Biobattery / Biogenerator for In-Vivo Application

Award Information
Department of Energy
Award Year:
Phase I
Award Id:
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
696 Amity Road, Route 63, Bethany, CT, 06524
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Simon Levinson
(303) 724-1544
Business Contact:
Joseph Bango
(203) 393-9666
Research Institution:
University of Colorado
Jennifer E Silverthorne
P.O. Box 6508
Aurora, CO, 80045

Nonprofit college or university
A growing number of electronic devices are being implanted in patients to treat a wide range of maladies. While these devices are becoming increasingly sophisticated and complex, they are powered by conventional chemical batteries with limited operating life and power output. These conventional batteries are essentially self-contained electrochemical reactors, and the total power they can produce is limited by the amount of reactants contained within them. When incorporated in implanted biomedical devices, such as cardiac pacemakers, the life of these batteries is limited to a few years. Replacement requires the surgical removal of the spent battery, often along with the entire device that it services. To address the expense and risk of replacing conventional implanted power sources, a number of groups are engaged in the development of so-called biobatteries, which would be implantable in the host and use host metabolites as chemical fuel. These devices are actually fuel cells, in which either live bacteria or immobilized enzymes convert biological substrates (e.g., glucose) to electrical energy in redox reactions. While progress has been made in demonstrating adequate power output from these devices, the issue of battery life remains a major problem. This project will develop technology for producing electric power by mimicking ion-transporting tissues that are present in nature. This biogenerator would be comprised of living, cultured, electricity-generating cells and would utilize chemical metabolites produced by the host to generate electrical power in the same manner as muscle cells and neurons, offering the potential of an inexhaustible power source. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: Commercial applications would include pacemakers, cochlear implants, insulin pumps, vagal nerve stimulators, artificial retinas and cochleas, and many other implantable biomedical devices now under development. The potential market is quite large and is forecast to grow steadily as the US population ages.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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