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2nd January 2018, Binghamton, NY

Scientists create stretchable battery made of fabric

A research team led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York, has developed a textile-based, bacteria-powered biobattery that could one day be integrated into wearable electronics.

The team, led by Binghamton University Electrical and Computer Engineering 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. Additionally, these textile-based biobatteries are said to exhibit stable electricity-generating capability when tested under repeated stretching and twisting cycles.

Compared to traditional batteries and other enzymatic fuel cells, microbial fuel cells can be the most suitable power source for wearable electronics. © Binghamton University

Seokheun 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,” he said. “Those electronics must perform reliably even while intimately used on substrates with complex and curvilinear shapes, like moving body parts or organs. We considered a flexible, stretchable, miniaturized biobattery as a truly useful energy technology because of their sustainable, renewable and eco-friendly capabilities.”

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, said Mr Choi. 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.

“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,” he explained.

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Binghamton University Research Foundation and a Binghamton University ADL (Analytical and Diagnostics Laboratory) Small Grant.


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  • Christian 8th January 2018 10:04AM

    How much energy can be stord in Wh? (Now and an estimation after complete development) This would be crucial.

  • sharmika 5th January 2018 1:45AM

    wow this is great! this is something similar to what I always wanted. I wanted someone to develop a photosynthetic fabrics so they can absorb CO2 and create energy. in that way we will be also able to decreasing dome of this CO2 footprint created by clothing industry