Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst reported about the development of a truly environmentally friendly energy source based on bacteria and fueled by human sweat.
“This is a very interesting technology.said Xiaomeng Liu, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UMass Amherst College of Engineering and lead author of the publication. “This is real green energy, and unlike other so-called ‘green’ energy sources, it’s completely environmentally friendly to produce.”
The biofilm shown is a thin layer of bacterial cells, about the thickness of a sheet of paper. It is naturally produced by a modified version of the bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens. The bacteria G. sulfurreducens generate electricity and have been used in the past “Microbial Batteries” to power electrical devices. The disadvantage of previous methods was that live bacteria had to be fed – to provide a nutrient solution. The new development uses colonies of dead bacteria that do not need to be fed.
Colonies of G. sulfurreducens bacteria grow as thin films with tight junctions between individual cells. Any shape can be cut from these foils, and scientists use a laser to cut out the correct shape. A film of bacteria was then placed between the electrodes and sealed in a soft, sticky, and breathable polymer that can be applied directly to the skin.
“The limiting factor of wearable electronics, say the researchers There has always been a source of strength. The batteries are dead and need to be replaced or recharged. They are also bulky, heavy and uncomfortable. A transparent, small, thin, flexible biofilm that generates a continuous and stable power supply and can be worn like a patch applied directly to the skin solves all these problems.