Using peptides to charge batteries

I just boarded the Westbound Toronto-Hamilton train. My battery is about to die, but I hope there will be enough juice to finish this post up. Fittingly, I plan to talk about… batteries. While attending the editorial board meeting of OBC last week in London, my wife and I had a chance to spend time with Kyrill, my old friend from elementary school days. Kyrill got his degree in economics back in Moscow and now lives in London. In fact, he literally lives in a building behind Westminster Abbey, which is a superb location. Now… I rarely have meaningful conversations about science with my non-chemistry friends. For instance, they keep asking me: “Hey Andrei, have you invented a new element?” What do you say to something like this? It used to drive me crazy, but I eventually found a way to counteract. In a recent chat with another one of my school buddies, Sergey, I asked him in response: “Have you invented a new octave?” He is a musician, and he got really irritated when I said it. Seriously, though, we do need to find ways to communicate science (or music) to those who do not have technical expertise… I am not great at it and I fully admit it. What’s remarkable is that, once in a while, I hear about some amazing advances in science and technology from unexpected sources. In this case, it is Kyrill. Last week, after one too many Lagavulins, Kyrill asked me about my current interests. Amongst other things (as far as I can recall), I told him something about peptides. This morning Kyrill sends me a link to StoreDot ( This Israeli start-up, backed by Roman Abramovich (the owner of Chelsey FC), has developed technology that allows one to charge his/her laptop or cell phone in a matter of seconds ( The most interesting thing is that this nanotechnological advance is enabled by peptides. The prototype is not yet ready for primetime, but it is on its way. All of this goes to show that you really never know what you are going to learn from your non-scientist friends. I now need to investigate the origins of this technology. Plus, it will be interesting to see if the inventors could come to our American Peptide Symposium next Summer. I think that a lot of people will be keen to learn about the role of peptides in batteries. For now, though, I need to be mindful of my train stop, which will hopefully come before my laptop battery dies.

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