Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Biobatteries catch breath

New air-breathing cathode for miniaturised biofuel cells, developed by a team of researchers from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. The cathode consumes oxygen from air. Pictured above: Adrianna Złoczewska, a PhD student at the IPC PAS. Source: IPC PAS, Grzegorz Krzyżewski
New air-breathing cathode for miniaturised biofuel cells, developed by a team of researchers from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. The cathode consumes oxygen from air. Pictured above: Adrianna Złoczewska, a PhD student at the IPC PAS.

Source: IPC PAS, Grzegorz Krzyżewski

Abstract:
An air-breathing bio-battery has been constructed by researchers from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. The core element providing the new power source with relatively high voltage and long lifetime is a carefully designed cathode taking up oxygen from air and composed of an enzyme, carbon nanotubes and silicate.

Biobatteries catch breath

Warsaw, Poland | Posted on March 7th, 2013

People are increasingly taking advantage of devices supporting various functions of our bodies. Today they include cardiac pacemakers or hearing aids; tomorrow it will be contact lenses with automatically changing focal length or computer-controlled displays generating images directly in the eye. None of these devices will work if not coupled to an efficient and long-lasting power supply source. The best solution seems to be miniaturised biofuel cells consuming substances naturally occurring in human body or in its direct surrounding.

Researchers from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) in Warsaw developed an efficient electrode for the use in construction of biofuel cells or zinc-oxygen biobatteries. After installation in a cell, the new biocathode generates a voltage, during many hours, that is higher than that obtained in existing power sources of similar design. The most interesting is that the device is air-breathing: it works at full efficiency when it can take oxygen directly from the air.

Common batteries and rechargeable batteries are unsuitable to power implants inside the human body as they use strong bases or acids. These agents can on no account get into the body. The battery housing must be therefore absolutely tight. But in line with reducing the battery size, it must be better isolated. In extreme cases, the weight of the housing of a common, miniaturised battery would be even a few dozen times greater than the weight of the battery's active components that generate electricity. And here biofuel cells offer an essential advantage: they do not require housing. To get electricity, it is enough to insert the electrodes into the body.

"One of the most popular experiments in electrochemistry is to make a battery by sticking appropriately selected electrodes into a potato. We are doing something similar, the difference is that we are focusing on biofuel cells and the improvement of the cathode. And, of course, to have the whole project working, we'd rather replace the potato with... a human being", says Dr Martin J÷nsson-Niedziˇłka (IPC PAS).

In the experiments, Dr J÷nsson-Niedziˇłka's group uses zinc-oxygen batteries. The principle of their operation is not new. The batteries constructed in this way had been popular before the time of alkaline power sources came. "At present, many laboratories work on glucose-oxygen biofuel cells. In the best case they generate a voltage of 0.6-0.7 V. A zinc-oxygen biobattery with our cathode is able to generate 1.75 V for many hours.", says Adrianna Złoczewska, a PhD student at the IPC PAS, whose research has been supported under the International PhD Projects Programme of the Foundation for Polish Science.

The main component of the biocathode developed at the IPC PAS is an enzyme surrounded by carbon nanotubes and encapsulated in a porous structure - a silicate matrix deposited on an oxygen permeable membrane. "Our group had been working for many years on techniques that were necessary to construct the cathode using enzymes, carbon nanotubes and silicate matrices", stresses Prof. Marcin Opałło (IPC PAS).

An electrode so constructed is installed in a wall of a small container. To have the biofuel cell working, it is enough to pour an electrolyte (here: a solution containing hydrogen ions) and insert the zinc electrode in the electrolyte. The pores in the silicate matrix enable oxygen supply from the air and H+ ions from the solution to active centres of the enzyme, where oxygen reduction takes place. Carbon nanotubes facilitate transport of electrons from the surface of the semipermeable membrane.

A cell with the new biocathode is able to supply power with a voltage of 1.6 V, for a minimum one and a half of a week. The cell efficiency decreases with time, likely because of gradual deactivation of the enzyme on the biocathode. "Here not everything is dependent on us, but on the progress in biotechnology. The lifetime of a biofuel cells with our biocathode could be significantly prolonged, if the enzyme regeneration processes are successfully developed", says Dr J÷nsson-Niedziˇłka.

