CNRS in France has developed a flexible and stretchable bio fuel cell that can be worn against the skin and capable of producing electrical energy by transforming the compounds present in sweat.
The biocell, working with researchers from l'Université Grenoble Alpes and the University of San Diego, can continuously light an LED for wearable electronics.
The cell combines a flexible conductive material consisting of carbon nanotubes, crosslinked polymers, and enzymes joined by stretchable connectors that are directly printed onto the material through screen-printing.
The biofuel cell, which follows deformations in the skin, produces electrical energy through the reduction of oxygen and the oxidation of the lactate present in perspiration. Mounted on an arm, it uses a voltage booster to continuously power an LED. It is relatively simple and inexpensive to produce, with the primary cost being the production of the enzymes that transform the compounds found in sweat. The researchers are now seeking to amplify the voltage provided by the biofuel cell in order to power larger portable devices.