A joint team of European and U.S. researchers has successfully developed a pliable conductive material, which is applicable in microbial fuel cell with the potential of powering wearable devices.
The development is a breakthrough for wearable devices, which need high-performance miniature power sources due to their small size. The demand for these small power sources has led to the emergence of microbial fuel cells. With the pliable conductive material, the microbial fuel cells (MFC) can stick to the skin of users, and uses the latter’s perspiration for generating power. MFC utilizes the interaction between the oxidation and reduction of germs to convert chemical energy to electric currents.
The pliable conductive materials, which are made from nano carbon tubes, cross-linked polymer, and enzyme, is produced with low-cost silk screen printing technology. It is developed by a team of researchers from the French National Center for Scientific Research, Université Grenoble Alpes, and the University of California, San Diego.
As of now, the technology of micro fuel cells can already be used with conductive materials to light up LEDs. The research team is currently working hard to boost its output, with the aim of powering wearable devices.
(Photo courtesy of CNRS)