Researchers at NTU invented biodegradable batteries that are 10 times cheaper than Lithium batteries. 

A team of scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has invented biodegradable batteries that are 10 times cheaper than lithium batteries and can store huge amounts of energy.

As part of the technological acceleration, E-waste is one of the most toxic and fastest growing waste streams around the globe. 

When exposed to heat, toxic chemicals from electronic devices and components like capacitors, resistors, batteries, etc are released into the atmosphere and this will cause increased air contamination levels. 


The majority of the wastes are batteries, especially lithium batteries. 

So making biodegradable batteries helps in a big reduction of E-waste.


Now, scientists at Nanyang Technological University came up with a new and powerful solution for this problem. 


They made biodegradable batteries that will decompose to the soil after one month of disposal. It is made by screen printing a layer of zinc and conductive carbon on one side of a strengthened paper and manganese on the other side.

Scientists developed  biodegradable paper battery 10 times cheaper than lithium batteries.
The scientists from NTU who developed the batteries are (from left) Dr Li Jia, Assistant Professor Lee Seok Woo, Professor Fan Hongjin and Dr Yang Peihua. PHOTO: NTU

A paper battery with a dimension of 4 cm by 4 cm and 0.4mm thickness can power a small electric fan for 45 minutes.

The battery is so flexible that it can be bent, twisted, and we can even break it into pieces. 

Doing this will not interrupt the power supply.


Larger batteries can easily be made by screen printing and we can break them into pieces to use individually.

NTU team invents biodegradable paper battery 10 times cheaper than lithium batteries
The paper batteries are made up of electrodes (through which the electrical current leaves or enters the battery) screen-printed on to both sides of a piece of cellulose paper that has been reinforced with hydrogel. Credit: NTU Singapore


Through our study, we showed a simpler, cheaper way of manufacturing batteries, by developing a single large piece of battery that can be cut to desired shapes and sizes without loss of efficiency.”  said Professor Fan Hongjin, co-lead author of the study. 


This battery will be 10 times cheaper than Lithium-ion(Li-ion) batteries

Lithium batteries are the world’s standard for rechargeable batteries.

Because the electrodes used here are made of zinc and manganese which are most common in the world and cheaper than lithium. 

So mass production of these biodegradable batteries will replace majority of toxic lithium batteries.

invented biodegradable batteries that are 10 times cheaper than Lithium batteries. 

“We believe the paper battery we have developed could potentially help with the electronic waste problem, given that our printed paper battery is non-toxic and does not require aluminum or plastic casings to encapsulate the battery components,” 

said Assistant Professor and co-lead author of the study, Lee Seok Woo.


They’re now optimizing the battery for improved performance and integration with sensors.


After licensing and mass production, this battery can be used in GPS Stickers, Near Field Communication (NFC) stickers or devices, sensors, smartwatches, smartphones, and other thinner wearables.


“As we move towards the future of the Internet of Things, many more of our everyday objects will need to be embedded with sensors that need to be powered in order to communicate with other objects,” said Professor Fan.

“We believe that our battery is contributing to that future,” he concluded.

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