June 29, 2009

Dye drives glucose fuel cell

Coat a piece of carbon felt with the right dye and you have a cheap way to make electricity from glucose.

Researchers have been working on fuel cells that run on glucose because the fuel can be extracted from biomass. The trick is finding the right catalyst to oxidize the glucose, and previous efforts have focused on precious metals, microbes and enzymes.

The carbon-dye device uses a chemical dye that oxidizes glucose, which could lead to economically viable glucose fuel cells. The prototype cell produces 2.5 milliwatts of electricity per square centimeter of electrode surface.

Glucose fuel cells in general produce small amounts of electricity, but they could be used to power small devices.

Research paper:
Harnessing electric power from monosaccharides—a carbohydrate–air alkaline fuel cell mediated by redox dyes
Energy & Environmental Science, published online June 19, 2009

Researchers' contact:
Bor Yann Liaw

Related stories and briefs:
Sugar powers bio battery -- related research
Blood powers implantable fuel cell -- related research

Back to ERN June 29, 2009



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