Stretchable battery made entirely out of fabric

January 9, 2018 | 00:00
Stretchable battery made entirely out of fabric. Image: Seokheun Choi
Stretchable battery made entirely out of fabric. Image: Seokheun Choi
A research team led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York has developed an entirely textile-based, bacteria-powered biobattery that could one day be integrated into wearable electronics.

The team, led by Binghamton University Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Seokheun Choi, created an entirely textile-based biobattery that can produce maximum power similar to that produced by his previous paper-based microbial fuel cells. Additionally, these textile-based biobatteries exhibit stable electricity-generating capability when tested under repeated stretching and twisting cycles.

Choi said that this stretchable, twistable power device could establish a standardized platform for textile-based biobatteries and will be potentially integrated into wearable electronics in the future.

Compared to traditional batteries and other enzymatic fuel cells, microbial fuel cells can be the most suitable power source for wearable electronics because the whole microbial cells as a biocatalyst provide stable enzymatic reactions and a long lifetime. Sweat generated from the human body can be a potential fuel to support bacterial viability, providing the long-term operation of the microbial fuel cells.

Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Seokheun Choi said: “If we consider that humans possess more bacterial cells than human cells in their bodies, the direct use of bacterial cells as a power resource interdependently with the human body is conceivable for wearable electronics.”

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Binghamton University Research Foundation and a Binghamton University ADL (Analytical and Diagnostics Laboratory) Small Grant.

The paper, “Flexible and Stretchable Biobatteries: Monolithic Integration of Membrane-Free Microbial Fuel Cells in a Single Textile Layer,” was published in Advanced Energy Materials.
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