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Power Technology

Printable Batteries Should Arrive Next Year 92

Posted by timothy
from the return-to-the-goodness-of-aa dept.
FullBandwidth writes "Paper-thin batteries that can be printed onto greeting cards or other flexible substrates have been demonstrated at Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nano Systems in Germany. The batteries have a relatively short life span, as the anode and cathode materials dissipate over time. However, they contain no hazardous materials."
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Printable Batteries Should Arrive Next Year

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 09, 2009 @01:29AM (#29000739)

    Now we can have an unlimited supply of electrical energy. Just keep photocopying the batteries!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 09, 2009 @02:36AM (#29000935)

      In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I just want to know if these batteries will be available as a PDF so I can print my own.

      • by oGMo (379) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @05:26AM (#29001327)
        That's a great idea... I can have my e-book reader power itself!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by kurt555gs (309278)

        Yes, and HP will sell you battery ink in cartridges for $2200.00 per gallon, just like regular ink jet ink.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by peragrin (659227)

          batteries are far more useful than ink, therefore it will be $4400.00 per gallon thank you very much. And you will pay because you are suckers.

          me I gave up printers a 8 years ago when i realized I wasted more ink than I used. Now when i do need the rare item printed I take it to work, or use someone else's.

          • by geekboy642 (799087) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @01:34PM (#29003519) Journal

            Laser printers, meboy! Sure the toner costs $100 for a replacement cartridge, but you can print 5,000 pages with one of 'em. And as a plus, it's got a laser in it! Quiet, fast, cheap...all made possible with the humble laser. Inkjet printers rightfully should be dumped into a hole in the ground.

          • me I gave up printers a 8 years ago when i realized I wasted more ink than I used. Now when i do need the rare item printed I take it to work, or use someone else's.

            Heh. "I don't need oil, I take the bus!"

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by zmollusc (763634)

        No, they will be available as a PDF to _prevent_ you from printing your own.

    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @03:58AM (#29001149) Homepage Journal
      If I get stuck in the country with my electric car and no power I could ask somebody to fax me a new battery pack.
  • Fantastic! (Score:4, Funny)

    by tsa (15680) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @01:31AM (#29000749) Homepage

    Now we can have cards with OLED displays that can show a message delived by you in person, via a video! Quite cool, I think.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by moniker127 (1290002)
      If you have an extra 500 bucks laying around to spend on a one time use card, go nuts.
      You could just get your significant other a netbook with a video file on it, captain yesterday. :P
      • by tsa (15680)

        In the article they were talking about 10 cents per card. But I guess you missed that when you read the article, no? ;P I don't see whre you got the 500 from.

        • by tsa (15680)

          OMG, /. doesn't even know the Euro sign! No wonder, it's almost 15 years old already.... I meant 500 euros instead of 500 [no unit].

        • The $500 comes from the cost of the OLED, not from the cost of the battery.
          • by tsa (15680)

            Really? I thought these things were nearly free too, and printable. Oh well, then we have to settle for a normal picture and a soundfile.

    • "Now we can have cards with OLED displays that can show a message delived by you in person, via a video! Quite cool, I think."

      Message inside card "I was going to buy you a present as well, but I couldn't afford it after this card."

  • Aging and leakage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday August 09, 2009 @01:37AM (#29000771)

    The biggest problem with aging materials is their propensity to leak. Take your mother, for example. When I first met her, she was in her 60's and had an ass like a drum. But after a decade of giving her the old backdoor to and fro, she now leaks like a sieve. I'd recommend taking her to get fitted for a colostomy bag, but that's your family's business, not mine.

    So too with batteries. As they age and rust, the internal chemicals are liable to leak and cause serious harm to the environment. There really isn't any good way to dispose of these batteries that doesn't come at great cost or cause chemical contamination.

    This development using organic compounds and no harmful lead or mercury is a godsend for those of us in the environmental movement. It has been a source of great consternation that greeting cards and other miniature throw-away gadgets have contained batteries with harmful chemicals, and now that seems to be a thing of the past.

    It also has the side effect of making the card itself less bulky, so not only are you saving the environment by not polluting the groundwater, you're saving precious resources by buying products made of lighter materials.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by pitterpatter (1397479)

      From TFA:

      Fraunhofer's batteries use zinc anodes and manganese cathodes, which react with one another to produce electricity.

