Sony has unveiled a paper-powered battery prototype in Japan.
The technology generates electricity by turning shredded paper into sugar which in turn is used as fuel.
If brought to market, the innovation could allow the public to top up the power of their mobile devices using waste material.
The team behind the project said such bio-batteries are environmentally friendly as they did not use harmful chemicals or metals.
The Japanese electronics giant showed off its invention at the Eco-Products exhibition in Tokyo last week.
Employees invited children to drop piece of paper and cardboard into a liquid made up of water and enzymes, and then to shake it. The equipment was connected to a small fan which began spinning a few minutes later.
Learning from nature
The process works by using the enzyme cellulase to decompose the materials into glucose sugar. These were then combined with oxygen and further enzymes which turned the material into electrons and hydrogen ions.
The electrons were used by the battery to generate electricity. Water and the acid gluconolactone, which is commonly used in cosmetics, were created as by-products.
Researchers involved in the project liken the mechanism to the one used by white ants and termites to digest wood and turn it into energy.
“In the future using this technology, we will be able to generate electricity using glucose derived from unused wood, cardboard and old papers,” a presentation given by the team said.
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