Chinese researchers have developed a new “green” way to boost the performance of lithium-ion batteries with a material derived from silk.

According to Chuanbao Cao from Beijing Institute of Technology, carbon is a key component in commercial Li-ion energy storage devices including batteries and supercapacitors.

Most commonly, graphite fills that role but it has a limited energy capacity. Cao’s team wanted to see if they could develop a material using a sustainable source, Science Daily reported.

The researchers found a way to process natural silk to create carbon-based nanosheets that could potentially be used in energy storage devices.

Their material stores five times more lithium than graphite can – a capacity that is critical to improving battery performance.

It also worked for over 10,000 cycles with only a nine percent loss in stability.

“We successfully incorporated their material in prototype batteries and supercapacitors in a one-step method that could easily be scaled up,” Cao noted.

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