      My copy of the CRC Handbook does not list zinc and manganese as organic compounds. Do I need to upgrade my library?

      While I agree that these elements do not currently have the bad press enjoyed, probably quite deservedly, by lead and mercury, I'm reminded of the calomel [wikipedia.org] taken as the primary medical treatment by the Lewis and Clark expedition. Scientific thought 200 years ago pointed to mercury as a cure for almost anything that ailed you. Times do change.

      Make no mistake, I think that having

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bhima (46039) *

        My expectation is that the only way batteries are going to able to really compete with liquid fuels as an energy storage mechanism for vehicles is through some sort of comprehensive and mandatory recycling program. And I'm not just talking about just the actual batteries but rather a complete infrastructure and financing system which makes it difficult and expensive to ignore, opt-out or avoid. Otherwise, the whole thing will be an expensive and short lived boondoggle.

        Having said that, I'd love to be able

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        My copy of the CRC Handbook does not list zinc and manganese as organic compounds. Do I need to upgrade my library?

        Your CRC handbook isn't thinking outside the box.

    • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewkNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:57AM (#29001255)

      The biggest problem with aging materials is their propensity to leak. Take your mother, for example. When I first met her, she was in her 60's and had an ass like a drum. But after a decade of giving her the old backdoor to and fro, she now leaks like a sieve. I'd recommend taking her to get fitted for a colostomy bag, but that's your family's business, not mine.

      BadAnalogyGuy, you are officially my hero.

    • by Timosch (1212482) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @09:11AM (#29001863)

      When I first met her, she was in her 60's and had an ass like a drum.

      Daddy, is that you?

  • by FST (766202) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @01:49AM (#29000807) Journal
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute did this already, as mentioned in this article from a couple years back [slashdot.org].
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:50AM (#29001249)

      Well there's a few differences between the two. Rensselaer's invention was largely based on cellulose whereas the Fraunhofer battery is a matter of zinc and manganese. While the Rensselaer battery actually seemed to be paper (and had the capability to be stacked to produce more power) the Fraunhofer battery seems to be "paper-thin" instead of actual paper. Also, based on the article, I find it unlikely the stacking for additional power output would work.

      Further, Rensselaer said they weren't able to figure out a cheap way to mass produce. According to the article, the Fraunhofer battery seems to be fairly cheap already if they're "aiming at a price point under 10 cents per card" instead of a generic "We gotta make it cheaper."

      They're similar technologies if all you think of it is "it's a thin battery", but in actuality are nowhere near the same.

  • by Elledan (582730) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @01:50AM (#29000811) Homepage
    I'm willing to bet that it'll take less than a week before some enterprising geek manages to collect about a million of these batteries and makes a big battery pile out of them to create the most powerful printed battery. Why? Because it's possible :D

    (and it'll be posted on this site and we'll all be gawking at it and making jokes about Beowulf clusters of batteries, ad infinitum, ad nauseam)
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @02:02AM (#29000845) Journal
      It'll be interesting to see whether he kills himself doing so or not. Batteries(of any standard chemistry, there might be something exotic out there) in parallel are pretty much harmless to any human who hasn't been flayed and dipped in graphite; but put enough of them together in series and you can get a pretty zesty high voltage DC source(youtube and friends are infested with videos of people playing with large quantities of 9-volts, they conveniently clip together in long chains for the purpose).

      Not a huge surprise if you think about it; but anybody who thinks "Batteries = safe, Mains = dangerous" might be in for a surprise if they try on a large enough scale...
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Some references would probably be in order: Here are 52 in series [youtube.com]. This is 160 [youtube.com](warning, listening at nonzero volume might make you wish that the experiment had been less survivable...)

        On the plus side, the ability of a 9 volt to deliver high currents isn't all that hot(compared to, say, a microwave transformer) so you'd be less likely to suffer massive damage from thermal effects, unless the lot caught fire. A similarly long chain of lead acid batteries would be substantially nastier in that regard.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dkf (304284)

          On the plus side, the ability of a 9 volt to deliver high currents isn't all that hot(compared to, say, a microwave transformer) so you'd be less likely to suffer massive damage from thermal effects, unless the lot caught fire. A similarly long chain of lead acid batteries would be substantially nastier in that regard.

          That's because the 9 volt battery (deliberately) has quite a lot of internal resistance. Makes it much safer if there is an external short, at a cost of limiting it to low-current applications.

