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Directory:CENIMA's Paper Battery that Charges with Water from Humidity

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Compiled by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News
July 19, 2011


The Center for Materials Research, New University of Lisbon (CENIMAT) in Portugal, famous for creating transistors, displays and memories on paper, announced in January, 2011 the development of paper batteries that store or even harvest energy from water.

The charging process is automatically initiated at the sites with more than 40% moisture in the atmosphere (which happens most of the year in Mediterranean countries).

According to CENIMAT investigators, this innovation can be used for the production of tablets, computers, mobile phones, consoles, or the area of medical devices (pacemakers or electronic skin).

Translated from Expresso.pt with some editing:

A group of researchers from the Faculty of Science and Technology at the New University of Lisbon in Portugal invented the first paper battery in the world that can supply mobile phones and other electronic devices. The group is led by Elvira Fortunato and Rodrigo Martins, and the batteries are charged by water vapor in the air, since the relative humidity is above 40%. The scientists also invented the first biobateries, which are carried by bodily fluids such as sweat and blood plasma, and are designed for devices such as pacemakers.
In the paper batteries, it all starts with ordinary writing paper, but biobateries need a synthetic paper that does not degrade inside the human body. This paper is made from a cellulose derivative, a target that is designed using electric fields, and which forms a nanofiber membrane. Then, the following steps are common: the deposition of electrodes and demonstration (morphological and electrical).

They say it’s another step towards their aim of developing new ways to power gadgets and small electronic devices.

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  • Talk 1 – "100% Green Electronics" - Summary (excerpt): ...This dream can be fulfilled by cellulose paper, the lightest and the cheapest known substrate material, as well as the Earth’s major biopolymer and of tremendous global economic importance. The recent developments of oxide thin film transistors and in particular the production of paper transistors at room temperature had contributed, as a first step, for the development of disposable, low cost and flexible electronic devices, 100% green. To fulfill the wireless demand, it is necessary to prove the concept of self powered devices. In the case of paper electronics, this implies demonstrating the idea of self regenerated thin film paper batteries and its integration with other electronic components. Here we demonstrate this possibility by actuating the gate of paper transistors by paper batteries. We found that when a sheet of cellulose paper is covered in both faces with thin layers of opposite electrochemical potential materials, a voltage appears between both electrodes - paper battery, which is also self-regenerated. The value of the potential depends upon the materials used for anode and cathode. An open circuit voltage of 0.5V and a short-circuit current density of 1µA/cm2 were obtained in the simplest structure produced (Cu/paper/Al). For actuating the gate of the paper transistor, seven paper batteries were integrated in the same substrate in series, supplying a voltage of 3.4V. This allows proper ON/OFF control of the paper transistor. Apart from that transparent conductive oxides can be also used as cathode/anode materials allowing so the production of thin film batteries with transparent electrodes compatible with flexible, invisible, self powered and wireless electronics. (IEEE; March 21, 2011) [See also Talk 2 – "The Energy That's Around" by the same group, talking about harvesting energy from the environment.]
  • Self-Rechargeable Paper Thin-Film Batteries: Performance and Applications (IEEExplore; Issue Date: Aug. 2010; Volume: 6 Issue: 8; On page(s): 332 - 335). ABSTRACT (Excerpt): This paper reports on the use of cellulose paper simultaneously as electrolyte, separation of electrodes, and physical support of a rechargeable battery. The deposition on both faces of a paper sheet of metal or metal oxides thin layers with different electrochemical potentials, respectively as anode and cathode, such as Cu and Al, lead to an output voltage of 0.70 V and a current density that varies between 150 nA/cm2 and 0.5 mA/cm2, subject to the paper composition, thickness and the degree of OHx species adsorbed in the paper matrix. ...

In the News

  • Our Feature:
    Featured: Batteries > Water-Powered >
    CENIMA's Paper Battery that Charges with Water from Humidity - CENIMAT researchers in Portugal have developed a paper battery technology that store or even harvests energy from water. The charging process is automatically initiated at the sites with more than 40% moisture in the atmosphere. This innovation can be used for the production of power for electronics. (PESWiki and BeforeItsNews; July 19, 2011)
  • Printed Electronics is Now About Doing Business - For example, security printing industry is now seriously interested with UK banknote leader De la Rue presenting and French security materials company Arjo Wiggins, Gemalto, leader in passports and smart cards, and Swiss security ink maker SICPA involved this year. Much of that involves the new paper electronics and Stora Enso Packaging Boards, a University of Cape Town spinoff and many others attending also have this interest, including the new University of Lisbon commercialising one breakthrough (Ecnmag; March 29, 2011)
  • Paper Batteries Use Moisture to Recharge - Paper batteries? Recharged by moisture within the air? Sounds like something out of a science-fiction story, but this is as real as it gets when researchers from CENIMAT demonstrated an actual battery that's made out of paper and chargeable by water. (HardwareZone; January 26, 2011)
  • Translated by Google: As a battery is made of paper (INCLUDES VIDEO) (Original URL) - A group of researchers from the New University of Lisbon invented the first battery of paper in the world. Batteries are charged by water vapor in the air. (expresso.pt; January 21, 2011)
  • Translated by Google: Portuguese create paper battery that is loaded with ... water - The Center for Materials Research (CENIMAT) had already become famous for creating transistors, displays and memories on paper. Now it's time to announce the development of paper batteries that store energy from the water. (Exame Informatica; January 21, 2011)
  • Paper Electronics - (An overview of the field in general) In Portugal, an elegant new zinc oxide field effect transistor with the paper substrate doubling as the gate dielectric layer has been developed by the New University of Lisbon. Remarkably, it has one hundred times the switching speed of amorphous silicon and organic transistors. (Printed Electronics World; Nov. 8, 2010)
  • Printed and Flexible Integrated Circuits - Also newly arrived is the Paper-e created at the New University of Lisbon, which is an inspired way of printing transistor circuits by making the gate of the transistor the paper substrate itself. Interestingly, these transistors, made with the superior, new zinc oxide based printed semiconductors ,have much better characteristics than one would expect at first sight and the physics of this is currently being clarified. All these smart papers for printed electronics can be environmentally green and totally biodegradable. (US-Tech; March, 2010?)

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