Ultra-thin, flexible screen-printed batteries could power disposable medical devices. (Credit: USNW-University of Queensland)

Ultra-thin, flexible screen-printed batteries for cheap portable devices and intermittent renewable energy are closer to reality. The solid-state batteries are a thin, flexible format—printed in a roll-to-roll process—that can be adapted to almost any shape. Potential applications include disposable medical devices, wearable electronics, and more.

Researchers say the technology also has immediate applications in wearables and small-scale devices. The researchers are working to advance technology developed by battery energy storage firm Printed. First applications of the technology will be in small-scale devices, with development work in large-scale uses to be explored by the partners over the next three years, relying on Printed Energy’s proprietary designs.

According to Printed Energy, the key compounds are commonly available metals such as zinc and manganese oxides and inorganic matrix structures mixed with polymers and electrolytes. Most importantly, they are all non-toxic and very low flammability.