Image of Virus Battery Virus Battery
Virus Battery, Angela Belcher, 2009

Launched in 2006, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) follows the Institute’s grand tradition of pulling together its innovative powers to tackle society’s toughest problems. MIT’s energy work ranges in scale from planetary climate models to sub-atomic physics to this prototype battery—which MIT President Susan Hockfield showed President Barack Obama when she visited the White House in 2009 to promote clean energy. Researchers built the lithium-ion battery (the silver-colored disc) on the nanoscale, re-engineering viruses to self-assemble materials for both its anode and cathode. This work points toward commercial batteries with high energy densities that can be created inexpensively with non-toxic ingredients. Not surprisingly, when President Obama visited MIT the following October, he talked more about this viral power with Professor Angela Belcher, who leads the project.

On loan from the Biomolecular Materials Group.

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