Your smartphone could soon be vitamin-powered thanks to University of Toronto researchers

Turns out vitamins could be as good for the earth as they are for your health.

Researchers out of the University of Toronto have created a battery powered by vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, which can be commonly found in things like leafy vegetables — think Popeye’s spinach — and dairy products.

Not only is this a groundbreaking scientific breakthrough, it’s also a major step towards the development of more sustainable, and inexpensive, commercial lithium-ion batteries in the future — something that could have a significant impact on the mobile industry.

“We’ve been looking to nature for a while to find complex molecules for use in a number of consumer electronics applications,” said Dr. Dwight Seferos, corresponding author of the research and member of the University of Toronto’s Department of Chemistry in a recent Sci-News.com article.

“When you take something made by nature that is already complex, you end up spending less time making new material.”

So how does it work? The innovation replaces a traditional lithium-ion battery’s cathode, which is typically made of active materials including cobalt, nickel and lithium, with a much more earth-friendly bio-derived pendant polymer cathode.

“It’s a pretty safe, natural compound. If you wanted to, you could actually eat the source material it comes from,” says Dr. Seferos.

It could also mean a large savings in production cost, since the price of lithium has more than quadrupled since September 2015. If the researchers’ work leads to commercial breakthroughs, this could potentially pass on a large savings to consumers.

Image credit: Toshiyuki IMAI

[source]Sci-News.com[/source] [via]Cantech Letter[/via]

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