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Home Industry News New sweat-powered stretchable biofuel cells developed

New sweat-powered stretchable biofuel cells developed

30th August 2017

Scientists have developed an efficient new type of stretchable biofuel cell that can extract energy from sweat.

Created by engineers from the University of California – San Diego, these new biofuel cells are able to generate ten times more power per surface area than any existing wearable cells, and have already been shown to be capable of powering LEDs and Bluetooth radios.

A stretchable electronic foundation was produced using lithography and screen-printing to make 3D carbon nanotube-based cathode and anode arrays, before being infused with an enzyme that oxidises the lactic acid present in human sweat to generate current.

Amay Bandodkar, one of the paper's first authors and a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University, said: "We needed to figure out the best combination of materials to use and in what ratio to use them."

Four test subjects were then equipped with the technology and asked to exercise on a stationary bike, with participants shown to be able to power a blue LED for about four minutes.

Although further work is needed to develop the technology further, it is expected that it could be used to power a wide range of wearable devices in future.

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