It seems that renewable energy now grows on trees, as electronics giant Sony just announced that it has developed a battery powered by paper. Before you start thinking you can charge your iPhone with a standard piece of A4, it’s a bit more technical than that – Sony’s battery uses enzymes to break down the glucose stored within the cellulose of the wood pulp fibres that make up your average sheet of paper. Hey, it’s a start!
Companies have famously been working on bio-batteries for years, even creating one that worked on Coca-Cola, but this is the first time a proof-of-concept demonstration has taken place. Sony demonstrated their bio-battery at the Eco-Products exhibition in Tokyo. Their paper was placed into a mixture of water and enzymes where, after a few minutes, the liquid was able to produce enough energy to power a small fan.
After breaking down the paper, the enzymes were left with sugar that had been created from the cellulose. The enzymes were then in turn able to process the sugar in order to create hydrogen ions and electrons. These electrons then travelled through an outer circuit in order to generate the electricity. The hydrogen ions then combined with oxygen in the air to create water. Truly recycling in action!
“This is the same mechanism with which termites eat wood to get energy,” said Chisato Kitsukawa, a public relations manager at Sony.”Bio batteries are environmentally friendly and have great potential as they use no metals or harmful chemicals.”