Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Consumer Technology

Mushroom Enzyme Could Make Clean Fuel Cells


Even the most environmentally-conscious among us use batteries containing toxic heavy metals on a daily basis. But a discovery made by chemists at Oxford University could one day lead to cleaner batteries for everyone. The researchers recently discovered that an enzyme produced by fungi growing on rotten wood can be used as a cheap and efficient catalyst in fuel cells.

Laccase (the mushroom enzyme) has been shown to have an equal catalytic performance to platinum in speeding up reactions on fuel cell electrodes. The Oxford chemists believe that current batteries could eventually be replaced by portable power sources from laccase-coated electrodes.

The prototype laccase fuel cell will produce 400 milliamps for 2,500 hours—enough for an average MP3 player. However, the researchers ultimately hope to create cell phone-sized batteries created using laccase from genetically-modified fungi. Such batteries would last for 20 recharges.

Batteries produce 200,000 tons of unrecycled waste each year— much of it consisting of heavy metals. If laccase-based fuel cells become a reality, we can feel just a little bit less guilty about using battery-powered electronics.


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


You May Also Like


The Extreme E battery-electric racing series showcases hydrogen fuel cells for high performance EV charging.


United Airlines and ZeroAvia are teaming up to bring the dream of zero emission hydrogen fuel cell flight down to Earth.

Clean Power

LAVO has developed a hydrogen fuel cell for sub-5MW use. It isn’t cheap, at around $35,000, but it does have at least one buyer....


Pope Francis has been a relatively progressive pope — at least when it comes to matters of the environment. I've been a fan since...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.