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Published on : Nov 19, 2018

Researchers have developed a biofuel cell that is powered by glucose and uses electrodes made from high-conductivity electrodes made from assembling gold nanoparticles on cotton. The cell has demonstrated power efficiency as high as double the power efficiency of conventional biofuel cells. Someday, the new biofuel cell could be combined with supercapacitors or batteries to develop a hybrid source of power for medical devices.

The use of cotton to assemble gold nanoparticles for creating the gold electrodes in the fuel cell allowed the researchers to overcome of the key challenges that had been limiting the performance of biofuel cells so far – finding a way of connecting the enzyme employed for oxidizing glucose with the electrode. The specific assembly technique used for fabricating the gold electrodes allowed for the power capacity to rise to 3.7 milliwatts per square centimeter.

With this power capacity, the device can be used as a continuous source of power for converting chemical energy from body glucose to electrical energy. The layer-by-layer material deposition method used in the fuel cell properly controls the deposition of the gold nanoparticle as well as the enzyme, significantly elevating the cell’s power density.

The porous nature of the cotton used in the cell allows a vast rise in the number of gold layers that can be deposited as compared to other fibers, raising the conductivity of the electrodes. Moreover, the cotton fiber also improved the biocompatibility of the resulting cell, which is designed to work well at low temperatures to be able to work efficiently in the body.