In the experiments carried out so far, a stack of four batteries connected in series successfully powered a lamp composed of two LEDs. Before, however, the biofuel cells based on the design developed at the IPC PAS get popularised, the researchers must solve the problem of relatively low electric power that is common to all types of biofuel cells.

The research presented here is important not only in view of the miniaturisation of power supply sources for medical implants, biosensors or light-emitting tattoos. The processes responsible for electricity generation in biofuel cells are potentially suitable for use in electric power generation in a larger scale. The limiting factors here are the properties of the enzymes, so that further advancement in this area is essentially dependent on the development of the biotechnology.

####

About Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences
The Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (http://www.ichf.edu.pl/) was established in 1955 as one of the first chemical institutes of the PAS. The Institute's scientific profile is strongly related to the newest global trends in the development of physical chemistry and chemical physics. Scientific research is conducted in nine scientific departments. CHEMIPAN R&D Laboratories, operating as part of the Institute, implement, produce and commercialise specialist chemicals to be used, in particular, in agriculture and pharmaceutical industry. The Institute publishes approximately 200 original research papers annually.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Prof. Marcin Opałło
Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences
tel. +48 22 3433375


Dr Martin J÷nsson-Niedziˇłka
Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences
tel. +48 22 3433306

Copyright © AlphaGalileo

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Using ultrathin sheets to discover new class of wrapped shapes: UMass Amherst materials researchers describe a new regime of wrapped shapes August 31st, 2015

New material science research may advance tech tools August 31st, 2015

Efficiency of Nanodrug Containing Antibiotics in Treatment of Infectious Diseases Evaluated August 31st, 2015

Researchers use DNA 'clews' to shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells August 30th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets August 31st, 2015

New material science research may advance tech tools August 31st, 2015

Seeing quantum motion August 30th, 2015

Artificial leaf harnesses sunlight for efficient fuel production August 30th, 2015

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Developing Component Scale Composites Using Nanocarbons August 26th, 2015

Southampton scientists find new way to detect ortho-para conversion in water August 25th, 2015

Revolutionary MIT-Developed Nanotechnology Company Showcases at CAMX in Dallas August 20th, 2015

Engineering a better 'Do: Purdue researchers are learning how August 4th, 2015

Discoveries

Using ultrathin sheets to discover new class of wrapped shapes: UMass Amherst materials researchers describe a new regime of wrapped shapes August 31st, 2015

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets August 31st, 2015

New material science research may advance tech tools August 31st, 2015

Efficiency of Nanodrug Containing Antibiotics in Treatment of Infectious Diseases Evaluated August 31st, 2015

Announcements

Using ultrathin sheets to discover new class of wrapped shapes: UMass Amherst materials researchers describe a new regime of wrapped shapes August 31st, 2015

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets August 31st, 2015

New material science research may advance tech tools August 31st, 2015

Efficiency of Nanodrug Containing Antibiotics in Treatment of Infectious Diseases Evaluated August 31st, 2015

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Artificial leaf harnesses sunlight for efficient fuel production August 30th, 2015

CWRU researchers efficiently charge a lithium-ion battery with solar cell: Coupling with perovskite solar cell holds potential for cleaner cars and more August 27th, 2015

'Diamonds from the sky' approach turns CO2 into valuable products August 19th, 2015

Drexel engineers 'sandwich' atomic layers to make new materials for energy storage August 15th, 2015

Nanobiotechnology

Researchers use DNA 'clews' to shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells August 30th, 2015

Small but heading for the big time: Nanobiotix half year results for the six months ended 30 June 2015, in line with expectations: Major clinical achievements and corporate developments August 28th, 2015

Nanotechnology that will impact the Security & Defense sectors to be discussed at NanoSD2015 conference August 25th, 2015

Louisiana Tech University researchers discover synthesis of a new nanomaterial: Interdisciplinary team creates biocomposite for first time using physiological conditions August 24th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic