Paper battery powered by bacteria

In remote and inaccessible regions of the world or in areas with limited resources, electronic everyday items are a luxury. And they are of little use once the battery is depleted. The problem of the lack of electricity primarily affects the workeróin health services in these areas, whichóers often don’t have the electricity to power diagnostic devices, and commercial batteries are unavailable or too expensive.

New, inexpensive and portable sources ofóenergy source. Paper battery powered by bacteria fits perfectly into the needs of the poorest regionóin the world and can meet the challenges it faces.

– Paper has unique advantages as a material for a biosensorów. It is inexpensive, disposable, flexible and has a large surface area. Sophisticated sensors, however, require power. Commercial batteries are too expensive and environmentally unfriendly. Plus, they can’t be integrated into paper substrates. The best solution is a paper bio-battery – said during the 256. American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting Dr. Seokheun Choi of New York University.

Researchers had already developed disposable paper-based biosensors for low-cost and convenient diagnosis of diseaseób, and for detecting pollution in the environment. Many such devices rely on color changesów to report the result, but they are often not very sensitive. To increase sensitivity, biosensors need a power supply. Choi wanted to develop an inexpensive paper battery powered by bacteria, który can be easily connected to these disposable devices.

Choi and his colleagues at the university made a paper battery by printing thin layers of metals and other materialsów on the surface of paper. Then they put the freeze-dried, particularólny type of bacteria thatóre can transfer electrons out of their cellsórki. This so-called. exoelectrogens. Electrons, whichóre are formed when the bacteria themselves generate energy, pass through the membrane of the comórk. They can then make contact with external electrodes and power the battery.

To activate a battery prepared in this way, all it takes is a little water or even saliva. Within minutes, the liquid revitalizes the bacteria, whichóre produce sufficient electronów to power a light-emitting diode or calculator.

Scientists have studied the róalso howób oxygen affects the operation of their equipment. Oxygen, whichóry easily pass through paper, can absorb electrons produced by bacteria before they reach the electrode. Teamół found that although oxygen slightly reduced power generation, the effect was minimal.

Paper battery, który can be used once and then discarded, currently has a shelf life of about four months. Syndromeół Choi is currently working to improve the parameters of theóin the battery and the performance of freeze-dried bacteria, allowing for a longer battery life.

– Power efficiency needs to be improved by about 1,000 times for most practical applications – admitted Choi. This can be achieved by combining paper batteries, but this does not solve the problemów, because with current performance, this kind of battery will not be a solution to power conventional electronics.

For example, to light a 40-watt incandescentówks need about a million such cells. However, they could prove useful for powering simple biosensorsów used to monitor glucose levels in patientóIn with diabetes or for pathogen detectionów.

Choi has filed a patent application for paper batteries and is currently seeking a partneróin industry to commercialize the invention.