PITTSBURG, Ks. — Scientists at Pittsburg State University are converting soybean biomass into batteries.
Why did they decide to do this?
Associate Professor of Chemistry and Lead Researcher Dr. Ram Gupta says that many soybean fields are in Kansas and Missouri. With that and many industries switching to electric, he wanted to use the biomass from the beans to make batteries which have a longer life span than regular batteries.
Dr. Ram Gupta – Associate Professor of Chemistry and Lead Researcher, said, “Our idea was you can double up a battery using these bio-based material which can be charged very fast. Then you are driving from here from example Oklahoma and you don’t want to stop in between to charge your car for two hours, electric vehicles, our aim is that ‘hey, can we make some batteries which can be charged in 10 to 15 minutes.”
Many soybeans are used to extract oils as bio-based. Making Dr. Gupta want to use them to make batteries.
“This is being used using a very versatile approach, so these batteries are very eco-friendly, because it does not involve any toxic chemicals inside, so this is, that’s the reason it’s very eco-friendly in the nature.”
But what makes this project even more special is the help that they are getting from students at the university.
Felipe Souza – Graduate Student, said, “There are many testings that we do, and something that, for example that I remember from the back of my head that we do very often it’s called sicrolotomatry, so we kinda analyze how much charge the material you can store, and that’s really important because then you see the what is the usefulness of the material.”
With all the testing and sharing ideas, it doesn’t come without difficulty.
“It’s something really challenging. Like, we need to push ourselves and develop new things like think creatively, and that’s really nice. It’s definitely the greatest honor I’ve been involved.”
To help with this project. The university received a grant of $150,000 from the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council that they hope will continue into the following years. Dr. Gupta says that they hope to have the project completely finished in two to three years.