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Travels with Larry Archive

BioBattery Fueled with Paper

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Sony, Japan, this week is demonstrating at Eco-Products 2011 in Tokyo an organic battery that generates electricity by literally "digesting" paper. The process is similar to that used by termites to digest wood and generate energy.

The "biobattery" uses a mixture of water and enzymes (cellulase) to break down cellulose in the paper to glucose, while another batch of enzymes then "picks apart" the resulting pieces. The reactions leave behind hydrogen ions and electrons.

The electrons flow through an outer circuit and generate electricity, while the hydrogen ions mix with oxygen from the air and form water vapor. The prototype battery generates sufficient energy to power a small fan.

The paper "fuel" can be either pieces of corrugated board (see photo at right) or shredded paper.


Xerium Technologies, Inc.