Future smartphones could be powered by a technique that uses sugar

Future smartphones could be powered by a technique that uses sugar
Wouldn't it be sweet if you could use sugar to power up the battery in your smartphone? If your battery life is running low, a "spoonful of sugar" could keep your handset running for hours. The process currently being tested allows the sugar-powered cell to run as efficiently as today's regular batteries do. Obviously, this would provide cheaper power.

This is based on a discovery made four years ago by the geniuses at MIT A wire made of carbon nanotubes is lit on both ends, which is coated with a combustible material. Table sugar is used to heat the carbon nanotubes, which creates an electric current. Previous tests produced small amounts of electricity. Now, a Professor in Chemical Engineering at MIT, Michael Strano, has increased the efficiency of the process more than a thousandfold. According to MIT, Strano's team has been able to create a device that produces the same amount of power "pound for pound" as today's best juicers.

Strano says that the improvement in efficiency takes the process from being a mere curiosity to a project that can be commercially exploited. The professor says that the technique is "within striking distance of other portable energy technologies," which include lithium-iron and fuel cells. He also adds that "it’s actually remarkable that this [phenomenon] hasn’t been studied before."

When the experiments first started, more explosive materials were used to create the necessary heat. But the team discovered that sucrose provided an efficient source of heat, resulting in the generation of the electric current. Other materials might be even more efficient. All that is required is heat to burn the wire.


One great discovery is that the power source does not lose energy over time. In other words, the power devices can sit on a store shelf for an indefinite period of time without losing power. It also can scale down to very small sizes, giving manufacturers the room to add larger and more powerful components. Hopefully, this process gets more refined (no pun intended) over time and finds its way into the smartphone of the future.

source: MIT via BGR

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26 Comments

1. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 2016

Sugar? Wow. Surely on one day too, cars will run on water! No more gas!

8. Unordinary unregistered

2053: Price of water/gallon - $12.99 Just like one city (I believe somewhere in the UK) wants to start taxing the %&$*%& SUN. For solar energy.

13. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Taxing the sun?? That city needs Batman.

14. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 2016

Batman? A bat actually isn't sun-friendly. Bats naturally fly and flex their wings at night. You might want to find another analogy. :D

21. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

No, always Batman.

19. TMHKR

Posts: 202; Member since: Dec 08, 2012

A guy in Australia invented the engine that runs on water. Shortly after, he was arrested and placen in a mental institution.

2. Mrinal

Posts: 36; Member since: Feb 28, 2016

Lol!

3. rick_mobile

Posts: 358; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

sucrose huh? The youtuber techrax should drop a phone with this battery into liquid oxygen and see if it survives :)

5. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 2016

TechRax is one heck of a phone torturer. adrianisen and JerryRigEverything along with GadgetHospital all do the same too. :D

12. ananthu07 unregistered

adrianisen mainy does speed test not all that many torture test except for some rare cases like Moto turbo 2

15. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 2016

"adrianisen mainly does speed test and not all that many torture test..." I know that already. You're opinion is still welcomed, though.

4. AppleVersusAndroid unregistered

Explosive materials and phenomenal bursts of power? Is it just me, but doesn't it seem like the sugar would burn out fairly quickly? I read the source material and it says, as I surmised, that you'd have to replace the sugar once it burns out. It just doesn't seem ... practical.

9. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Yes AvA (Apple Versus Android!) MIT isn't what it used to be... These are just bunch of lab dorks wasting funds on ridiculous projects... I'm a bachelor of commerce, always hated chemistry and know nothing about it... And yet even an idiot like me can see that it's practically unviable and is just WORTHLESS... MIT, huh? Monks In Tibet...

11. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

take a look for glow in the dark cat, or transparent fish, lol.. most of scientist need a real job -_-

6. Podrick

Posts: 1285; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

SmartPhones will get diabetes.

7. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

I want a Smartphone that comes with a Nuclear Reactor... Now that ought to last a month or so, right?

10. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

1 kilogram Uranium 235 can Produce 22.5GWh.. so, one spoonfull should enough to power a smartphone for decades (plus radioactive leftover that can last for centuries as free bonus)

16. dimas

Posts: 3363; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

A technology that will make energy consumption cheaper? I bet the business world won't like that.

17. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

@dimas No, lad... I don't think battery manufacturers are like oil companies... An advancement in battery technology mean more adaption, which is a good news for them... The only thing stopping electric cars into mainstream is the limited mileage... The business world gonna love it, mostly... Though Arabs and Russians won't be much pleased about it!

18. Bernoulli

Posts: 4360; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

All that this is doing is converting organic compounds into heat, co2 and h2o. Nothing but a mini-generator. Wood could also be used on this, as well as gasoline, kerosene, heck even diesel, now diesel would be ideal, since it burns way slower, also cooking oil could be used.

20. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

I have seen something similar from Sony in 2007 i wonder when this kind of technology can be mass produced. http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Press/200708/07-074E/

22. sam3k

Posts: 130; Member since: May 02, 2013

Sweet!!

23. jonathonpower7

Posts: 49; Member since: Mar 09, 2016

And then phone will get diabetes. :)

24. Trakker

Posts: 283; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

Mmmmmmmm... Lithium candy cells.

25. Jackdaw

Posts: 66; Member since: Mar 10, 2016

Every year there is a breakthrough how this and that new technology will improve and double, triple battery life. Most of them were supposed to "change the game" in the next 2 year. Thing is those breakthroughs were announced 5-6 years ago....

26. JumpinJackROMFlash

Posts: 464; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

"a "spoonful of sugar" could keep your handset running for hours" Wow! Now I'll just have to carry a 2lb bag of sugar around to get through the day!

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