Sony runs Walkman off sugar-based bio battery

Sony has created a battery that uses sugar as a fuel and delivers enough energy to power a Walkman

A year ago it seemed Sony couldn't even get a laptop battery right. A massive recall of lithium-ion cells tainted its image and had the company scrambling, but on Thursday it reported a sweet breakthrough in bio battery technology.

Sony, one of the world's largest battery makers, said it had succeeded in creating a battery that produces electricity by breaking down sugar. The bio cell, which measures 39 millimeters cubed, delivers 50mW (milliWatts) -- a world record for such a cell, according to the company.

A video provided by Sony shows four of the cells connected in series delivering enough energy to power a Walkman music player. The battery uses glucose solution as a fuel. A second video shows a small fan being powered by the cell with a glucose-based sports drink used as the fuel.

As in other cells, power is produced through a flow of electrons between a cathode and anode.

In the bio cell sugar-digesting enzymes at the anode extract electrons and hydrogen ions from the glucose. The hydrogen ions pass through a membrane separator to the cathode where they absorb oxygen from the air to produce water as a byproduct. The electrons flow around the circuit outside the device producing the electricity needed to power it.

Details of the bio battery were accepted as a paper at the 234th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition that is taking place this week in Boston.

Sugar is naturally occurring so the technology could be the basis for an ecologically-friendly energy source. Companies like Sony are researching numerous technologies that could replace the dominant lithium ion cells as a clean power source for portable electronics.

One of the most talked about is fuel cell technology. While hydrogen-based cells have taken off for home or automobile use, versions based on methanol for use in electronics products have yet to be commercialized. Toshiba and NEC are among the companies that promised methanol fuel cell-based laptops in previous years, but each time technology launches have been delayed.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?