Binghamton University researchers say that they have created a biodegradable, paper-based battery that is more efficient than they previously thought before. Of course, there have been other paper-based batteries proposed before. However, the proposals in the past might have been eco-friendly alternatives, but the designs were never quite powerful enough and were difficult at best to produce. And most were only partially biodegradable, if at all.
The research team found that the key to biodegradation was through the use of polymers — poly (amic) acid and poly (pyromellitic dianhydride-p-phenylenediamine) — which provided the batteries with biodegrading properties. The team tested the degradation of the battery in water and it clearly biodegraded without the requirements of special facilities, conditions or introduction of other microorganisms.
Additionally, the battery exhibits a much higher power-to-cost ratio than most of the other paper-based microbial batteries. “There’s been a dramatic increase in electronic waste and this may be an excellent way to start reducing that,” said associated professor Seokheun Choi who worked on the project. “Our hybrid paper battery exhibited a much higher power-to-cost ratio than all previously reported paper-based microbial batteries.”
The polymer-paper structure are lightweight, low-cost and flexible. Choi said that flexibility also provides another benefit. “Power enhancement can be potentially achieved by simply folding or stacking the hybrid, flexible paper-polymer devices,” he comments.
The team said that producing the bio-batteries is a fairly straightforward process and that the material allows for modifications depending on what configuration is needed.