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Stretchable Batteries Made Entirely From Fabric Developed

07 December 2017

A research team led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York has developed an entirely textile-based, bacteria-powered biobattery that could one day be integrated into wearable electronics.

This entirely textile-based, bacteria-powered bio-battery could one day be integrated into wearable electronics. Source: Seokheun ChoiThis entirely textile-based, bacteria-powered bio-battery could one day be integrated into wearable electronics. Source: Seokheun Choi

The team — led by Seokheun Choi, a Binghamton University Electrical and Computer Science Assistant Professor — created an entirely textile-based biobattery that can produce maximum power similar to that produced by his previous paper-based microbial fuel cells.

Additionally, these biobatteries exhibit stable electricity-generating capability when tested under repeated stretching and twisting cycles.

Choi said that this stretchable, twistable power device would establish a standardized platform for textile-based biobatteries and will potentially be integrated into wearable electronics in the future.

"There is a clear and pressing need for flexible and stretchable electronics that can be easily integrated with a wide range of surroundings to collect real-time information," said Choi. "Those electronics must perform reliably even while intimately used on substrates with complex and curvilinear shapes, like moving body parts or organs. We considered a flexible, stretchable, miniaturized biobattery as a truly useful energy technology because of their sustainable, renewable and eco-friendly capabilities."

Compared to traditional batteries and other enzymatic fuel cells, microbial fuel cells can be the most suitable power source for wearable electronics because the whole microbial cells as a biocatalyst provide stable enzymatic reactions and a long lifetime, according to Choi.

Sweat generated from the human body can be potential fuel to support bacterial viability, providing the long-term operation of the microbial fuel cells.

"If we consider that humans possess more bacterial cells than human cells in their bodies, the direct use of bacterial cells as a power resource interdependently with the human body is conceivable for wearable electronics," said Choi.

The paper on this new type of battery was published in Advanced Energy Materials.

To contact the author of this article, email Siobhan.Treacy@ieeeglobalspec.com


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