The Coronavirus or Covid-19 has swept its way through the world bringing destruction, death, and ruining different sectors of society showing just how little we know about virology by not being able to properly counter this event. What most people do not know is that in 2009, an MIT bioengineering professor who goes by the name of Angela Belcher was able to show the White House how she is able to turn viruses into batteries using selective breeding of the virus.
The president does not always get wowed over by some battery
President Barack Obama had just been two months into his first term and batteries were the least of his concern until the professor showed the president the actual product made from viruses which apparently assemble a lithium-ion battery's positive and negative electrodes which reduce toxicity of the manufacturing process and also boosts performance. Obama prepared to announce a funding of $2 billion towards this project.
How is Belcher's battery doing nowadays?
After a decade of the demo at the white house, massive improvements have been made and the technology has certainly advanced. The viruses have been engineered to work well with 150 different materials like solar cells. Belcher looks towards the future and has no plans of replacing the current industry as of the moment, the future of "virus-powered cars" could be within her interest.
So far, Belcher has not mentioned the coronavirus or the covid-19 and her plans to use these viruses in battery production as they are still too aggressive. So far, even the venture towards solar cells has not yet prospered as well.
The virus-to-battery method is a tricky one but has become possible
Like a zombie of nature, viruses cross the line between living and dead as they are filled with DNA that classifies them as living but lack the means to reproduce without having a host which then disqualifies their classification. The good thing about batteries is they already work as nanoparticles or nanomaterials which means that nanoengineering viruses would not be a problem at all. Nanotechnology has been practiced around and is being considered as the gateway to the future and while nanomaterials are not normally grown biologically, Belcher aims to expand that spectrum into the biological world.
The virus of choice for battery production
The virus of choice for Belcher's batteries is the M13 bacteriophage which is a cigar-shaped virus which replicates in certain bacteria. Belcher finds this virus easy to manipulate and conscript for electrode production which is necessary for a battery to run. Belcher's process is to find or cultivate viruses with DNAs that cause them to latch on certain materials and reproduce once infected by a bacterium which leads to millions of identical copies of the virus which then replace most of the batteries basic functions by expressing a protein which attracts cobalt oxide particles and other intricate functions.
The coronavirus for battery production
So far, research has only been able to utilize viruses that are controllable and thoroughly understood which is why the covid-19 or the coronavirus has not yet found its usefulness in the world of technology. Battery production with the use of viruses still has to be kept under keen observation to make sure the safety of the user is still the top priority.