Scientists build bacteria-powered battery on single sheet of paper

Papertronics, a fusion of paper and electronics, can power disposable electronics and can reduce the fabrication time and cost.

Created On: Dec 27, 2016 16:03 ISTModified On: Dec 27, 2016 15:06 IST

US-based scientists have developed a bacteria-powered battery (bio-battery) on a single sheet of paper that is capable of powering disposable electronics. The research was published in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies in the second week of December 2016.

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A team of researchers at Binghamton University, the State University of New York, created this bacteria-powered battery. The research was supported by two different grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF).


• The paper-based design is part of a new field of research called Papertronics, which is a fusion of paper and electronics.
• This battery made on a single sheet of paper can power disposable electronics.
• This new and unique manufacturing technique reduces the fabrication time and cost.
• The design of the battery can revolutionize the use of bio-batteries as a power source in remote, dangerous and resource-limited areas.
• These self-sustained, paper-based, point-of-care devices are vital for providing effective and life-saving treatments in resource-limited settings.

• On one half of a piece of chromatography paper, the researchers placed a ribbon of silver nitrate beneath a thin layer of wax to create a cathode.
• They then made a reservoir out of a conductive polymer on the other half of the paper, which acted as the anode.
• Once properly folded with the addition of a few drops of bacteria-filled liquid, the cellular respiration of microbes powers the battery.
• The device requires layers to include components such as anode, cathode and PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane).
• Different folding methods can significantly improve power and current outputs.

The scientists were able to generate 31.51 microwatts at 125.53 microamps with six batteries in three parallel series. Moreover, they generated about 44.85 microwatts of power at 105.89 microamps in a 6x6 configuration.


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