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Team develops biobattery that uses bacteria to generate electricity for weeks

Team develops biobattery that uses bacteria to generate electricity for weeks

tech innovation 2022

Journal of Power Sources (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2022.231487″ width=”800″ height=”400″/>

credit: Anwar Elhadd et al, Journal of Power Sources (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2022.231487

As our technology needs grow and the Internet of Things increasingly ties our devices and sensors together, figuring out how to provide electricity in remote locations has become a vast area of ​​research.

Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Professor Sekhun “Sean” Choi—a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science—has been working for years on biobatteries, which generate electricity through contact with bacteria.

They encountered a problem: the life of the batteries was limited to a few hours. This can be useful in some scenarios but not for any kind of long-term monitoring in remote locations.

In a new study published in Journal of Power Sources, Choi and his colleagues have developed a “plug-and-play” biobattery that lasts for weeks at a time and can be stacked to improve output voltage and current. Co-authors on the research are from Choi’s Bioelectronics and Microsystems Lab: Current Ph.D. students Anwar Elhadad, and Lin Liu, Ph.D. (now an assistant professor at Seattle Pacific University).

Choi’s previous batteries contained two bacteria that interacted to generate the required power, but this new iteration uses three bacteria in separate vertical chambers: “A photosynthetic bacteria produces organic food that can be fed by other bacteria.” Will be used as a nutrient for cells. At the bottom is the electricity-generating bacteria, and the middle bacteria will generate some chemicals to improve electron transfer.”

Choi believes that the most challenging application for the Internet of Things will be wireless sensor networks deployed in remote and harsh environments unattended. These sensors will be too far from the electric grid and once worn out, it will be difficult to reach to replace conventional batteries. Because those networks will allow every corner of the world to be connected, power autonomy is the most important requirement.

“Right now, we are on 5G, and within the next 10 years I believe it will be 6G,” he said. “With artificial intelligence, we’ll have a huge number of smart, standalone, always-on devices on extremely small platforms. How do you power these miniature devices? The most challenging applications will be devices deployed in unattended environments. We don’t We can go there to replace the batteries, so we need miniature energy harvesters.”

Choi likens these new biobatteries—which measure 3 centimeters by 3 centimeters square—to Lego bricks that can be attached and reconfigured in a variety of ways depending on the power generation required by a sensor or device.

Among the improvements he hopes to achieve through further research is to create a package that can float on water and self-heal to automatically repair damage that occurs in harsh environments. Is.

“My ultimate goal is to make it really small,” he said. “We call it ‘smart dust,’ and some bacterial cells can generate power that will be enough to operate it. Then we can sprinkle it where we need it.”

Everything Will Be Connected to the Internet Someday, and This Biobattery Might Help

more information:
Anwar Elhadd et al, Plug-and-play modular biobattery with microbial consortia, Journal of Power Sources (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2022.231487

Provided by Binghamton University

Citation: Team develops biobattery that uses bacteria to generate electricity for weeks (2022, June 22), retrieved 22 June 2022

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