Common batteries are electrochemical cells. And they may get better thanks to living cells: the multicellular organism called brown algae.

Lithium ion batteries include a binder. It holds the graphite nanoparticles that ___1___ the anode. The binder isn’t active, but researchers say it’s crucial in the battery’s stability. In theory, a silicon anode would make a better battery than graphite, but it’s not stable. Cracks form, and the battery ___2___. The researchers thought—could a silicon anode ___3___ a better binder?

Seawater has a high ___4___ of ions, much like the battery’s electrolyte. So the researchers thought that an organism that survives in seawater might provide a natural binder. They tested alginate from brown algae. And it provided such an effective binder for silicon nanoparticles that the system didn’t degrade. The result? A battery that can store more energy, is less expensive, can last longer and wouldn’t use as many toxic chemicals in the manufacturing.

The research is online in Science Express, in advance of publication in the journal Science. [Igor Kovalenko et al., "A Major Constituent of Brown Algae for Use in High-Capacity Li-Ion Batteries"]

The scientists will ___5___ their alginate efforts, in the hope that fast-growing brown algae can help contribute to our fast-growing battery economy.
serve as degrades succeed with concentration refine
普通电池都是电化电池,不过在活细胞——多细胞生物,褐藻的帮助下能够得到优化。 锂电子电池含有一个粘合剂,里面的石墨毫微粒即为阳极。这个粘合剂并不活跃,但研究人员称它对电池的稳定性有至关重要的作用。理论上说,硅阳极电池要比石墨阳极的好,但不稳定,电池会破裂,也就不中用了。研究人员猜想——硅阳极和粘合剂结合能否奏效? 海水的离子浓度高,类似电池的电解液。研究人员推测,海洋生物很可能就是天然粘合剂。于是,他们用褐藻中的藻酸盐进行了一项测试,结果发现藻酸盐正是硅阳极绝佳的粘合剂,电池没有发生破裂。这表明了什么?这表明一种储能量大,价格低廉,耐久性强,有毒材料使用少的电池诞生了。 这项研究发表在《科学速递》网页专栏里,相关《科学》杂志尚未出版。