Cellulose electronics[" "1] entails mixing electrically active material with cellulose, a very effective structural material derived, for example, from the forest. Through integrating new functions in the cellulose it is possible to achieve a high level of functionality at a low weight. Above all it involves exploiting the properties in nanocellulose, i.e. cellulose fibres which are finely divided to micro- or nanometre size.
An interesting area for cellulose electronics is printed electronics. This is the field for the new interdisciplinary research project, MODULIT, which will lead to a new type of cost-effective energy storage unit. Additional energy for emergency exit signs, support for electric cars or as a support function in the electricity grid are just a few examples of areas where the researchers are focusing. Hjalmar Granberg, a materials researcher at Innventia who works with cellulose electronics explains:
“The grid distributes electricity continuously, however, there are few or no stations which store energy and distribute it optimally when it is most needed. This makes energy production highly inefficient. The storage systems that exist today are both expensive and complicated to manufacture. Our vision is that the entire storage module should be linked up in a printing press, including energy storage unit and balancing circuits. This would mean that we would have everything on a roll, including the balancing circuits that are needed in order to avoid overloading and the module breaking down. Having everything on a roll would mean that we would not need to have all the cables, saving a lot of work in assembling the energy storage module”.
MODULIT is a collaboration between Acreo Swedish ICT (project management), KTH, Linköping University, Mid Sweden University, Innventia and SICS East Swedish ICT. The project will run for four years with a budget of SEK 16 million funded by the Swedish Energy Agency.