Organic Batteries to Power IoT using Electricity from Paper and Enzymes – with BeFC’s Marie Berthuel and Jules Hammond

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Hosted by
Ron Kamen

Ron Kamen has decades of expertise & leadership in catalyzing exponential change in sustainable energy adoption with communities, governments, non-profits, and businesses.

Quantum Quote: 

“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” –Jules Hammond 

“To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail.” –Michael Jordan

Batteries may be just shrugged off as something small – but did you know that 15 billion batteries end up in landfill or are incinerated every year?

The power of science and technology is now creating a change in how we produce batteries – using only paper and enzymes.

Today’s podcast explains this new sustainable energy solution and how it will pave the way for a cleaner and brighter future, with a reduction in toxic waste – one sustainable battery at a time.

Marie Berthuel is a doctor in electrochemistry. She is the Product Manager and Co-Founder of BeFC. 

Jules Hammond has a Ph.D. in electronics and has had two previous startups in the United Kingdom. After he returned to his birth city of Grenoble in the Alps, he Co-Founded and is the CEO of BeFC.

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SuperNova #1. BeFC technology uses paper & enzymes to produce a few milliwatts of electricity per square centimeter and power a microcontroller that can energize sensors. Then it can even send the data wirelessly.

SuperNova #2.  Every year, around 15 billion primary batteries – 97% of miniature batteries –  end up either in landfills or are burned in incinerators. These miniature batteries are intrinsically complicated, expensive and unecological to first collect, then process, then recycle. It takes large amounts of time, effort, and money to recover value from these miniature batteries, which is why they end up polluting our planet.

SuperNova #3. The BeFC solution is more than 96% recyclable, and it’s what we call “disposable.” Further down the line, all BeFC products will be totally recyclable and degradable. The in-house studies have proven compostability, biodegradability in liquid, as well as, in solution, and non-fetal toxicity.

SuperNova #4. Most batteries store energy using reactive metals. Often these metals can be quite exotic, including cobalt in lithium batteries. BeFC’s technology is based on enzymes that are industrialized now at the multi-ton scale in large, three-story fermenters. It means costs are decreasing and, because they’re bio-source materials, the costs will continue to go down. 

SuperNova #5. Using multiple enzymes to strip or remove electrons from the glucose molecule can achieve higher energy densities. In 20 to 40 years time, there’s a huge opportunity to extract all of the energy from the glucose molecule and fully oxidize it. At that point, organic batteries can power cell phones and other devices.


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