Newly developed bacteria-powered battery to make disposable, standalone papertronics a reality

Bacteri-powered paper battery
Self-powered papertronics development is in infancy because the energy sources put a limit on it. To deal with it, paper-batteries are being extensively researched to explore full potential of the technology. In a similar attempt, researchers at the Binghamton University, State University of New York, has developed a paper battery that is powered by bacteria by harnessing its cellular respiration as energy.

The researchers were able to generate 31.51 microwatts at 134.3 microamps with six batteries arranged in three parallel series. With a 6×6 configuration, the power generation increased to 44.85 microwatts at 10.89 microamps. Though, it would take millions of such batteries to power a lighting source as low as 40 watt bulb, their use in powering small sensors or biosensors, and even papertronics in regions deprived of power connectivity.

Microorganisms can harvest electrical power from any type of biodegradable source, like wastewater, that is readily available. I believe this type of paper biobattery can be a future power source for papertronics,

said the author of the paper Professor Seokheun “Sean” Choi, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department within Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Apllied Science.

The paper was co—authored by Phd research scholar Yang Gao.

In their research, they used a ribbon of silver nitrate and thin layer of wax to create a cathode and anode out of a conductive polymer on the other half of the paper. Then, they added few drops of bacteria-filled liquid. The researchers were able to record generation of energy and they’ll use the data to further enhance their model to make it practicable.

There are some limitations and obstacles that need to be attended first and it might take some time before the market could actually see these batteries.

The device requires layers to include components, such as the anode, cathode and PEM (proton exchange membrane). The final battery demands manual assembly, and there are potential issues such as misalignment of paper layers and vertical discontinuity between layers, which ultimately decrease power generation,

explained Choi.



Madan has been writing about eco-friendly gadgets and technologies for over 5 years now. He has an inclination for all things green and wonderful. He is a local social activist with a global vision. When not writing, Madan can be seen capturing the best of urban wildlife in his DSLR lens.

Related Stories...