Unique collaboration takes important steps towards commercial battery made of paper

BillerudKorsnäs is working with Uppsala University to make energy storage in packaging materials and paper a reality.

BillerudKorsnäs and researchers at Uppsala University have together taken an important step towards the future’s paper batteries. Together they have taken basic research based on pure cellulose from algae and developed it to work with the same type of fibre that BillerudKorsnäs usually uses to manufacture paper and packaging. By extension, this development opens up the possibility of eco-friendly batteries, with the long-term goal being large-scale production at a low price.

Shoko Yamada (specialist functional surfaces at BillerudKorsnäs), Lars Sandberg (project manager innovation at BillerudKorsnäs) and Petter Tammela (scholarship holder at the Department of Engineering, Nanotechnology and Functional Materials at Ångström Laboratory at Uppsala University) measures the potential and charge of the paper battery

“It’s not unusual for researchers to present new, eco-friendly technology. What’s special in this case is the model for collaboration between BillerudKorsnäs and Uppsala University that has resulted in technology adapted to large-scale production processes,” says Lars Sandberg, project manager for innovation at BillerudKorsnäs.

It is a special collaboration in which one of Sweden’s leading research teams under Maria Strömme is collaborating with BillerudKorsnäs, as an innovative company within sustainable packaging technology, in an exciting way in order to come up with the sustainable packaging solutions of the future.

Petter Tammela from Ångström Laboratory and Shoko Yamada from BillerudKorsnäs study the material that becomes the paper battery.

“We’re combining the deep theoretical expertise of the researchers with our understanding of innovation and production technology. By successfully creating a joint platform and having fantastic people on our team, we can focus our work on the future, on creating an advanced product that can still be produced in an effective way,” says Lars Sandberg.

Smart, connected packaging

Testing of the material

Small paper batteries with sensors can in the future allow packaging to be traced through the entire transport chain. This opens up possibilities for developing packaging that is both smart and more sustainable. Smart packaging could, for example, measure temperature and position, or provide information on what is happening with an item during transport. This means packaging solutions that are even more effective in terms of ensuring that products maintain their quality during the logistics chain, which is key from a sustainability perspective.

Testing the paper battery potential and charge

Energy storage in paper instead of metal enables production of bio-based batteries that can be included in circular systems. With electrodes based on cellulose from wood fibre, the ambition is that in the future, it will be possible to recycle batteries along with their boxes and make them into new boxes or paper batteries, which would provide huge sustainability benefits.