As anyone who uses any type of technology will tell you, power is a big need in today’s world. For this reason researchers are always working on improving power production and power storage technologies.
When it comes to power production, most devices use some sort of chemical/metal (eg lithium ion) based technology to generate the power that they need.
While these are great options for running all sorts of devices, they still take a lot of input to generate their energy, along with being highly toxic for the environment.
To take care of these problems, scientists are working on developing different types of biological fuel cells that can produce electricity without harming the environment.
These fuel cells are often powered by bacteria that break down chemical energy to produce electrons, which can then be converted into electricity.
However, even with their unique abilities, these fuel cells still require constant supply of food in order to work. But now, scientists from Iowa State University have found a way to take care of that limitation as well.
This new type of technology, created in the form of 3D paper fuel cells has the special ability to automatically keep supplying food to the microbes without the need for external input.
What this means is that these fuel cells are self sustainable. The researchers behind the development of these cells already put them through the tests, in which they were able to generate electrical current continuously for five days.
In those 5 days, the cells were able to produce a maximum current of 52.25 microamperes and 1.3 microWatts of power from a 52.5 microlitre device, which is equal to 25 Watts of power for each cubic metre of bacteria and food added.
While this may not sound like enough for practical purposes, but it is still a great proof of concept. The researchers can now focus on fine tuning this technology to create more lasting fuel cells with multiple food sources.