Are Eco-Batteries Sustainable?

Apparently, for a while now, companies have striven to create the Holy Grail of batteries, the bio-battery. At the Eco-Products Exhibition in Tokyo, Sony demonstrated a bio-battery that runs on paper. It actually sounds pretty cool.

“… paper was placed into a mixture of water and enzymes where, after a few minutes, the liquid was able to produce enough energy to power a small fan. After breaking down the paper, the enzymes were left with sugar that had been created from the cellulose. The enzymes were then in turn able to process the sugar in order to create hydrogen ions and electrons. These electrons then travelled through an outer circuit in order to generate the electricity. The hydrogen ions then combined with oxygen in the air to create water.”

Granted, this is a better alternative to the current standard battery (no metals or harmful chemicals), but is it really sustainable? What we have here is a solution to the last step of a linear system. Instead of throwing our paper into a landfill or “down-cycling” it into lower quality paper (and then throwing it into a landfill), eco-batteries return paper to the ecosystem. I’m not saying that this isn’t a good thing, but apparently we’re spending years developing ideas to improve a faulty system. This is still cradle-to-grave. Now people will think the problem is solved because the disposal doesn’t harm the environment, but what about its production, the production of paper, and the clear cutting of forests? People will think that not only are they not harming the environment but are also saving it, and will continue to consume these products and contribute to a system that, holistically, is not sustainable. So I ask, do you think eco-batteries are sustainable?


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One comment

  1. It could be sustainable, if the waste products are given back to the grounds that produced the paper, in order for it to be recycled in new trees with the help of sunlight.

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