Scientists Invent a Paper Battery—Just Add Water

In the quest for battery power that’s also environmentally friendly, a group of Swiss researchers has proposed a novel packaging approach that could help reduce metal and plastic waste associated with battery end-of-life processes.

According to a recent article posted on the website of Scientific American, researchers working at the Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology in Switzerland have published a paper describing a water-activated paper battery made from environmentally friendly materials. The battery reportedly consists of the same key components as standard batteries, but the anode and cathode elements consist of inks that have been printed on the front and the back of a piece of paper.

The paper, which is infused with salt, is exposed to water and the resulting salt solution acts as the battery’s electrolyte, producing approximately 1.2 volts of electricity until the paper dries out. Subsequently, rewetting the paper produces about 0.5 volts of electricity for over an hour.

The researchers believe that the greatest potential opportunity for using this water-activated paper battery is to embed them in low-power devices such as diagnostic tests and environmental sensors.

Read the article discussing the latest experiments in battery technology.

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