The organic battery gets closer to reality

Rice before it is husked.
Rice before it is husked, and definitely not a university. Photo: Alex Valavanis/Flickr

The Indian Botanists have news of a new publication on using rice to make lithium batteries. I thought I’d read this before, but what I’d read was research at Rice University using purpurin to store lithium ions as a charge. The Indian Botanists write on Korean research of rice, the grain. It can be used to make anodes, something that Rice, the university, was looking for.

The new rice anodes aren’t actually rice, they’re silicon processed from rice husks. As the Indian Botanists point out, that’s a use for what would be a waste product. It’s a reminder of how botany is reaching far beyond purely plant-based inquiry.


  1. I learnt long ago that there is no such thing as ‘waste product’ – they are co-products, and the challenge is to find how to use them in the most valuable way. After all, the farmer has put all the effort, inputs and land to grow the crop, so processors need to find the best use for all parts of the crop.

  2. Dr Pat Harrison has very correctly underlined that there is no such thing as ‘waste product’. It applies more with plants. There may be lot of molecules in the plant which are yet to be discovered about their uses. Many such wisdom lies with traditional practitioners/ farmers/forest dweller.
    On the other hand botany has travelled a long way. Now botany is not only to summarize the excursion with morphological data. Looking forward for more such interdisciplinary research.

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