Sweating, Running & Charging Your Mobile Device!

Research Paper Title

Soft, Stretchable, High Power Density Electronic Skin-based Biofuel Cells for Scavenging Energy from Human Sweat.


This article describes the fabrication, characterisation, and real-life application of a soft, stretchable electronic-skin-based biofuel cell (E-BFC) that exhibits an open circuit voltage of 0.5 V and a power density of nearly 1.2 mW cm−2 at 0.2 V, representing the highest power density recorded by a wearable biofuel cell to date.

High power density is achieved via a unique combination of lithographically-patterned stretchable electronic framework together with screen-printed, densely-packed three-dimensional carbon-nanotube-based bioanode and cathode array arranged in a stretchable “island-bridge” configuration.

The E-BFC maintains its performance even under repeated strains of 50%, and is stable for two days.

When applied directly to the skin of human subjects, the E-BFC generates ∼1 mW during exercise.

The E-BFC is able to power conventional electronic devices, such as a light emitting diode and a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio.

This is the first example of powering a BLE radio by a wearable biofuel cell.

Successful generation of high power density under practical conditions and powering of conventional energy-intense electronic devices represents a major step forward in the field of soft, stretchable, wearable energy harvesting devices.

In simple terms, thanks to a small biofuel cell (a small, square flexible patch measuring a couple of centimetres) that sticks to the skin and contains sweat-fuelled enzymes that replace the precious metals normally used in batteries, when you go out for a run you would be able to power a mobile device.


Bandodkar, A.J., You, J-M., Kim, N-H., Gu, Y., Kumar, R., Mohan, A.M.V., Kurniawan, J., Imani, S., Nakagawa, T., Parish, B., Parthasarathy, M., Mercier, P.P., Xu, S. & Wang, J. (2017) Soft, Stretchable, High Power Density Electronic Skin-based Biofuel Cells for Scavenging Energy from Human Sweat. Energy and Environmental Science. Issue 7, 2017. DOI: 10.1039/C7EE00865A.



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