Bacteria Powered Battery: It’s Now Possible

For many years bacteria has been seen to have effects on people's health. Some could be helpful, while others are detrimental. Now bacteria has a new use as there is a bacteria powered battery, and it's now possible.

Batteries have been bought in packs today. Many of them can also become environmental hazards once disposed of. But a battery powered by bacteria has been created by researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York. The battery would not only be more environmentally friendly, but would also be inexpensive as fabrication time and cost are lessened.

Assistant Professor Seokheun "Sean" Choi of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science said that papertronics is the wave of the future for disposable sensors. Such devices are paper-based and can be economical especially for those who have limited resources. This could be useful especially in life-saving situations, he has noted.

Choi along with Yang Gao, co-author of the work as well as a Ph.D. candidate, has made the bacteria powered battery on chromatography paper. On one half of that paper a ribbon of silver nitrate has been placed. For its cathode, a thin layer of wax has been used. On the other half a conductive polymer has been placed to act as an anode. To power the battery, a few drops of liquid filled with bacteria is added. The bacteria's respiration then serves to power the battery, according to Binghamton University's site.

To improve on power and current outputs, different methods of folding and stacking have been used. 31.51 microwatts at 125.53 microamps has been achieved with six batteries used, as Science Daily reports. On a much larger, 6x6 configuration, about 44.85 microwatts at 105.89 microamps has been made.

In emergency situations, the bacteria powered battery could be most useful. For conditions such as powering a light bulb though, it would take millions of the batteries to light it up. Choi does see that bacteria powered batteries could be used in papertronics. The future does look good for bacteria powered battery, since it's now possible. Another achievement has been made with the world's smallest radio receiver being made.

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