Researchers Use 3D Printing to Make Sweat-Based Power Generators

Posted Date 08/29/17


A team of scientists from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering have come up with a biofuel cell solution that could power wearable devices, thanks to 3D printing. The scientists combined 3D printing with screen-printing and lithography to produce a stretchable electric foundation for arrays of carbon nanotube cathodes and anodes that can extract energy from human sweat and power a wearable device such as a LED light or a Bluetooth radio. The biofuel cells have a special enzyme in them that can oxidize the lactic acid in sweat and generate electric current, which powers the devices. 3D printing was instrumental for achieving the most challenging goal: making the biofuel cells energy dense enough to have a practical application. This was done by 3D printing the carbon nanotubes on top of the cell arrays, which also improved the transfer of electrons, accelerating the device-powering process.



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