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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

Scientists Say Chemical In Crab Shells Beat Lithium

Maryland is already famous for its crabs — but researchers at the University of Maryland are looking to give that distinction an entirely different meaning, Ben Stern reported for The Cool Down.

Photo Insert: Crustacean shells packed with this chemical are typically thrown out en masse by restaurants that have no other use for them.



Scientists at the school’s Center for Materials Innovation found that crustaceans like crabs and lobsters contain a chemical in their shells called chitin, which can be used to power batteries when combined with zinc.

Crustacean shells packed with this chemical are typically thrown out en masse by restaurants that have no other use for them.



Lithium-ion batteries, the common kind found in most of our cellphones and laptops, can take hundreds of thousands of years to break down after they’re used up.


But these shellfish batteries are biodegradable and can decompose in the soil after just five months, leaving behind zinc, which can be recycled. The University of Maryland’s study also found that chitin-zinc batteries were 99.7% efficient after over 400 hours of use.





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