Strategic Elements Ltd reports that nanoionic materials engineering by research partner The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has created an improvement in the ability to convert moisture in the air to electrical energy. Results have demonstrated the potential to increase the electrical charge capacity from milliamp-hours (mAh) to ampere-hours (Ah). This significantly broadens its potential use in electronics with enhanced power requirements.
The team is working on a world-first battery pack able to harvest ampere-hour range of electrical charge solely from moisture in the air. The 36cm2 cells will be printed onto flexible plastic using green, sustainable, safe materials, results are due later this year. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Flexible, Printed and Thin Film Batteries 2020-2030: Technologies, Markets and Players.
Energy Ink uses green, sustainable materials that are safe and non-flammable and, when printed onto flexible plastic, can be flexed and bent around various structures, including wearable applications on the human body. The Company believes the technology has exceeded the power output requirements of most existing devices in the electronic skin patch market that currently use rigid batteries.
The technology is being measured and validated for use in electronic skin patch applications with a demonstrator currently under development, and intended for completion later this year.
To date, 36cm2 battery cells suitable for electronic skin patches have been produced and the Company is initially increasing the Energy Ink cell size area to 100cm2 to test the impact on power output from larger printed cells.
‘It wasn’t long ago that many said it was impossible to produce any usable energy from moisture. Our team experienced a lot of scepticism. For us to now realistically target the ampere-hour range generation of electrical energy solely from humidity in the air is a huge achievement. Our technology doesn’t rely on rare materials and carries no safety risks, and in addition, can provide flexibility to electronics. There is an obvious near-term target market in electronic skin patches, but we are also excited about clearly being in the early stage of testing the fundamental upper limits of this technology. The current success is a testament to the strong relationship developed between the Company, Professor Dewei Chu and his team at UNSW developed over years of collaborative electronic ink development,” a company spokesperson commented.
The battery technology is a liquid ink based on graphene oxide that is able to harvest energy from the humidity in the air or skin surface to self-charge themselves within minutes.