Hold the phone: could mouldy bread charge your mobile?

By Natalie Kikken

22 March 2016

2 minute read

Is it possible to get our phone battery in the green with mould?

Is it possible to get our phone battery in the green with mould? Image credit: youtube.com/tricksworld

If you’ve just found a squashed, three-day-old, half-eaten sandwich in the bottom of your bag growing that furry green stuff called mould, whatever you do, don’t say ‘yuck’ and throw it in the bin. That piece of mouldy bread could one day help you charge your mobile phone!

The discovery

Scientists from the University of Dundee in Scotland have discovered that a rare red bread mould with electro chemical properties, in particular, manganese oxide, has shown very promising results in charging an LED device. With some further research into increasing the size of the mould mixtures, this breakthrough could charge larger items, such as mobile phones.

Extensive progress has been done in the air-biotic space to foster renewable energy, such as wind and sunlight, but this is the first time a fungal material containing manganese oxide, has been used, with such encouraging results.

Mould is the future… maybe

Our Chief Energy Economist, Paul Graham, is not surprised to hear that things such as mould could become an important part of our renewable energy future.

Mouldy bread.

The latest iMould charger?

“Recent commercial interest in renewables is driving down costs – more consumers are interested in green power, they want to save money as energy prices go up, and we have a level of excitement around new technology and embracing fast adoption of these developments.

“Over 30 years ago, nobody expected residential solar to take off. We didn’t anticipate that something crazy like putting panels on your roof to soak up the sun’s rays would become a booming solar PV industry driving energy efficiency. The Energy Sector is shocked by the technological change that has happened, and continues to happen.”

Our work

While we haven’t yet ventured into research on mouldy multigrain, we are elbow-deep in other exciting energy developments, whether they be an energy harvesting backpack, or solar-heated steam. We’re also looking at how to integrate these new technologies with battery storage devices, and figure out what this means for the grid.

So the lesson learned from this folks is, don’t write anything off. Mould could be the future. But for now, perhaps don’t leave old sandwiches in your bag.

Find out more about how we are contributing to energy efficiency and clean technologies through our research.

Mouldy bread.

And we included this image because, well… it’s funny. Credit: ifunny.com