Goodbye, batteries?! Paint-like coating could replace batteries in the future

Researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden have developed an innovative material capable of replacing batteries in wearable devices and low-power appliances in the Internet of Things (IoT). It is a coating in the form of paint that converts the heat generated by equipment into electrical energy.

According to scientists, the thermoelectric coating works on devices that generate a temperature below 100 °C, and can be applied to the surface of practically any type of material capable of conducting electricity and dissipating excess heat.


When the end of a thermoelectric material is heated, the charge carriers move away from the hottest point towards the coldest point, resulting in an electric current. The challenge is to manage conductivity and thermal resistance without losing performance over time, according to information from Canaltech.

However, researchers have developed hybrid thermoelectric materials that operate at room temperature, integrating solid-state semiconductor elements with flexible substances, such as the polymers used in the manufacture of paints. This is what materials chemistry professor Muhammet Toprak, lead author of the study, explains:

This polymeric composition means that the paint-like coating can be applied to any solid or malleable surface that dissipates heat, generating the electricity needed to run wearable equipment that would no longer rely on lithium-ion batteries. […] Thermoelectricity is the direct conversion of heat into electrical energy. You can capture the heat that a device generates and turn it into electricity for use by the same device or other external electronic equipment.

End of batteries?!

Thermoelectric materials can bring a greater benefit to the capture of thermal energy if they can be applied over large areas without loss of performance after several charge and discharge cycles, as is currently the case with devices powered by conventional batteries.

The researchers believe such technology could generate more efficient heating systems and a complementary means of transitioning to ecologically sustainable electricity.

In the short term, hybrid ink-based coatings can have a direct impact on the development and large-scale production of IoT equipment or wearable devices that need little electricity to function.

What did you think of this news? Would you like this new technology to be implemented widely in the future? Tell your opinion in the comments!

Leave a Comment