A flexible, compact and rechargeable storage device powered by… green tea

A finding that could make flexible energy storage for wearables a reality

in brief

Apart from projects like the Google Jacquard and Levi’s Commuter jacket, which is powered in a clipable device that you can easily remove for washing, most of the experimental wearable tech projects feature bulky batteries. A team of researchers recently invented a new kind of battery, using the power of green tea.

Powering wearables is a real subject. Indeed, supplying power to wearables is one of the key obstacles to lift before we can even speak of market adoption. The existant batteries being currently made of durable, hard and rigid materials to power wearable electronics, it results in bulky batteries and wires that you wouldn’t want to find in your jacket.

Here comes Indian researchers’ latest finding: a storage device using green tea extract

A team from India’s Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) invented a device that demonstrated power and energy densities of 2,715 watts / kg and 22 watt-hours / kg – which is enough to operate a heart rate monitor, LEDs or a bluetooth module.

Flexible, compact and rechargeable, the device is made of polyphenols, an element from green tea, which can be charged rapidly and discharged repeatedly. After preparing polymer gels in green tea extract (meaning infusing the gel with polyphenols), the polyphenols converted a silver nitrate solution into a uniform coating of silver nanoparticles. Then, the researchers added thin layers of conducting gold and poly.

A green way to power our future wearables, and maybe even more?

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