Sony demos paper-fueled battery

Sony demos paper-fueled batter...
Sony's battery breaks down paper to create power (Photo: PhysOrg)
Sony's battery breaks down paper to create power (Photo: PhysOrg)
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Sony's battery breaks down paper to create power (Photo: PhysOrg)
Sony's battery breaks down paper to create power (Photo: PhysOrg)

We've heard of gadgets being powered by some pretty crazy stuff, but how about paper? Sony recently showed off a new bio-cell battery that breaks down paper in order to create power. A paper battery sounds a little bit far-fetched, but the technology works, and could potentially change how we power devices in the future.

So how does it work?

The process starts with an enzyme suspended in water. When paper is dropped in, the enzyme starts to break it down and produce glucose that can then be harvested and used to power a battery. Sony described the break down process as similar to how a termite might eat and break down wood.

Sony showed the battery off recently at Tokyo's Eco-Products 2011 exhibition and managed to get the tech to power a small fan. Still in the early stages of development, the idea is that the technology could ultimately be used as a greener source of power for larger devices.

There is definitely a push for companies to come up with cleaner and greener ways to power the electronics we've become so fond of. Late last year we heard of another interesting battery concept: using wind power to power an iPhone

Chris Hooley
Drawing a fairly long bow; could this possibly lead to a fuel-cell style off-grid domestic power supply similar to biomass combustion generators now catching-on in Europe? I\'m picturing throwing the garden waste into a vat with some enzymes and getting electricity out the other end....
I agree with Chris, This sounds like cellulose digestion and a direct conversion of the sugars to electricity. If so then this would evolve into an effective onsite waste disposal and power generation system. Imagine if you could take the garden waste and food waste and just dump it into a bin and it would produce a steady flow of electricity. This would be a major advantage to farming as well as the stuff that is normally waste could be used to run the operation.
The problem with using the biomass to generate electricity is you have taken out of the system the nutrients that were in the plants. Better to return that via compost. Otherwise, there is vast amount of paper available to decompose into energy rather than ship to China and recycle into more junk.
Why use paper as a fuel when we are struggling to maintain our plant life. To make paper we need to cut down trees and the more trees we need to cut down the more trees we need to grow back. When the paper is broken down it cannot be reused so what is the point of recycling when it is broken down for a few minutes of battery power.