Growing Your Own Battery

While Dr. Cui at Stanford works on perfecting his painted paper battery, reseachers in Sweden are growing algae that does well as a paper battery.

Maria Stomme of the University of Uppsala says that the growth of Cladophora, an otherwise stinky beach slime, “Creates new possibilities for large-scale production of environmentally friendly, cost-effective, lightweight energy storage systems.” The algae, according to LiveScience.com, “makes an unusual kind of cellulose typified by a very large surface area, 100 times that of the cellulose found in paper. This allowed researchers to dramatically increase the amount of conducting polymer available for use in the new device, enabling it to better recharge, hold and discharge electricity.

Despite the relative ease of making this rechargeable paper, researchers are not looking to replace lithium cells just yet. The battery is not anywhere near achieving the energy or power density of lithium batteries, and the suggested options for its use are fairly playful – light-up wrapping paper, for instance. Algae’s polymer characteristics allow for quick charging, though, and that might make this new discovery a contender in the future,

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