A paper-thin paper battery

Researchers at Sweden’s Uppsala University have developed a quick-charging, high energy battery that is thin, flexible, and made of cellulose fibers derived from algae.

While other batteries have been made from non-metal parts, the devices have suffered from low power output and long charging times. The new device has changed the power potential using a conductive polymer that makes up the base of the battery and is coated with a nano-thin layer of cellulose fibers.

The cellulose, extracted from a species of green algae, provides 100 times the surface area of cellulose typically found in paper. This allows the battery to quickly absorb, hold and discharge a much larger electrical charge than earlier flexible batteries.

“The widespread availability of cellulose and the straightforward manufacturing of the composite [which makes up the battery] are key factors for producing cost-efficient and fully recyclable paper-based batteries on a large industrial scale,” the researchers wrote in the study, which appeared in the journal Nano Letters.

The battery can be “molded into various shapes and its thin sheets can be rolled to make very compact energy storage devices.” The battery could be used to power everything from clothing that glows to wrapping paper that lights up or carries electronic messages.

Jim Dawson reports for Inside Science News Service.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 09/29/2009 - 11:10 am.

    This sounds interesting; as a general rule links to relevant papers or further information about the research group (eg their web site) would be ideal.

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