Paper-Based, Multi-Fueled Enzymatic Fuel Cell with Passive Microfluidic Flow

Award Information
Department of Defense
Award Year:
Phase I
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Small Business Information
CFD Research Corporation
215 Wynn Dr., 5th Floor, Huntsville, AL, -
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Jenny Ulyanova
Senior Research Scientist
(256) 327-9481
Business Contact:
Deborah Phipps
Contracts Manager
(256) 726-4884
Research Institution:

ABSTRACT: Our objective is to develop an enzyme catalyzed fuel cell to enable electrochemical power generation from several fuel types (i.e. sugars and alcohols), thereby delivering a state-of-the-art energy source for low power military and commercial systems. The proposed enzymatic fuel cell (EFC) will leverage ongoing research at both CFDRC and the University of New Mexico to provide a fully-integrated manufacturable and renewable power supply. In Phase I, we will demonstrate multiple enzyme electrodes capable of oxidizing sugars and alcohols simultaneously from one fuel mixture, as well as a multiple enzyme cascade for 2-step oxidation of ethanol. We will employ low-cost and flexible, paper-based passive fuel flow-through system for continual fuel delivery to EFC. Additionally, we will design, fabricate and test all components of the EFC system for maximal power density, In Phase II, we will further develop multi-enzymatic cascade design for complete oxidation of various fuels with stable and reproducible operation. The fully-integrated prototype will be capable of providing a proof-of-concept demonstration as a portable military low-power source in the intended unattended ground sensor (UGS) application. A multi-disciplinary team with proven expertise in electrochemical power sources, biomicrosystems, bioelectrochemistry, and system design has been assembled to accomplish these goals. BENEFIT: The major outcome of this project will be a completely enzymatic fuel cell coupled with a paper-based microfluidic flow-through system capable of utilizing a mixture of different fuels (ex. sugars and alcohols) to continuously generate power. The ability to use multiple fuel sources will significantly increase the applicability of the device. Additionally, high power density offered by the device will allow for recharge capabilities for various devices and may be appropriate for a wide range of military applications for remote monitoring, sensing, and surveillance. The fully integrated system will meet a critical need in many small, mobile military systems, which are typically limited by batteries, and their inconvenient replacement/recharge requirements. The high power EFC solution proposed here eliminates these limitations by taking advantage of readily available fuels, such as sugar sources, of more than ten times higher energy density in biocatalytic oxidation. Immediate military applications for the Phase I device include recharging of commercially available batteries and various low power-based devices, UGSs, and wireless surveillance networks. Additionally with some adaptation, the device could be suitable for the use in microbots and other higher-power demand devices. The Phase II program will be focused on development of a cascade-based enzymatic anode for complete oxidation of one fuel type. Additionally, this phase will be tailored to incorporate the requirements of lightweight, low-cost, and manufacturable needed to make commercialization possible.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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