Scientists Create a Battery That Can Run on Salt Water, And Maybe One Day, Even Sweat

By Dave Meikleham on at

A Chinese research team has made a new kind of flexible battery that's not only free of dangerous chemicals, it can actually run on salt water.

Image: Amazon

The team developed two different types of battery – one belt-shaped, the other a nanotube – and instead of squeezing harmful electrolytes into them, they managed to make the gizmos run successfully on relatively harmless chemicals, like sodium sulfate. According to Engadget, this sulfate formula worked the best out of the three solutions the team tested, producing results comparable to the sort of performance a lithium-ion battery usually found in watches pumps out. These batteries are robust, too. The belt-shaped one continued to function even after being bent 100 times. 

Engadget hypotheses that because these batteries can run off sodium-based liquids, there may be scope for further redesigns to eventually run on salty bodily fluids, like human sweat. A sweat-powered watch, you say? That cry you can hear is the sound of a million obsessive joggers all squealing in delight.

In a statement, one of the team's researchers, Yonggang Wang, suggests the science powering these batteries could have handy medical uses, too. "We can implant these fibre-shaped electrodes into the human body to consume essential oxygen, especially for areas that are difficult for injectable drugs to reach," he wrote.

That sounds dandy. But as a man who likes to frequently ruin his shins on runs, I'm still dreaming of that sweat-powered timekeeper.

Water world we live in.