Nokia Bio-Battery Concept Could Keep Your Cell Phone Juiced, Literally

While various beverages claiming to give jet setters an energy boost have come and gone, a visionary collaboration between Nokia and Chinese designer Daizi Zheng promises to be the real deal for mobile devices. Their new green phone concept could revolutionize the tech world by generating energy for cell phones from ordinary soft drinks. In fact, the whole process is reminiscent of Doc Brown's Mr. Fusion contraption in Back to the Future.

“The biggest problem in the phone industry is the battery,” said Zheng. “I was trying to find alternatives when I came across the bio-battery idea.” While lithium ion cell phone batteries can be expensive, harmful to the environment, and difficult to recycle, Zheng’s concept battery is much more ecologically friendly. The energy supply comes from using enzymes as a catalyst to generate electricity from simple sugars.

The phone would require only a small supply (about 30 milliliters) of a given soft drink, such as Coke or Pepsi, to run all day. “I was inspired by natural ingredients—such as sugar and water—that could generate electricity,” Zheng said. These 100-percent biodegradable batteries can last for several hours of talk time, and up to a full week in standby mode. Zheng claims that the potential life span of these soda-charged cells is three to four times longer than their lithium counterparts. Once the power supply is exhausted, the main by-products are oxygen and water; simply add a few more shots of soda and you’re good to go.

Bio-batteries aren’t just for phones; Zheng envisions this technology finding its way into a range of small electronic devices, such as MP3 players and mobile Internet devices. But don't stock up on Dr. Pepper just yet: the technology could take three to five years to come to market.