hard and tough. This characteristic is due to the presence of a very specific molecule: chitin. However, after a chemical treatment and the addition of an acid, this chitin can be transformed into a gel that acts as an electrolyte. This technical term designates a substance capable of transmitting an electrical charge. This gel therefore allows you to store energy.

Finally, to get a real battery, scientists have associated this electrolyte with zinc, a metal increasingly used by manufacturers. According to initial tests, the “green” battery retains 99.7% efficiency after a thousand recharges. In fact, any electric accumulator gradually loses efficiency over time. The challenge for manufacturers is to be able to offer longer and more stable efficiency.

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A battery that decomposes naturally and can be recycled

The real progress of this innovation, beyond its good efficiency, is above all its biodegradability. In fact, according to the scientists behind this experiment, two-thirds of this battery breaks down in less than five months, thanks to microbial activity. Even better, once the gel is gone, only zinc is left. However, manufacturers already know how to recycle this metal. According to Antonio J Fernández Romero, professor of materials science for energy production at the University of Cartagena in Spain, interviewed by our colleagues, this innovation is very important. “The design of new batteries that are ecological, economical and produce a high discharge capacity, is one of the most important elements that will have to be developed in the years to come”, explains the specialist.

Another benefit that strengthens this new battery, chitin is extremely widespread on Earth. In fact, in nature, it is present in mushrooms, but also in insects. It can also be found in restaurant food waste. Finally, during this study, the scientists realized that the battery was not flammable. A real plus when you know how complex electric battery fires are for firefighters to put out. It is clear that the hypothesis of chitin to obtain green batteries looks very solid.

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