When you think of the past, you can for sure wonder how could have people lived without the comfort of modern technology. But not all the time modern means good either for us or for the environment as we clearly see the bad footprint of human activity all around us. Sometimes however inventions make our life easier and have a friendly impact on the environment.
A team of researchers from Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS in Chemnitz and their colleagues from TU Chemnitz and Menippos GmbH have recently developed a printable battery which is environmentally friendly as it contains no mercury. The goal of the team is to be able to produce the battery at a very cheap price and to be able to introduce it at a very large scale.
The printable battery is very different than conventional ones being very thin, less than 1 millimeter thick, and very light, less than one gram. It could be therefore integrated into a bank card. The battery has a voltage of 1,5V and higher voltages could be achieved by placing several batteries in a row.
The printable battery is made of two important layers which are responsible for the generation of electricity. The anode is made from zinc and the cathode is made from manganese. The two metals react with each other in a chemical process, producing electricity. But the result of this chemical process is the gradual dissipation of the two layers. This makes the printable battery suitable only for applications which have a limited life time or a limited power requirement.
The batteries are printed using the silk-screen method: a squeegee presses the printing paste through a stencil onto the substrate. This makes the individual layers to be very thin almost the thickness of a hair. The scientists have produced the battery in the lab and plan the start serial production at the end of this year.