STRIVE 114: From Doughnuts to Energy: Miniature Enzyme driven Biofuel Cells

STRIVE 114 - Monika Żygowska, Vladimir Ogurtsov, Eric Moore, Grégoire Herzog

Summary: The aim of this EPA funded project was to develop cost effective microfluidic platforms for enzymatic biofuel cells.

Published: 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84095-514-9

Pages: 43

Filesize: 2,979KB

Format: pdf

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Key points & Findings
• Major advantages of these devices include pollutant-free emissions and the utilization of ambient compounds, e.g. glucose and oxygen, as fuel and oxidant respectively. Integration onto microfluidic platforms enables further system miniaturization and fuel efficiency. Although still in its infancy, the development of microfluidic biofuel cells is of utmost significance for the realisation of a new generation of biological cells.
• Devices fabricated in the course of this project have the potential to greatly improve the performance of already existing enzymatic biofuel cells.
• This project has achieved its goals and demonstrated how environmentally-friendly and efficient devices harnessing biochemical sources of energy may be developed in a miniaturized fashion, in a way that could be easily integrated with autonomous sensor modules.
• It has also extended the scientific knowledge on energy conversion in microfluidic devices and has created the basis for the development of innovative energy sources.
• This work is interdisciplinary in nature and includes: simulation study in order to optimise the device designs; fabrication of polymer based microfluidic platforms; surface modification of metal electrodes with enzyme catalysts and ultimately the assembly of the micro-fabricated platforms with biological entities to form an operational enzymatic biofuel cell.

Recommendations
• It is envisaged that the proposed technology will be able to provide energy to sensor platforms deployed in the environment. The undertaken research offers great prospects for the development of miniaturized energy sources that can be used to power autonomous sensor modules de-localised within the environment for monitoring purposes.
• Carefully designed and fabricated microfluidic devices are now possible which can lead to improvements in the quantity of energy converted which goes beyond the current state of the art.

For Further Information
Contact Dr Eric Moore ; Department of Chemistry and Life Science Interface Group Tyndall National Institute University College Cork : email: eric.moore@tyndall.ie