top of page

Our Solution

00:00 / 03:02

To improve the viability of Na+ batteries, we plan to incorporate fungi in two ways. First, we will replace the liquid electrolyte with a live fungal species; second, we will use heated tissue from Portobello mushroom caps as anode material.

How will replacing the liquid electrolyte with a fungal species improve our battery?

By replacing the liquid electrolyte with fungi, we can prevent the degradation of our battery. Chemical reactions in the electrolyte cause buildup, which impedes the movement of ions between the electrodes. With a live fungal species acting, we could facilitate the transfer of Na+ between electrodes. This removes the chemical reactions that cause degradation, which would increase overall safety, efficiency, and lifespan of our battery. 

One species that looks particularly promising is the wood-rot fungus Schizophyllum communeIt has the ability to absorb cations at one area of it's mycelial structure, and transfer them through it's hyphae to another area of it's structure, which would work perfectly for our battery.

How will using portobello mushroom tissue improve our battery?

In a battery, inactive material, usually the current collector, is necessary to facilitate the transfer of current to power devices. However, the more inactive material present, the lower charge density the battery has. On the contrary, if there is less inactive material, the battery cannot discharge as fast due to less available material to collect current. As sheets of portobello mushrooms form porous structures highly conductive to the storage of ions when heated to temperatures above 1,000 °C, we plan to use heated portobello mushroom tissue to lower the amount of initiative material and thus, create a more efficient Na+ battery.

Here's our prototype with annotations about the parts. . .

Purple: Cathode material that are layered oxide which help store the cation and electron after being discharged.

Green: A mycelial network of fungal hyphae that facilitate the movement of cations between electrodes.

Gray: Structural supports to hold the electrode material. 

Side View

Top View

Cyan: Portobello mushroom flakes that increase energy density and storage capacity of the anode.

Red: A separator that prevents the touching of the electrodes, which would risk a short-circuit.

Pink and Light Blue: External Wires used for

the transport of electrons.

Here's a demonstration of how our battery functions . . .

00:00 / 00:02

Why are these batteries so important?

bottom of page