The device is made on a paper platform and hence is light, unlike other batteries. The battery is made using air cathode, and the anode can be prepared from any simple carbon based material
Two students of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur have developed ‘paper battery’ from sewage bacteria and bioethanol green energy from bamboo shavings.
The duo grabbed worldwide attention winning the Platinum award at the recently concluded KPIT Sparkle 2018, an innovation recognition competition held in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology of the government of India, in Pune.
Ramya Veerubhotla, research scholar at IIT Kharagpur’s Department of Biotechnology, along with her partner, has developed a disposable and flexible battery made from paper that could generate power from the bacteria present in sewage water.
The innovation’s uniqueness is in solving the problem of bulky batteries. The device is made on a paper platform and hence is light, unlike other batteries. The battery is made using air cathode, and the anode can be prepared from any simple carbon-based material.
Talking to News18, Ramya said, “Usually Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) take a couple of days to start power production as the bacteria needs to adjust to the environment. But for this device, the power production starts within 10 seconds.”
“The power generated from one cell is in the range of a few microwatts. More cells mean more power. It may be difficult to power household devices with this, but it can power certain electronic components. The device is flexible and can be stacked together. For more power, you can make more units, stack them and fold them in a compact shape,” she added.
Her team, ‘Team Electrode’ won Rs 10 lakh in cash prize for its innovation. It came out on top competing against 12,000 other contestants. The panel awarded the team on the basis of novelty, affordability and commercial viability of the proposed idea.Veerubhotla’s PhD supervisor, Professor Debabrata Das said, “One of the best advantages of the device is that it is 100 percent biodegradable and environment-friendly, which is not the case with chemical batteries.” He expressed his confidence that this invention would have tremendous use in bio-electric toilets.