Pour some sugar on your cellphone.
Researchers at Virginia Tech have developed a new battery that runs on sugar, one they say would be refillable, biodegradable, and cheaper than its conventional counterparts.
These sweet dreams, they said, could become reality in as few as three years.
"Sugar is a perfect energy storage compound in nature," associate professor Y.H. Percival Zhang, who led the study, said in a statement posted to the science news website Eurekalert. "It's only logical that we try to harness this natural power in an environmentally friendly way to produce a battery."
Scientists have built sugar batteries before, but Zhang's appears to be the first with enough energy to one day power tablets, smartphones, and other gadgets.
It works like a fuel cell, combining air with maltodextrine, which is made from starch, to generate electricity. And as with hydrogen fuel cells, water is the main by-product.
If ultimately successful, Zhang and his research partner, Zhiguang Zhu said that the battery ultimately "could help keep hundreds of thousands of tons of [conventional toxic] batteries from ending up in landfills."