Home » Ammonia-fed microbial fuel cells: power from sweat

Ammonia-fed microbial fuel cells: power from sweat

NEWS BRIEF: The National Science Foundation has awarded $452,000 to researchers at Binghamton University to develop a technology that can generate power from sweat, fueling “one of the ultimate forms of next-generation electronics.” The project aims to harness ammonia-oxidizing bacteria, using microbial fuel cells, to power wearable electronics.

The project’s title is Power-on-Skin: Energy Generation from Sweat-Eating Bacteria for Self-Powered Electronic Skins. According to the Binghamton University announcement, “Electronic skin, or e-skin, refers to flexible, stretchable and self-healing electronics that are able to mimic the functionalities of human skin … Stand-alone and self-sustained e-skins are essential to providing reliable, effective and sometimes life-saving functions … [for example] human-machine interfaces, health monitoring, transdermal drug delivery and soft robotics.”

Researchers believe that using the metabolisms of … ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms, will successfully create a power source for new e-skins.

“The proposed sweat-powered batteries will be based on microbial fuel cells (MFCs), which will exploit sweat-eating bacteria to transform the chemical energy of sweat into electrical power through bacterial metabolism,” said [Seokheun Choi, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Binghamton University] …

“Scientific knowledge gained from this project will have far-reaching implications and support long-term goals of a truly stand-alone and self-powered e-skin that operates independently and self-sustainably … The project outcomes will address grand challenges in sensing and power sectors critical to U.S. security and competitiveness, through enabling skin-mountable electronics that will augment human capabilities.”
Binghamton University announcement, ENGINEERING RESEARCHERS RECEIVE NSF GRANT TO STUDY POWER GENERATION FROM HUMAN SWEAT, 05/03/2019

Most ammonia energy technologies focus on the challenges of scaling-up. It is interesting, therefore, to note that scaling-down, to the level of the microbial fuel cell, is also a challenge that ammonia energy can address.

SOURCE: Binghamton University announcement, ENGINEERING RESEARCHERS RECEIVE NSF GRANT TO STUDY POWER GENERATION FROM HUMAN SWEAT, 05/03/2019

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