Paper batteries powered by bacteria and saliva.
Researchers at the State University of New York in Binghamton have developed paper batteries powered by bacteria.
This discovery could be the door open to a cheap and environmentally friendly battery market.
At the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society held August 19-23, 2018. The researchers, led by Professor Seokheun Choi, Director of the Bioelectronics and Microsystems Laboratory at Binghamton University , have designed a prototype of this single-use battery and can be kept for about four months.
Too expensive and polluting batteries
"Too expensive and polluting" said the researchers, adding that these were the two main problems with batteries today.
Today, batteries are a luxury that Professor Seokheun Choi would like to make available to everyone, even in the poorest parts of the world. In addition, today's batteries contain toxic metals, namely: lead, cadmium, mercury and lithium. Batteries are too often disposed of improperly and are a major problem for the environment.
“The best solution is a paper-based bio-battery,” comments Dr Choi. He has already designed paper-based biosensors to diagnose diseases or contaminations in the environment. Using his expertise, based on a thin layer of metal and polymers placed on the surface of a paper, this time he created a battery. It then affixed lyophilized exoelectrogens, bacteria capable of transferring electrons out of their cells.
The researchers successfully activated the prototype using saliva and water. Within minutes, the liquid took the bacteria out of their state and they produced enough electrons to power an LED.
We are still a long way from running electric cars with a paper bio-battery, but Professor Choi is enthusiastic and is already working on improving his prototype. He already estimates that he will be able to multiply the capacity of his battery by 1000 in the future. A patent has been filed and the professor is looking for business partners to fund his research and commercialize the product.