Sony featured a bio battery prototype during the Eco-Products exhibition in Tokyo last December 17. The battery generates electric energy through ‘digesting’ shredded paper and turning it into glucose sugar which then undergoes further chemical changes to produce hydrogen ions and electrons. These electrons are used by the battery for power.
During the exhibition, Sony successfully demonstrated how waste paper can become an energy source for a small fan. The equipment they used allowed people to drop cardboard and pieces of paper into a mixture of water and enzymes. When the container is shaken, the paper materials turn into glucose, and with a few more stages where this glucose is combined with more enzymes and oxygen, power-generating electrons can be harvested.
The bio battery is a viable, eco-friendly solution to ‘recharging’ batteries of mobile devices, especially since its only by-products are acid gluconolactone (used in cosmetics) and water – not to mention waste paper is the primary fuel used. The paper-powered bio battery is strong enough to provide power for basic mp3 players, but it still has a long way to go to become commercially available.
Developers of this bio battery also previously successfully powered a Walkman music player using fruit juice – a first step towards the current paper-powered development.