Mushroom Solution for Storing Renewable Power

Researchers worldwide are exploring how mycelium — those thin, thread-like fungal structures — can be harnessed for energy storage. Renewable energy storage is going to be a mammoth challenge for the world. As it often happens, nature throws up surprises. No wonder, nature-based solutions are a hot trend as the world grapples with severe climatic conditions.

Image Credit: MycoStories

A recent report in the magazine TCD – abbreviation for The Cool Down – quotes Azo Materials that shows how mycelium, the fungal filaments found under mushroom caps, could transform how we store renewable energy to power a greener future.

Researchers are exploring how mycelium — those thin, thread-like fungal structures — can be harnessed for energy storage. Lithium and other materials used in traditional batteries are costly and damaging to extract and the world needs an eco-friendly and efficient solution.

Mycelium’s unique properties, including its large surface area and ability to form intricate networks, make it a promising sustainable solution.

In intensive research, the report says, mycelium is showing exciting potential in several energy applications. When transformed into carbon, mycelium from certain mushroom species demonstrates higher electrical conductivity and storage capacity than other bio-based carbons. This makes mycelium a candidate for greener supercapacitors.

In fuel cells, fungal mycelium can help generate power while treating contaminated water by releasing enzymes that break down waste materials. When combined with algae, these fungal fuel cells produce electricity as protons move between the species.

The latest mycelium batteries, dubbed “myceliotronics,” use a mushroom skin as the base for the circuit board and casing. Thanks to its liquid-absorbing pores, mycelium is an ideal green replacement for the plastic polymer separators in conventional batteries. Compared to producing petroleum-based components, growing mycelium separators requires far fewer resources.

Innovations such as mycelium batteries can help us reliably access renewable power while reducing the pollution overheating our planet. Cleaner energy storage means a more stable climate with fewer catastrophic impacts on our health, communities, and food supply.

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