Scientists from Purdue University developed a way to morph grains of pollen into anodes as the first step to creating a potential new battery. Anodes are electrodes that facilitate the flow of electricity into a device.
The process involved pyrolysis, which entails heating biological material to an extent where it becomes carbon. Popular Science reports this makes the pollen become a “pollen-shaped biochar” since the material doesn’t actually combust.
Next, oxygen heats up the biochar to boost the anode’s energy storage capacity.
Bee pollen and cattail pollen were tested. The first one is comprised of different pollen types while the second variant has the same uniform shape, according to Futurity.
Results indicated these pollen anodes had a flexible charging rate. A 10-hour span caused a full charge whereas one hour initiated only half a full charge.
The scientists plan on testing these components in a functional fuel-cell battery soon. This experiment was published in the journal Scientific Reports.