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Scientists explore mushrooms as potential solution for problems with global energy storage applications — here's how it could revolutionize clean energy

How's that for turning mushrooms into a planet-saving superpower?

How's that for turning mushrooms into a planet-saving superpower?

Photo Credit: iStock

What if the solution to our clean energy challenges is growing right beneath our feet? 

Scientists are discovering that mycelium, the fungal filaments found under mushroom caps, could transform how we store renewable energy to power a greener future, according to Azo Materials.

As we transition to cleaner energy sources such as wind and solar, finding sustainable ways to store this energy is critical. Lithium and other materials used in traditional batteries are costly and damaging to extract. We need alternatives that are both eco-friendly and efficient.

Enter the humble mushroom. Researchers worldwide are exploring how mycelium — those thin, thread-like fungal structures — can be harnessed for energy storage.

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

In intensive research, 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.

By making our energy storage greener, 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.

Though challenges remain in scaling up mycelium energy solutions, the future looks bright (or, should we say, fungal?). One day, mycelium might power your batteries.

How's that for turning mushrooms into a planet-saving superpower?

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