At the laboratory of the Swiss Federal Institute for Materials Testing and Research (Empa) in Zurich, researchers have developed a new type of energy storage device. The product can be produced using a simple 3D printer. In addition, the developers assure that the energy storage device is biodegradable. Conventional batteries to date consist in part of toxic components that pollute the environment when disposed of. Is new development a sustainable alternative?
Ultra-thin and biodegradable
The fully printed energy storage device looks more like some kind of microcircuit diagram, is about the size of a fingernail, is only a few micrometers thick, and appears to produce 1 watt at about 1 volt. It should be able to provide electricity for hours, and consist, according to manufacturers, of compostable materials such as cellulose, nanocrystals, carbon, glycerol and table salt for conductivity. The energy storage system should almost completely degrade in about 60 days.
Small appliances in focus
to me Empa report Developers can imagine using the sensor’s energy storage device to check packages and shipping methods. The sensor and battery can then simply be disposed of with household waste. Environmental monitoring and small test devices in the medical field are also potential areas of application. According to the developers, the capacitor is not suitable for large electrical appliances such as electronic cars. Serial production has not yet been planned.
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