      • by kimvette (919543) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @11:03AM (#29002543) Homepage Journal

        I did something REALLY stupid when I was about 10 years old. I knew enough about parallel vs. series battery piles to be dangerous. Did you ever lick a 9V battery to see if it was good? If you got a really painful sting, it was good, and if it didn't hurt, it was probably too dead to run the game? Well, have you ever tried connecting 20 of those in series, making a pigtail and licking the conductors to see if it worked? I did. I learned a very quick lesson about that. I saw a flash of light and was dazed for a little while. I'm embarrassed to admit that here, but hey, I was only about 10 years old. Yep, I've always been a bit of a geek like that. That year I learned a lot of lessons: why a lot of batteries wired in series can be as dangerous as mains (my first mishap with electricity was when I was about five years old where the batteries in my pinball machine went dead so I made a cord to plug it into the mains - I fried both the outlet and the pinball machine internals), I learned why one should check the flyback circuit cables to make sure there is NO dry rot when working on internals a live (CRT) TV (or end up with a numb arm if there is a crack in the line and the screwdriver goes near it), why a magneto on a motorbike engine should not be played with while it's running. Those lessons were painful! :-D

  • by dtmos (447842) * on Sunday August 09, 2009 @05:25AM (#29001325)

    Power Paper [powerpaper.com]. Screen-printed zinc-manganese batteries on paper and polymer substrates are at least ten years old. (They're not the only supplier, either.)

  • In my high school chemistry class we made paper batteries. We took a single piece of filter paper, and we took an eyedropper and we spilled various chemicals on the filter paper in an "X" pattern. You would then place a piece of metal (depending on your liquid, copper, zinc, lead) and put it on the paper, and figure out what combination of chemicals and metals gave you electricity (as measured by a handy multimeter). The entire thing was soaked with a saline solution so it conducted electricity. The exercis

  • Could a terrorist build some nasty device with these . . . ? I don't know why that's the first thing that came to my mind. Maybe because for that last eight years, governments and the media have been pounding a mantra into my mind: "Terrorist / Security / Terrorist / Security . . ." Soon it will be easier to print a list permitted items to take on a plane, as opposed to forbidden items.

    Although, James Bond could pull one out of his sock to escape some bizarre execution method of the Evil Genius.

    Or, Ima

    • Could a terrorist build some nasty device with these . . . ?

      Great, you've just given Homeland Security an excuse to ban paper from being brought onto a plane.

    • by Eudial (590661)

      Could a terrorist build some nasty device with these . . . ? I don't know why that's the first thing that came to my mind. Maybe because for that last eight years, governments and the media have been pounding a mantra into my mind: "Terrorist / Security / Terrorist / Security . . ." Soon it will be easier to print a list permitted items to take on a plane, as opposed to forbidden items.

      Although, James Bond could pull one out of his sock to escape some bizarre execution method of the Evil Genius.

      Or, Imagine a MacGyver armed with these . . . !

      Everyone knows it's blinking LEDs that explode. Ask the experts in Boston. They have foiled several menacing plots from the evil LED terrorists.

  • those are quite handy :)
  • by Jon Abbott (723) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @12:45PM (#29003215) Homepage

    Infinite Power Solutions [infinitepo...utions.com] is already making a thin-film lithium ion battery that is extremely rechargeable. No need to wait for this technology!

  • Prior Art (Score:4, Informative)

    by eonlabs (921625) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @01:58PM (#29003663) Journal

    Power Paper has been producing printable battery tech for YEARS

    http://www.powerpaper.com/home.php [powerpaper.com]

    Surprisingly, they've taken it into the cosmetics business.

    Who wants to find another wheel we can reinvent.

  • So now I can print my own batteries, recharge them with my own printed solar panels [technologyreview.com], to power my inkjet printed LCD panels. [nsti.org]

    Awesome! If only I could get a printer that does the whole lot.
     

  • Something a little strange there. Typically, a cell will use zinc, manganese dioxide, and another material as the anode. TFA only accounts for two of the three things needed. Possibly the surface layer of Manganese dioxide might serve as the electrolyte. But that battery wouldn't last long at all.

    Unless they are being secretive.

    Hopefully no one will discover the galvanic series, then their secret will be out!

    All apologies for not making a inkjet or laser printer joke!

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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