Origami Battery Is Powered With Bacteria-Containing Liquid

First Posted: Dec 22, 2015 03:14 PM EST

A team of researchers have applied the Japanese art of paper folding to create a new origami battery, according to a study at Binghamton University.

"Paper is cheap and it's biodegradable. And we don't need external pumps or syringes because paper can suck up a solution using capillary force," Seokheun 'Sean' Choi, who created origami battery, said in a news release.

Choi's new device is an inexpensive, bacteria-powered battery that is made from paper. The origami battery generates power from microbial respiration and it could deliver sufficient energy to run a paper-based biosensor by using a drop of bacteria-containing liquid.

"Dirty water has a lot of organic matter. Any type of organic material can be the source of bacteria for the bacterial metabolism," Choi said.

Choi's technique is quite useful to persons in remote areas who have limited resources. Choi said that he envisions a self-powered system where a paper-based battery would create enough energy (microwatts) to run the biosensor. This is a potential development that Choi has in mind for the new three-year grant of $300,000, which he received from the National Science Foundation.

Choi's battery folds into a square size of a matchbook and it uses a cheap air-breathing cathode that is made from nickel sprayed on each side of regular office paper and its anode is screen printed with carbon paints, which creates a hydrophilic zone with wax boundaries.

"I connected four of the devices in series, and I lit up this small LED. At that moment, I knew I had done it," Choi said.

The findings of this study were published in the journal Nano Energy.

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