Researchers have developed an edible battery that is non-toxic to humans. This opens up new possibilities in medicine, among other things. The backgrounds.
In recent months, researchers around the world have been developing new batteries made of a wide variety of materials. In addition to an energy store based on carbon dioxide, bricks could also be a promising material for the energy transition. Now an Italian team from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is going one step further.
Existing batteries can still be used in smartphones, electric vehicles or as energy storage devices. The situation is different with sensors or technical devices that doctors use in the human body.
Edible battery delivers up to 0.65 volts
If an electrically operated device works within our organism and is based on a lithium-ion battery, symptoms of poisoning could quickly occur in the event of defects. After all, the metals are not exactly healthy for humans. The Italian researchers are now eliminating this problem with their approach.
Because the developed battery consists exclusively of food and thus always guarantees compatibility for our organism. It delivers 0.65 volts and allows 12 minutes of operation at 38 microamps. This is already sufficient for the smallest sensors. But there is still one problem: The battery is a few square centimeters in size.
Can also be used in children’s toys
The IIT team has therefore been working on further developing its own prototype for some time. This should then also bring an even higher capacity. The anode consists of vitamin B2, the cathode of the dietary supplement quercetin. Activated carbon enables better battery conductivity. The electrolyte is based on plain water.
Other ingredients include beeswax, nori seaweed and food grade gold. In addition to use in medical products, the scientists also see potential for children’s toys. Because if a child swallows such a battery, no trip to the emergency room is necessary, it is enough to let the digestion do the work.