Researchers from Imperial College London (ICL), the University of Cambridge, and Central Saint Martins have successfully created a wallpaper-like covering that also acts as both a solar bio-battery and solar panel—and it is environmentally friendly to boot. The team used an inkjet printer to print photosynthetic microorganisms called cyanobacteria onto conductive carbon nanotubes, all of which were then printed onto paper. The printed bacteria continue to perform photosynthesis, creating small amounts of electricity, which the researchers believe could power a small digital clock or LED lamp.
“Imagine a paper-based, disposable environmental sensor disguised as wallpaper, which could monitor air quality in the home,” said ICL department of chemical engineering research associate and study co-author Marin Sawa in a press release. “When it has done its job it could be removed and left to biodegrade in the garden without any impact on the environment.”