US researchers have developed a paint that can store and deliver electrical power which could shake up the lithium-ion battery market.
Lithium-ion batteries are compact but limited to rectangular or cylindrical blocks. However Researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas, have broken down each element of the traditional battery and incorporate it into a liquid that can be spray-painted in layers on most surfaces.
Pulickel Ajayan, who leads the team on the project told the journal Nature Scientific Reports that it means that traditional packaging for batteries can give way to a much more flexible approach.
The rechargeable battery is made from spray-painted layers. There are two current collectors, a cathode, an anode and a polymer separator in the middle.
The paint layers could be airbrushed onto practically anything including a ceramic mug which could give you a bit of a shock if you make your coffee in it.
So far the researches say that the only limitation of the technology is in the use of difficult-to-handle liquid electrolytes and the need for a dry and oxygen-free environment when making the new gear.
Neelam Singh, who worked on the project, thinks it can be integrated with solar cells to give any surface a stand-alone energy capture and storage capability.
The researchers used nine bathroom tiles coated with the paint and connected to each other. When they were charged, the batteries powered a set of light-emitting diodes for six hours, providing a steady 2.4 volts.