Crab shell electrolyte could yield greener batteries

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In Maryland and Texas, researchers have found that an electrolyte extracted from crab shells can be used to produce batteries. 

In a recent study published in the journal Matter, the group from the Universities of Maryland and Houston say the chitosan-Zn electrolyte enables high-rate and durable Zn-metal batteries. 

The material also biodegrades in just five months, raising hopes for more environmentally friendly battery materials amid rising demand for electric vehicles. 

“Vast quantities of batteries are being produced and consumed, raising the possibility of environmental problems,” Liangbing Hu, director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Materials Innovation, says in a press release. “For example, polypropylene and polycarbonate separators, which are widely used in Lithium-ion batteries, take hundreds or thousands of years to degrade and add to environmental burden.”