Navigation Links
Creating energy from light and air - new research on biofuel cells
Date:5/8/2012

The aim of the research long-term is to develop more efficient biofuel cells, seen as the future of electronics. Because biofuel cells are powered by readily available biological materials, they have the potential to be used indefinitely when electricity is required at places where is it not possible to replace a battery or recharge them.

Most biofuel cells create electricity using enzymes that process glucose, but the Leeds research will focus on bacterial enzymes that can harness light or hydrogen gas to create energy. The work is funded by a 1.42m grant from the European Research Council.

Lead researcher, Dr Lars Jeuken, from the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences, says: "Technology that creates an electrical signal from a biochemical reaction is already in commercial use, for example in blood glucose biosensors. However, developing an efficient biofuel cell that can create sufficient electricity for general use has proved much more difficult. This is mainly because the systems developed to date have only limited control of how inorganic materials and biological molecules interact.

"Our research combines state of-the-art surface physics, colloid and organic chemistry, membrane biology and electrochemistry to develop electrodes with complete control of the biochemical interactions needed to create electricity. We now want to apply this to membrane proteins to generate energy from light and hydrogen."

In their simplest form, biofuel cells have two electrodes, one which removes electrons from a fuel for instance glucose or hydrogen whilst the other donates electrons to molecules of oxygen, making water. When these are connected by a wire, they form a circuit, resulting in an electrical current.

Dr Jeuken and his team have extensive experience in making electrodes that directly interact with enzymes located in the membranes that surround cells. This new project will begin by applying this technique to two specific groups of enzymes, one which harnesses light and the other, hydrogen. These are found in membranes of chloroplast the parts of cells which conduct photosynthesis or bacterial cells, both of which have promising applications in biofuel cells. The final part of the project will aim to connect electrodes to the membranes of living bacterial cells.

"Not only will this help scientists understand the role of different enzymes in making energy, but how best to capture and use this energy in electrical applications," says Dr Jeuken.

Dr Jeuken's research will also contribute to a new Interdisciplinary Centre for Microbial Fuel Cells (ICMFC), set up jointly between the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. The Centre will bring together chemists from York, biophysicists such as Dr Jeuken from Leeds and engineers from Sheffield, to work together on improving the performance of microbial fuel cells, using a combination of synthetic biology and nanoengineering.


'/>"/>
Contact: Jo Kelly
jo@campuspr.co.uk
44-113-357-2103
University of Leeds
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Ultrasound idea: Prototype NIST/CU bioreactor evaluates engineered tissue while creating it
2. 15-year study: When it comes to creating wetlands, Mother Nature is in charge
3. Cutting-edge science creating solutions for African agriculture
4. Researchers develop new method for creating tissue engineering scaffolds
5. On the road to creating an affordable master instrument
6. Creating an electronic nose to sniff out tuberculosis from a patients breath
7. Studies detail triumphs, troubles of African innovators creating products for local health needs
8. Rare disease reveals new path for creating stem cells
9. Scripps Research scientists break barrier to creating potential therapeutic molecules
10. Creating new healthy ingredients by innovative milling techniques and processes for cereal grains
11. Creating a dream breed
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016 On Monday, the Department ... industry to share solutions for the Biometric Exit Program. ... and Border Protection (CBP), explains that CBP intends to ... the United States , in order ... defeat imposters. Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382209LOGO ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... -- Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction ... to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... YORK , June 2, 2016   The Weather ... is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which consumers ... by being able to ask questions via voice or text ... Marketers have long sought ... the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is ... has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI approval ... Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate methods ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... YORK , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign ... to envision new ways to harness living systems and ... Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City ... than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste ... Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announced the launch of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, ... explore the future of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case ... Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer ... could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer ...
Breaking Biology Technology: