Ever since the need of sustainable development has been identified as the sole means for a greener earth, scientists, world over have been in search of a power source which runs on waste material and releases ecologically harmless byproducts. Electronic giant Sony has recently demonstrated a battery which runs on shredded paper and produces water as waste.
This isn’t the first battery to run on biological elements. The last decade has seen several such devices. In 2007, Sony itself had come up with a battery which ran on sugar. But all of these prototypes were either too bulky or were unable to produce sufficient power for them to be economically viable.
Science behind its working
The mechanism behind this battery is similar to how a termite digests wood. A solution of water and enzymes break down the cellulose present in paper to release electrons and hydrogen ions. The electrons create the current while the hydrogen ions react with oxygen from the air to release water. As demonstrated by Sony, this battery produces enough power to run a small fan. They claim that it will also be able to run your iPod.
The batteries which we normally use are lithium based, and being non biodegradable, they are disposed in landfills. Though lithium is not an environment hazard, dumping billions of batteries is not exactly the best solution from the environment point of view. This is the reason why there is so much buzz around Sony’s new battery.
The next step forward would be to increase the power output of the battery. If Sony’s eco battery is indeed as good as it seems, then it would be a pioneer of biologically powered energy sources. And using such sources would mean taking a big step towards a cleaner earth.