Professor of Nanotechnology
Upsalla University, Upsalla, Sweden
Strømme, 41, was on the research team that developed a battery using algae. It's now figuring out how to make it as powerful as a lithium-ion battery.
"The materials used in today's lithium-ion batteries come from limited resources. So we need to think about new materials. We're making batteries with electrodes made from algae cellulose. The first version is supercheap and very environmentally friendly but has very low energy density. The electrodes consist of algae cellulose coated with polypyrrole, a conducting polymer. To use it for large-scale applications—in the automotive industry, for example—we'd need to increase the energy density while keeping the structure simple, keeping it made out of renewable materials, and using a production process that doesn't require a lot of energy. We're working on a second generation, which would have much greater energy density than the first, which means we can make a lithium-ion battery using algae!"
More Fast Talk: Battery Power
A version of this article appeared in the September 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.