Sony powers Walkman with battery running on sugar

August 30, 2007 at 17:03 Leave a comment

Woman with bio cellSony announced the development of a bio battery that generates electricity from the chemical reaction of enzymes in the battery feeding on an added sugar solution.

Even the casing, measuring 1.5 inches along each edge in the prototype, is far more environmentally friendly than current battery casings, as it’s made from a vegetable based plastic (polylactate – a corn derived bioplastic).

The test bio battery hooked up in a series of four has generated an electrical output of 50 milliwatts, which Sony says is the highest level ever achieved for passive-type bio batteries. This is enough power to allow for music play back on a memory-type Walkman.

The Sony sugar powered bio battery
A sugar solution is poured into the
top of each cell; enzymes within the
cell react with the solution, and thus
generate electricity, which powers
the music player...

The process involves “immobilizing enzymes and the mediator (electronic conduction materials) while retaining the activity of the enzymes at the anode. Sony also developed a new cathode structure which efficiently supplies oxygen to the electrode while ensuring that the appropriate water content is maintained. Optimizing the electrolyte for these two technologies has enabled these power output levels to be reached.”

This isn’t just a novelty project for Sony, their intention is to further develop the technology with view to commercial release.

Interesting idea: Would it be possible to have a similar (smaller) device, running of your blood sugar when implanted in your body ?

Read more about the Sony sugar powered bio battery

One of the most talked about is fuel cell technology. While hydrogen-based cells have taken off for home or automobile use, versions based on methanol for use in electronics products have yet to be commercialized. Toshiba and NEC are among the companies that promised methanol fuel cell-based laptops in previous years, but each time, technology launches have been delayed.


Entry filed under: Technology.

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