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Development of Solar Biobattery for use in printed electronics

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Marin SawaORCiD


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There is an urgent need to develop a sustainable battery technology that is cheap, environmentally friendly, easy to fabricate and to dispose of, especially to tackle the world-wide increase in illegally dumped electronic wastes. Microbial biophotovoltaic (BPV) technology is a renewable bioenergy system currently being developed at the laboratory scale. It generates electricity from the photosynthetic metabolism of cyanobacteria and microalgae and exploits their ability to convert light energy into electrical current using water as the source of electrons. Innovative approaches are needed to solve scale-up issues such as cost, ease of fabrication (particularly the fabrication of the inorganic and biological (microbes) parts). In this talk, I will report the feasibility of using a simple commercial thermal-inkjet printer to fabricate a thin-film paper-based BPV cell consisting of a layer of cyanobacterial cells on top of a carbon nanotube conducting surface on plain copy paper. The digitally printed thin-film BPV system produced electricity both in the light and dark, with a maximum electrical power output of 0.38 mW m-2 in one system and the sustained electrical current production over 100 hours in another more fully printed system. I will discuss latest efforts in development of the proof of concept and address limitations and challenges as well possible applications in the area of printed bioelectronics.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sawa M

Editor(s): Eleni Stavrinidou, Linkoping University Caroline Ajo-Franklin, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Michael Strano, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massimo Trotta, Consiglia Nazionale delle Ricerche

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall Meeting

Year of Conference: 2019

Print publication date: 03/12/2019

Acceptance date: 01/07/2019

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


Notes: Invited Speaker

Series Title: Symposium session SB03:‘Smart materials, devices and systems for interface with plants and microorganisms’

Sponsor(s): European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 800926 (FET-OPEN-HyPhOE)