‘…Our bio-battery is made out of DNA, enzymes, lactate and water….so there’s a significant safety benefit.’
The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is working with Touchlight Genetics, the Office of Naval Research Global (ONRG) from the US Department of Defence, and the University of Utah on the development of bio-batteries, powered by DNA.
The batteries use naturally occurring products, such as lactate which when degraded, using enzymes, release electrons which are captured and can be used as power. The project, which began during 2017, is funded by Dstl and ONRG. UK-based Touchlight Genetics is carrying out work to produce the DNA at scale, while the University of Utah is working on the enzyme optimisation and cascade evolution.
Petra Oyston, Dstl’s Synthetic Biology Lead said that the driver for the research was the need to provide alternative energy sources to power batteries while protecting soldiers.
‘The current battery technology that our soldiers are using contains a lot of energy in chemical format, and if the battery gets shot, for example, it’s going to explode. Our bio-battery is made out of DNA, enzymes, lactate and water….so there’s a significant safety benefit.’
ONRG Chief Scientist Patrick Rose added: ‘For defence our warfighters continue to carry more and more electronics that require power, and that means carrying batteries. These [new] batteries might provide a solution, a greener solution to generating power.’