Researchers created a two-in-one solar bio-battery and solar panel created by who printed living cyanobacteria and circuitry onto paper.
Now, a research team has reveal that cyanobacteria could use an ink and printed from an inkjet printer in precise patterns onto electrically conductive carbon nanotubes, which also inkjet-printed onto the piece of paper.
A bio-solar panel could power a digital clock. The researchers from Imperial College London suggest that new types of electrical devices made from paper and printed photosynthetic bacteria.
Dr. Marin Sawa, a co-author from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, said, we think our technology could have a range of applications such as acting as a sensor in the environment. Imagine a paper-based, disposable environmental sensor disguised as wallpaper, which could monitor air quality in the home.
The solar bio-battery research pushes further into a new type of renewable energy called microbial bio-photovoltaics (BPV).
However, the BPVs use the ability of cyanobacteria and other algae that use photosynthesis to convert light energy into an electrical current with the help of water. The main advantage of BPVs is cells like cyanobacteria can produce small amounts electricity in daylight and it even in the dark from molecules produced in the light.
However, BPVs are high-cost to make, and it has short lifespan. To prevent these drawbacks scientists scale up the technology to an industrial level.
Dr. Andrea Fantuzzi, a co-author of the study, said, paper-based BPVs not meant to replace conventional solar cell technology for large-scale power production, but instead, could use to construct power supplies in both disposable and bio-degradable.
According to researchers, BPVs used in new forms of sensors built entirely from paper, which mean they are cheaper and more cost effective to make with less impact on resources and the environment.
However, the paper-based BPVs can monitor blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. The current paper-based BPV unit is a small size.
More information: [Imperial College London]