Could a combination of cardboard, graphite, and Teflon based electrical power usurp ‘AA’ batteries?

Could WHSmith or Ryman be a future source for powering our future devices? Though the two stationery chains sell ‘AA’ batteries among other items, they too could be obsolete well into the future. No matter what technological developments take place, there will always be a need for pencils and paper. Thanks to a study earlier this year, cardboard, graphite, and Teflon could be an alternative form of electrical power.

The École Polytechnique Féderále de Lausanne, in cooperation with the University of Tokyo, created the mini circuit which uses static electricity. Electrical power is gained by paper and Teflon coming into contact. It uses two small cards: one is topped with graphite with a Teflon layer at the bottom. The second one has graphite at the bottom. This is illustrated in the EPFL’s diagram seen below.

Static electrical power diagram by Pascal Coderay

Static electricity with cardboard: EPFL’s diagram displays how the carbon, paper and Teflon is sandwiched together.

The modest electrical circuit has the Teflon strip on the positive rail with the negative strip only having cardboard and graphite.

The first static electrical power system to use household items

If commercially viable, the likes of Duracell may be displeased, if home made batteries become the norm. Even more so, it’s the fact you can go to any DIY store or stationers for any of the items instead of buying ‘AA’ batteries. Then again, they could start selling biodegradable batteries in the future.

In reality, the economic and environmental cost of extracting metals is pretty high. Conventional batteries are best disposed at recycling bins in superstores. Cardboard, Teflon, and graphite derived batteries could be disposed of in the paper bin.

École Polytechnique Féderále de Lausanne and the University of Tokyo aim to develop this into an alternative power source for developing countries. If proven to be as long lasting as ordinary batteries, they could be a popular choice among households.

As a little bonus, here’s how to make your own cardboard powered circuit via YouTube.

Romiley Board Mill, 18 October 2016.

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