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October 13th, 2009
The team - from the Uppsala University in Sweden - say that the distinctive cellulose nanostructure of these algae can serve as an effective coating substrate for use in environmentally friendly batteries.
"These algae have a special cellulose structure characterised by a very large surface area," says Gustav Nyström, a doctoral student in nanotechnology. "By coating this structure with a thin layer of conducting polymer, we have succeeded in producing a battery that weighs almost nothing and that has set new charge-time and capacity records for polymer-cellulose-based batteries."
Pharmaceutical applications of the cellulose from Cladophora algae have been explored for a number of years. This type of cellulose has a unique nanostructure, entirely different from that of terrestrial plants, that has been shown to function well as a thickening agent for pharmaceutical preparations and as a binder in foodstuffs. It is because of this huge surface area that the possibility of energy-storage applications has been raised.
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