October 6, 2008
Sugar powers bio battery
Stick sugar-busting enzymes on a fuel-cell
electrode in a way that keeps the enzymes working and you have a simple
battery-like biofuel power source.
A prototype biofuel cell produces electricity through the
chemical reaction of enzymes breaking down glucose, a sustainable
fuel. The electrostatic interaction between oppositely charged polymers
holds the enzymes to a porous carbon-fiber electrode without inhibiting
The biofuel cell weighs about 40 grams, which is about the
weight of a pair of alkaline AA batteries. It produces more than 100
milliwatts of power, which is an 8th the power of a pair of AA batteries.
The biofuel cell is small in part because it's passive, meaning it
doesn't have to mix or flow the glucose or air. The 100 milliwatt
output is the highest reported for a passive biofuel cell, according
to the researchers.
Four of the prototype cells powered a radio-controlled car
in a demonstration.
High-power Glucose/Oxygen Biofuel Cell Operating under Quiescent Conditions
Energy & Environmental Science, published online September
Materials Laboratories, Sony Corporation
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October 6/13, 2008
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