By: Miranda Cozza
Bio-Batteries and Bio-Fuel Cells:
Leveraging on Electronic Charge
By: A. M. Kannan, V. Renugopalakrishnan, S.
Filipek, P. Li, G. F. Audette, and L. Munukutla
Nanotechnology is a branch of physical
science which deals with the study and analysis of
matter on an atomic or molecular scale to yield new
structures, devices, materials, systems and catalysts
with unique and extraordinary properties.
This technology can provide us quicker, faster and more
reliable methods to optimize the energy generation
from the biological sources.
Products based on nanotechnology that are available
today have an extremely diverse background, ranging
from industrial measuring and sensing devices, therapeutic
systems and consumer friendly goods such as wrinkles
resistant clothes, tubeless tires and so on.
Introduction: Bio-Fuel Cells
Energy- conversion device based on bio-electrocatalysis
leveraging on enzymes or microorganisms.
Either through Direct Electron transfer- where
electron transfer is directly between enzymes and
Or Mediated electron transfer- in which electron
shuttle mediators shuttle the electron between
enzymes and electrodyes
DET is more desirable
We are going to be using miniature cells to derive power
from biological macromolecules
Bio-fuel Cell Continued and
Galvani discovered that biological pathways have a
This is because an electron signal can induce biological
reaction; and the same goes in the reverse.
First microbial biofuel demonstrated in 1912
But first enzyme-based bio-fuel cell only reported in
1964 using glucose oxidase – anodic catalyst and
glucose as bio fuel
Bio Battery – generates electricity from carbohydrates by
using enzymes as the catalysts
Glucose → Gluconolactone+2H+2e−
O2 +4H+4e− → 2H2O
Previous Attempts of Bio-fuel Cells
Several potential applications of BFCs have been reported
However, there are no Bio fuel design templates that
allow for the production of a working device with a size
on the order of 1 cc
due to the difﬁculty for enzymes to attain direct
electrical contact with the electrodes of the cell and
catalyze reactions effectively
Two large obstacles with bio-fuel cell
Increasing power density
And increasing enzyme stability
Technical Challenges of BioFuel Cells
1. Nanostructured bioelectrocatalysis.
2. Immobilization of bioelectrocatalysts.
3. Protein denaturation induced by CNT
Bio fuel cells need catalyst
virus-based lithium-ion biobatteries.
There is an increasing need for smaller and more
ﬂexible Li ion batteries methods to assemble battery
materials in various applications.
However, realizing smaller and ﬂexible battery
systems need monodisperse, homogeneous
nanomaterials and hierarchical organization
on CNTs (Carbon Nanotubes)
In order to promote DET of the protein and to improve
the stability, it is necessary that the protein is immobilized in
the form of clusters.
Recent study that CEC-Gox did not manifest in activity
after 250 days
This is due to the CNTS
Carbon nanotubes have potential to allow new 3dimensional CNT- Gox anode structures
From the researcher laboratories of this article they found
that the CNT – lead to denaturation of proteins
Most of bio-molecular electronic or protein
based devices hinge on ECT (Electron
Protein bearing transition metals such as
Cu2+ and Fe 2+ play leading roles in
Flavoproteins- used in electron charge
Oxidoreductases- main Glucose Oxidase
Glucose Oxidase (Gox)
Article focused on Gox as a test
case for covalent attachment to
Discovered- covalent attachment
of Gox to SWCNT(single – walled
carbon nanotubes) enhances the
efficient transfer of electrons
By engineering a approach that
signiﬁcantly simpliﬁes the process of bio
fuel cells; done by
there is no need for thin ﬁlm
depositions or any other surface
there is no preference for the
semiconductor or metal used
and is easily adaptable to
Critique/ Future work
This article was very interesting but they did not really
show what kind of experimentation went on to
discover their findings. They just explained more
about things that were known or needed a solution
The one thing that bothered me is that they talked
about how crosslinking with CNTs could cause
denaturation, but never explained how or proposed
a solution. This could be future work.
At the end it talks about the packaging of bio-fuel
cells and how there are many challenges to
incorporate nanotechnology into the fuel cell and
mass produce it. This could also be future work.
• Kannan, A. M., et al. "Bio-Batteries and Bio-Fuel Cells:
Leveraging on Electronic Charge Transfer Proteins."
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (2008): 1-13.
• F.Davis and S.P.J.Higson, Biosens. Bioelectron. 22, 1224
• . M.C.Potter, Proceedings of the Royal Society B,
Biological Sciences 84, 260 (1912).
• A.T.Yahiro, S.M.Lee, and D.O.Kimble, Bioelectrochemistry:
Enzyme utilizing bio-fuel cell studies, Biochimica et
Biophysica Acta (BBA)—Specialized Section on Biophysical
Subjects 88, 37
• A.Heller, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 6, 209 (2004) and
Questions and Answers!