A group of scientists from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore developed paper-thin biodegradable zinc battery for powering flexible and wearable electronic systems. The environmentally sustainable option can be buried in the soil because the biodegradable battery breaks down completely in one month.
According to a press release from NTU, the zinc batteries are “made up of electrodes (through which the electrical current leaves or enters the battery) screen-printed on to both sides of a piece of cellulose paper that has been reinforced with hydrogel.” Once the biodegradable battery is “expended” it can buried in the soil.
“We believe the paper battery we have developed could potentially help with the electronic waste problem, given that our printed paper battery is non-toxic and does not require aluminum or plastic casings to encapsulate the battery components,” Lee Seok Woo, assistant professor at NTU and co-lead author of the study, said.
According to the scientists, the battery could soon be “integrated into flexible electronics such as foldable smart phones that are already on the market, or biomedical sensors for health monitoring.”
“Traditional batteries come in a variety of models and sizes, and choosing the right type for your device could be a cumbersome process,” Fan Hongjin, professor at NTU School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and co-lead author of the study, said. “Through our study, we showed a simpler, cheaper way of manufacturing batteries, by developing a single large piece of battery that can be cut to desired shapes and sizes without loss of efficiency. These features make our paper batteries ideal for integration in the sorts of flexible electronics that are gradually being developed.”