Printable batteries cost just pennies

Thin, small, light, cheap and flexible: printable batteries are coming soon

Get ready for a future where just about everything is electric.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nano Systems have developed batteries that are cheap, super-slim and flexible.

The new zinc-manganese batteries weigh less one gram, are less than one millimetre thick, meaning they can fit into something as small as a credit card.

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Powered bank cards could incorporate super-strong encryption or even miniature displays to show your balance at the touch of a button.

The batteries are printed using a silk-screen printing method similar to that used for t-shirts, laying down layers of anodes and cathodes that are about as thin as a human hair.

The process is cheap enough that batteries should cost around 5 pence to make and the researchers have already produced the batteries on a laboratory scale.

However, because the electrodes gradually dissipate while generating power, the printable batteries currently have a limited lifetime. The scientists hope to have commercially viable batteries ready by the end of the year.