Scientists invent a battery made from cellulose that could power packaging paper and clothes.
Scientists invent a battery made from paper. Patterns on a gift wrapping paper suddenly could become alive because of an integrated battery.
Don't Miss: Incredible Pokemon Gifts
That is just one potential application of a new battery made of cellulose.
Albert Mihranyan and colleagues aimed to develop light, ecofriendly, inexpensive batteries using no metal parts.
The most promising materials include so-called conductive polymers or "plastic electronics." One conductive polymer, polypyrrole (PPy), shows promise, but was often regarded as too inefficient for commercial batteries. The scientists realized, however, that by coating PPy on a large surface area substrate and carefully tailoring the thickness of the PPy coating, both the charging capacity and the charging (discharging) rates can be drastically improved.
The secret behind the performance of the paper battery is a homogeneous, uninterrupted, nano-thin coating (1/50,000th the thickness of a human hair) 0f PPy on individual cellulose fibers which in turn can be molded into paper sheets of exceptionally high internal porosity.
The cellulose used was extracted from a certain species of green algae, with 100 times the surface area of cellulose found in paper.
That surface area was key to allowing the new device to hold and discharge electricity very efficiently.
The design of the battery cell is simple but very elegant since both of the electrodes consist of identical pieces of the composite paper separated by an ordinary filter paper soaked with sodium chloride serving as the electrolyte.
The potential difference is solely due to differences between the oxidized and reduced forms of the functional PPy layer.
The battery recharged faster than conventional rechargeable batteries and appears well-suited for applications involving flexible electronics, such as clothing and packaging, the scientists say.
Alternatively, low-cost very large energy storage devices having electrodes of several square yards in size could potentially be made in the future.
The paper titled "Ultrafast All-Polymer Paper-Based Batteries" and authored by Gustav Nyström, Aamir Razaq, Maria Strømme, Leif Nyholm and Albert Mihranyan will be published in the October 14 issue of ACS' Nano Letters, a monthly journal.