For the first time, scientists are testing bacteria batteries on a paper sheet

New technology gets its energy from bacteria
American researchers have succeeded in developing a battery on a single sheet of paper that is powered solely by bacteria. This battery could supply the disposable electronics from diagnostic sensors, for example.

The scientists at Binghamton University in the United States succeeded in producing a battery that is powered exclusively by bacteria. The experts published the results of their research in the journal "Advanced Materials Technologies".

Bio battery as an energy source
The new process reduces manufacturing time and costs. The design could revolutionize the use of bio batteries as an energy source in high-risk and resource-poor regions, the researchers explain.

So-called Papertronics can operate diagnostic sensors
"Papertronics has recently emerged as a simple and inexpensive way to power disposable electronics from diagnostic sensors," said author Professor Seokheun Choi of Binghamton University. Such devices are essential for effective and life-saving treatments in a setting with limited resources.

Structure of the bacteria battery
The scientists placed a ribbon of silver nitrate under a thin layer of wax on half of a piece of chromatography paper. So they created a cathode. Then they created a reservoir of a conductive polymer on the other half of the paper. This then acted as an anode. The paper was folded correctly and a few drops of liquid filled with bacteria were added, these microbes then supplied the battery with energy. The device requires different layers to include components such as the anode, cathode and PEM (proton exchange membrane), explains Professor Choi.

Final battery trouble
The final battery requires manual assembly, and there are potential problems such as misalignment of the paper layers and vertical discontinuity between layers, which can ultimately reduce power generation, the scientists say.

How much electricity does such a battery generate?
Different folding and stacking methods can significantly improve the power and current outputs. The researchers generated 31.51 microwatts at 125.53 microamperes with six batteries in three parallel series and 44.85 microwatts at 105.89 microamperes in a 6 × 6 configuration.

Use of the battery makes sense in a disaster situation
It would take millions of the so-called paper batteries to power a common 40 watt light bulb. But under certain conditions, such as a disaster situation, usability and portability are the top priority, the researchers emphasize.

Possible uses of the bio battery
The battery generates enough energy to operate biosensors. For example, they can monitor the glucose level in diabetes patients, identify pathogens in the body or perform other life-saving functions, the scientists explain.

Future of electrical energy from microorganisms
Microorganisms can utilize electrical energy from any type of biodegradable source, such as wastewater. Such a type of paper bio-battery could eventually become an energy source for so-called papertronics, says Professor Choi. (as)

Author and source information

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