Paper Battery Which Extracts Electrons from Dirty Water

1) Energy/Water & Waste Management:  Our energy system currently depends heavily on fossil fuels, a resource which continues to become scarcer and scarcer.  It is no surprise that we need to look elsewhere for cleaner, more abundant sources of energy.  Simultaneously, much of the world struggles with finding clean water, as dirty water abounds.

2) Article: This origami battery is cooler than your crane
Source: Grist

  • This new technology, developed by Binghamton University engineer Seokheun “Sean” Choi, costs only five cents to make. It consists of paper, folded to the size of a matchbook, which contains activated carbon. When dirty water is applied to the paper, electrons are harvested, creating a battery.
  • The harvested electrons come from the metabolic actions of bacteria consuming organic matter, both of which are located in dirty water.
  • This technology is very simple, cheap, and lightweight, and uses dirty water–something very abundant–as its fuel source. The end result is a clean energy source.
  • I am curious to see this type of technology applied on a larger scale, to generate larger amounts of energy.  Perhaps activated carbon can be applied to large holding ponds of dirty water.

3) Organizational stakeholders: Organ Energy providers/utilities; Battery manufacturers; Product developers; Lenders/financial institutions; Developing world; Healthcare professionals (particularly in the developing world); Emergency professionals

4) First steps:

  • Research the extent and capacity that this product can be used — how much energy can this actually produce?
  • Locate sources of funding
  • Locate avenues to deploy this technology (i.e.: companies and NGOs to partner with, etc.)

– Maya Ezzeddine

2 thoughts on “Paper Battery Which Extracts Electrons from Dirty Water

  1. Step 5 – The process by which these batteries leverage dirty water is as follows: bacterial culture is added on to the common inlet on a folded battery stack, it is transported horizontally and then vertically, first filling the reservoir of each battery, and then reaching other batteries.

    Choi ultimately intends on using this techonology to make cheaper diagnostic tests in developing countries.


  2. Very cool technology. I agree with fja2114 that its application in developing countries is an important prospect of this technology. Given its low-cost and low-resources to produce this battery, it’s an ideal candidate for the service industry (such as health centers) to utilize without generating excessive waste and using high-polluting energy sources.


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