Power Hungry? Scientists developed Edible Rechargeable Battery

By: | April 19th, 2023

The concept of edible electronics is still at an early stage but it’s already creating great scientific buzz.  It could have a great impact on the diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal tract diseases.

But, the development of power sources for these future edible electronics is a challenge!

Researchers at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT-Italian Institute of Technology) have created a novel battery that is both rechargeable and edible.

Made entirely of edible ingredients that are routinely consumed as part of our daily diet, this battery could make edible electronic devices safer to use.

The battery is developed utilizing riboflavin (a form of vitamin B2, also found in almonds) as an anode and quercetin (a common food supplement and ingredient) as a cathode. The team employed activated charcoal to enhance electrical conductivity and a water-based electrolyte.  Easily available activated charcoal was used to increase electrical conductivity, while the electrolyte was water-based. To avoid short circuits, nori seaweed was used as the separator, and electrodes were encapsulated in beeswax.

On a full charge, the 0.65-volt battery can provide a 48-microampere current for 12 minutes or just a few microamps for over one hour. Though it doesn’t sound much, it is sufficient to power small electronic devices such as low-power LEDs, for a limited time.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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