Juan Pablo Esquivel, an electronics engineer at the National Electronics Center of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, has developed a miniature paper battery that uses body fluids to fuel the device for simple diagnostics. Unlike common rechargeable batteries, the fuel cell converts the chemical energy of the fuel into electrical energy through a redox reaction. Since there is no high-temperature combustion process, nitrogen and sulfur oxides are hardly emitted, and environmental pollution is small.
Esquivel said that usually the home test instruments such as electronic pregnancy test, blood glucose meter, and urine tester are disposable. The button lithium battery inside can not be replaced. When the power is less than 1%, it will be discarded. The micro-paper batteries they developed can provide the required power to the instrument while using body fluids as test samples.
Miniature paper batteries are based primarily on paper and then integrated with paper and other electronic components using printed electronics to form a closed electrochemical system. According to Esquivel, the battery is small, low-cost, and non-polluting. It is thrown away without polluting the environment and does not require recycling.
Esquivel was named one of the most innovative Mexican researchers by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013 and has been focusing on developing batteries that use hydrogen, methanol and ethanol as fuel. In 2015, he and two partners who worked together in peacetime founded the company Fuelium. The company currently has five employees, mainly relying on government funding and their personal investment to maintain operations, and has already signed an order.
Earlier, Enfucell, a Finnish environmentally friendly paper battery company, developed a flexible battery paper battery with a power of 1.5 volts and a thickness of only 0.5 mm. It can generate current at a constant temperature and moderately within a certain range, and is easily absorbed on paper. Or the surface of the fabric, which can be cut or bent.
This flexible paper battery can be used in radio frequency identification (RFID), micro-label displays, electronic cards, cosmetics, etc. Many companies have already cooperated with Enfucell.
In 2015, researchers at the University of Hamilton in the United States developed a paper-flexible battery that can be powered by bacteria. It is about the size of a matchbox and costs only 5 cents to provide the power needed for a small LED light.
In addition to micro-paper batteries, many car manufacturers are also trying to make fuel cell vehicles, charging batteries through hydrogen fuel cell reactors, Toyota Future and Honda have begun to sell to users, but because of the high cost of the process, the price is also higher than the average family. The height of the car is about 400,000 yuan.