researchers at imperial college london have created a solar bio-battery and solar panel by printing living cyanobacteria onto paper. the photosynthetic micro-organisms have been used as ink and printed in precise patterns onto electrically conductive material. the resulting experiment was able to harvest the sun’s energy and provide small amounts of electric.

 

imagine a paper-based disposable environment sensor disguised as wallpaper, which could monitor air quality in the home. when it has its job it could be removed and left to biodegrade in the garden without any impact on the environment,‘ explains dr marin sawa, department of chemical engineering, imperial college london.


all images © imperial college london

 

 

the researchers at imperial college london were joined by those from the university of cambridge and central saint martins. their breakthrough suggests a future where power supplies and equipment can be fabricated and biodegrade naturally when needed to be deposed.

 

dr andrea fantuzzi, a co-author of the study from department of life dciences at imperial college london, said: ‘paper-based BPVs are not meant to replace conventional solar cell technology for large-scale power production, but instead, could be used to construct power supplies that are both disposable and biodegradable. their low power output means they are more suited to devices and applications that require a small and finite amount of energy, such as environmental sensing and biosensors.

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