Fabric-based bacteria-powered battery could power smart wearables
Researchers in the US have created a textile-based bio-batter that can produce power and could pave the way for smart clothes.
A research team led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York developed an entirely textile-based, bacteria-powered bio-battery that could be integrated into wearable electronics.
The entirely textile-based biobattery can produce maximum power similar to that produced by previous paper-based microbial fuel cells.
The team led by the University’s Assistant Professor Seokheun Choi, created an entirely textile-based biobattery that can produce maximum power similar to that produced by his previous paper-based microbial fuel cells.
The biobatteries exhibit stable electricity-generating capability when tested under repeated stretching and twisting cycles, researchers said. Choi said that this stretchable, twistable power device could establish a standardised platform for textile-based biobatteries and will be potentially 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 of the University’s Electrical and Computer Science department. “Those electronics must perform reliably even while intimately used on substrates with complex and curvilinear shapes, like moving body parts or organs.”
Sweat generated from the human body can be a potential fuel to support bacterial viability, providing the long-term operation of the microbial fuel cells, the researchers said.
"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. “We considered a flexible, stretchable, miniaturised biobattery as a truly useful energy technology because of their sustainable, renewable and eco-friendly capabilities,” Choi added.
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, Choi stated.
The team’s research findings can be read in the paper, "Flexible and Stretchable Biobatteries: Monolithic Integration of Membrane-Free Microbial Fuel Cells in a Single Textile Layer," was published in the journal Advanced Energy Materials.