Britain has developed a living wallpaper that can breathe and generate electricity

- May 23, 2018-

"Wallpaper" is becoming more and more useful.


A team of researchers at Imperial College, Cambridge, and Central St. Martin’s College found that cyanobacteria can be used as ink. It can be printed on ink-jet printers on conductive carbon nanotubes in precise patterns and on paper. During the printing process, cyanobacteria can survive and carry out photosynthesis, producing a small amount of electricity.



        Blue-green algae, which has billions of years of light and microbes on Earth, is a major cause of oxygen enrichment in the Earth's atmosphere.


A bio-based solar panel made from bio-ink containing cyanobacteria and paper has a similar wallpaper appearance. An iPad-sized battery board can power a simple digital clock or LED light bulb.


PhD, Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College of Technology, which participated in this study


Marin Sawa


It is believed that cyanobacterial solar panels are expected to be more widely used in our lives. For example, it can be used as a disposable environmental sensor, attached to the wall like a wallpaper, to monitor the air quality of the home. When it completes its mission, it simply drops it where it is, and it will degrade itself without any environmental impact.


Biological solar cells are not really a new concept. Previously, moss photovoltaic power generation systems have been proposed. Through a soilless matrix composed of hydrogel and conductive carbon fibers, a group of moss-embedded facade hollow modular wall bricks constitute a complete bioelectric operation system that can collect electrons. And generate electricity.


The study of blue-green algae ink "wallpaper" has entered the field of microbiology, utilizing the ability of cyanobacteria and other algae to convert light energy into electricity through photosynthesis and use water as a source of electrons. Not only that, but this type of “wallpaper” bio-battery, which can be arbitrarily cut and lighter, may have a wider range of applications.


Dr. Andrea Fantuzzi, Ph.D., Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College, believes that cyanobacterial ink wallpaper may also be used in healthcare.


“This wallpaper, based on bio-optoelectronics technology and incorporating printed electronics and bio-sensor technology, opened the era of paper sensors that monitor health indicators that can easily measure blood glucose levels in diabetics. Paper sensors make it easy for patients to Use is cost-effective and may open up new paths for developing countries under the pressure of limited medical budgets and resources."


The future of blue-green algae ink "wallpaper" looks very promising. However, it still faces some restrictions - this "wallpaper" has a short life span, low power output, and high R&D costs, which can hardly be extended to industrial production levels.