The battery that works with saliva

At the moment I wouldn't allow you to recharge a phone, but the solution to the problem of the discharged batteries may be in your mouth.

A saliva-activated bacterial energy battery has just been developed by a team of researchers from Binghamton University in new York state.

This is the new generation of microbial batteries (MFC), which create electrical currents through bacteria.

The new MFC have exoelectrogénicas cells (microorganisms that can transfer electrons out of themselves) that are lyophilized and inactive but can generate energy in minutes by adding saliva.

In other words, to put them to work you only have to spit.

Seokheun Choi, assistant professor of electrical and computer science at Binghamton, who has been working on the production of micro-energy sources for five years, is one of the creators of the new battery.

And he claims that it can be especially useful for diagnosing patients who are cared for in places where the use of conventional batteries is limited and there are few alternatives to connect instruments such as biosensors.

"The generation of micro-energy on demand is particularly necessary in on-site diagnostic applications in developing countries," Choi said in a statement on the invention.

"Typically, these applications only require energy levels of a few tens of microwatts, for a few minutes, but commercial batteries or other energy collection technologies are costly or overqualified," the scientist said.

And to that we have to add that traditional batteries also represent a problem of environmental pollution.

Few Microwatts

That's why Choi and his research assistant Maedeh Mohammadifar created a high-performance microbial (MFC) stack contained in a paper.

This battery produced reliable energy by single drop of saliva, supplying electricity that can be used in the next generation of paper-based and disposable on-site care diagnostic platforms.

The proposed battery has competitive advantages compared to other conventional solutions, researchers pointed out.

The biological fluid required to activate the on-demand battery is not only immediately available in the most restricted situations, but the lyophilization technology allows for the durable storage of the battery without losing its properties or degrading.

The next step for Choi's team is to improve the energy density, achieving generates more wattage per square centimeter. That will be what determines its use in the real world.

"Right now, our energy density is a few microwatts per square centimeter," Choi acknowledged.

"However, 16 microbial batteries connected in series on a sheet of paper generated sufficient values of electrical current and voltage to activate a light emitting diode (LED)," he said.

"Energy generation improvements will be needed for other electronic applications requiring hundreds of energy milliwatts," concluded the scientist.

Seokheun Choi's team research results were published on the Advanced materials Technologies site.


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