Eco-Friendly Batteries Made from Algae and Paper

Latest research reveals that, in the future, we might use batteries made from paper. They are not only an eco-friendly advancement of common energy storage systems, but also allow for leveraging smart packaging when combined with sensors.

Swedish pulp and paper manufacturer BillerudKorsnäs and researchers from Uppsala University have taken an important step in revolutionizing the battery industry. Their cellulose fiber made from algae might pave the way for the production of both, inexpensive and eco-friendly paper batteries, and could be used in smart packaging applications.

Paper Batteries Entering a Circular System

BillerudKorsnäs, known for their efforts in the development of sustainable packaging technologies, teamed up with the research team in a whole new way as Lars Sandberg, project manager for innovation at BillerudKorsnäs, explains:

“What’s special in this case is the model for collaboration between BillerudKorsnäs and Uppsala University that has resulted in technology adapted to large-scale production processes. We’re combining the deep theoretical expertise of the researchers with our understanding of innovation and production technology. By successfully creating a joint platform, we can focus our work on the future, on creating an advanced product that can still be produced in an effective way.”

When combined with sensors the paper battery is likely to optimize the production of smart, connected packaging in the future. This enables shippers and carriers to trace deliveries through the entire transport chain with real-time data, for instance, which in turn would allow them to establish systems that guarantee quality and supplier reliability. What’s even better is that it will be possible to recycle batteries along with their boxes as Magnus Wikström, technical director at BillerudKorsnäs points out:

“Storing energy in paper instead of in lithium batteries, for example, allows for bio-based batteries that can form part of a circular system, which provides major sustainability benefits.”

Paper, a Versatile Material

This new application field is a welcome addition to the versatile purposes paper can be used for. Although being thousands of years old, it is reinvented itself again and again. Just think of the solar cells made from paper we presented on the blog two years ago or the amazing artwork Wanda Barcelona installed at Messe Düsseldorf’s Entrance North for drupa 2016:

For us, one thing is clear: Paper never ceases to amaze us. Let us know your personal paper highlights in the comment section!