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Paper Battery Developer Gets Funding

The SoftBattery is intended for use as a power source in disposable gear, including cosmetics, greeting cards, sensors, smart cards, and electronic paper.

LONDON — Enfucell Ltd., a startup founded in June 2002 as a spin-off from the Automation Laboratory of Helsinki University of Technology, has gathered 600,000 euros (about $715,000) in funding for the research, development and commercialization of thin flexible paper battery technology.

Building on ten years experience developing miniature power sources Enfucell scientists have invented a battery with a printable layer structure and which uses paper containing the electrolyte as the separator between anode and cathode.

Replicon Corporate Finance Ltd. (Helsinki, Finland) has acted as an advisor to Enfucell (Espoo, Finland) with a target of raising a “major financial package” to allow the company to strike out for global sales for its “SoftBattery” in one to two years, Replicon said.

The SoftBattery is intended for use as a power source in disposable microelectronic equipment such as cosmetics, greetings cards, sensors, smart cards, LEDs on paper, electronic paper, bistable non-volatile displays, and active RFID tags. These applications usually require up to 1 milliwatt of power and are suited to Enfucell’s technology, which is based on traditional paper printing.

Enfucell claims the printable battery has a number of advantages over button cell batteries including: low-cost, environmentally friendly, disposable with household waste, flexible in size and shape and easy integration with applications.

The paper battery converts chemical energy directly into electricity. Metal is oxidized at one side of paper and manganese oxide, or other oxides, is reduced on the reverse of the paper when the battery is connected, the company said at its Web site. The metal can be zinc, aluminum, nickel and so on and the paper contains the electrolyte.

The battery provides around 1.5 volts if metal zinc and manganese oxide are used and the supply is stable over a wide temperature and humidity range, Enfucell claimed. The different voltage requirements of various applications can be realized by using multiple batteries in series, using different chemical materials or applying fuel cell technology, the company added.

Jaakko Happonen is listed as the company’s chief executive officer and Xia-Chang Zhang is listed as the chief technology officer.

(Currency conversion at 1 euro = $1.1961)

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