The prototype of a promising biobattery has recently been developed by researchers at the German Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Energy and Safety Technology. The battery they developed is actually a highly efficient biogas plant which is capable of transforming different types of organic raw materials, such as straw, scrap wood and sludge into different energy sources like electricity, purified gas and engine oil.
They’re currently still testing it, but it is proving to be very modular and cost-efficient even on the small scale. The prototype battery the researchers built is capable of processing 66 lbs (30 kg) of biomass per hour.
Biogas is a source of renewable energy capable of generating electricity with little impact to the environment. In addition to that, it can also be used to create fertilizer, biofuel and engine oil. The main drawback until now, however, is that this is only possible with a limited variety of raw materials.
The biobattery developed by the Fraunhofer Institute eliminates this obstacle, because the battery they created is capable of accepting a variety of input materials, which would otherwise cost a lot of money to dispose of while also taxing the environment. These include biomass waste, sewage sludge, straw, scrap wood and manure. The biobattery is capable of turning all these into useful energy, while also being very flexible and highly modular.
The battery works by allowing the raw materials to pass through a sluice in an airless environment and into a continuously rotating screw. In the next step, the input material is heated and broken down into bio char and volatile gases. These gases are partially purified and collected, with the rest condensed into a liquid containing a mixture of water and high-quality oil.
These end products have many uses. The oil can become fuel for ships or airplanes; the gases can be used in a combined heat and power plant to produce electricity, while biochar makes good fertilizer.
Another key advantage of this battery is that is it economically viable even on a small scale, meaning that it requires a small investment and still bring profitable results. Since the battery is also modular, it can easily be slowly upgraded over time to achieve higher efficiency.