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This looks like fun

Given my entire lack of engineering nous I’ve no idea whether it’s useful, or even sensible, but it is fun:

Water activated disposable paper
Alexandre Poulin1
, XavierAeby1 & Gustav Nyström1,2*
We developed a disposable paper battery aiming to reduce the environmental impact of single-use
electronics for applications such as point of care diagnosis, smart packaging and environmental
sensing. The battery uses Zinc as a biodegradable metal anode, graphite as a nontoxic cathode
material and paper as a biodegradable substrate. To facilitate additive manufacturing, we developed
electrodes and current collector inks that can be stencil printed on paper to create water-activated
batteries of arbitrary shape and size. The battery remains inactive until water is provided and absorbed
by the paper substrate, taking advantage of its natural wicking behavior. Once activated, a single cell
provides an open circuit potential of 1.2V and a peak power density of 150 µW/cm2
at 0.5 mA. As a
proof of concept, we fabricated a two cell battery and used it to power an alarm clock and its liquid
crystal display

Via Mr Katz

Ah, re first comment, this might work better.
s41598-022-15900-5 (1)

21 thoughts on “This looks like fun”

  1. As much as I’d like to read that link, you’ve linked to a PDF file on your own computer. You may want to fix that!

  2. Yawn.
    I used to use these (when rolled up) to power my toys when I was litle. It’s called a zinc-carbon dry cell, and it leaks its electrolyte all over the toy when the zinc is consumed.

    There’s no mention of how the “water based electrolyte” will be contained, nor what it is nor how toxic. Usually ammonium chloride.

    No mention of polarisation. No doubt they will announce a “new improved” version with some manganese dioxide in it, to recombine the hydrogen.

    They appear to have invented a way to manufacture letter-bomb* shaped not-very-good versions of a 1900-ish technology, that has long since been left behind by Duracell types and Li-ion.
    Cannot Recommend A Purchase.

    * Polaroid had a real problem way back, when they invested hugely in a new self-developing film cartridge, using a flat battery. Certain types found other uses for that battery…
    For awhile, the whole film concept was at risk.

  3. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    So as Tim says it’s a very old fashioned battery waiting for its electrolyte.

    And turns anything it is built into into something that will be subject to the usual regulations on handling and disposal of this kind of thing. Which is admittedly more a societal/political problem than a technological one.

    What is wrong with the minuscule and long lasting lithium cells you can get (e.g. hearing aids)?

  4. and used it to power an alarm clock and its liquid crystal display

    You can do that using two coins and a lemon, the latter being eminently biodegradable.

  5. Water activated disposable paper

    The formatting error on the first line gives us the answer, for while the battery tech story may be a load of shit, there really are useful water activated toilet paper tablets to help wipe it away.

    Concerned preppers might want to get some in as a back-up to their Andrex tower.

  6. I can see an immediate use for it. Produce a package will recharge a mobile phone. Or at least give sufficient power for one to operate. The sheer numbers of people floundering around because the batteries on their phones are dead. Priced right I could sell hundreds a day.

  7. Can you satiate my disaster porn addiction now?

    Why do libertarians hate progress unless someone gets hurt?

  8. I can remember there being a news story about a public toilet with lights powered by urine. This, I think, involved using the widdle as some kind of electrolyte with electrodes in it. Guys were disappointed to learn that it didn’t involve aiming at little turbines set into the urinals.

  9. Why do libertarians hate progress unless someone gets hurt?

    Omelettes: breaking eggs.

    Not really. Most of what we discuss here is not progress. The technology that is vaunted as “the next thing” might be a slight improvement on existing technology, but in fact often isn’t and is just re-packaged with clever marketing for the gullible. The methods or products were probably already abandoned scores of years ago, because they were not viable.

    eg this paper battery: 1.2V at .5mA is really not very useful.

  10. And let’s not even start on how the zinc was produced in the first place: the mining, the refining, the acid waste, the electricity used in its reduction; electricity most likely produced from a coal power station in China.

    If reverting to a crap version of Victorian technology is progress, then reverting to Stone Age technology must be progress enough to keep Greens happy. Ah!
    Of course, without low cost fossil fuel energy, it’ll be back to slavery to get anything done, like food grown. I’m sure the Greens won’t like that, as they’ll be the slaves, not the senators.

    And no doubt, they’ll object to the Stone Age version of Tinder: “Ug have club. Ug want shag you. Shag before or after clubbing?”

    The Greens always imagine they’ll end up in charge, but in reality, they’ll be the baby seals.

  11. @BIS Produce a package will recharge a mobile phone
    With this energy density it would need to be suitcase sized.

  12. Tim

    Revolutions never works the ay most so called revolutionaries think.

    But knowing the arseholes are going to be fucked over doesn’t make me happy, because their stupidity will get me sucked over too.

    So we need to get them fucked over before they break everything.

    Dunno how.


  13. Why do libertarians hate progress unless someone gets hurt?

    Given that “progressives” usually follow the economic ideas of 19th Century Germans, I think I prefer they have little leg to stand on with regards to new ideas.

    That’s when they aren’t in hock to 17th Century types like Rousseau. Or worse, late 19th Century Italians.

    We had a minor pandemic. The “progressive” solution did not involve new technologies or methods — it was to re-apply the methods of medieval Venice. Even down to medieval levels of state brutality in many cases.

  14. Water activated batteries have been around for a long time -we use salt water ones for personal and life raft distress beacon lighting.

    ‘biodegradable’ – its not going to be because it’s got *metals* in it. Sure, it might fall apart after a decade but then it’s metals will just leech into the ground.

  15. “In what sense is zinc biodegradable? “

    If memory serves me correctly*, the zinc case of a traditional “Dry Cell” is mostly used up by the chemical reaction. That’s why discharged cells often end up leaking, and buggering up the device they powered. The trick is to use just enough zinc to get the designed capacity, without it self-destructing beforehand…

    *I’m happy to be corrected

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