Sugar Batteries, Sweet - But Can You Eat Them?

Scientists from Saint Louis University have unveiled a new battery that's expected to become the future of portable power. It would last several times longer than a lithium battery and run on anything from flat soda to tree sap, although sugar water apparently works best. The great thing about these sugar batteries …they're biodegradable. I wonder how Walmart scores electronics that run on sugar.

The fuel cell batteries combine sugar (a fuel for all living things) with air to generate electricity, and have a byproduct that's mostly water. The specifics go way above my head, but it's something about shrimp shell membranes and a charge-stripping enzyme. Hope that clears things up for you.

Researchers presented a prototype at the American Chemical Society annual meeting and announced their fuel cell could be ready for commercialization in three to five years. Maybe not a long time for them, but I'll be counting the days until I can power my portable devices without feeling guilty.

Back to my first question

There could be one downfall though. What if I got lost miles from the nearest convenience store and had an emergency sugar craving. Then it would be eat the batteries, or power the cell phone to call for help -- and I don't trust myself to make that decision. So until then I'll just stick to my NiMH rechargeables and hope they don't bring the pee powered battery to market first, as plentiful as that resource may be.
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