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

Award Information
Department of Defense
Solitcitation Year:
Solicitation Number:
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Small Business Information
CFD Research Corporation
215 Wynn Dr., 5th Floor, Huntsville, AL, 35805
Hubzone Owned:
Woman Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Principal Investigator
 Jenny Ulyanova
 Senior Research Scientist
 (256) 327-9481
Business Contact
 Deborah Phipps
Title: Contracts Manager
Phone: (256) 726-4884
Research Institution
ABSTRACT: Our objective is to develop a bioelectrochemical system to enable 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 have demonstrated multiple enzyme electrodes capable of oxidizing sugars and alcohols simultaneously, as well as a multiple enzyme cascade for 2-step oxidation of ethanol. We have employed low-cost and flexible, paper-based passive fuel flow-through system for continual fuel delivery to the EFC. In Phase II, we will further develop multi-enzymatic cascade design for deeper oxidation of various fuels with stable and reproducible operation. Additionally, we will design, fabricate and test all components of the bioelectrochemical system for maximal power density. The fully-integrated prototype will be capable of providing a proof-of-concept demonstration as a portable military low-power source in an application approved by AFRL. 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 bioelectrochemical system with a paper-based microfluidic flow-through system capable of utilizing single fuel type and/or 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, which have ten times higher energy density than traditional battery materials. The paper-based platform will not only allow for thin, flexible and form-fitting design, but also provide a passive flow-through fuel delivery system for continual energy generation. Immediate military applications for the Phase II device include recharging of commercially available batteries and powering various low power devices such as 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 project will be tailored to incorporate the requirements of lightweight, low-cost, and manufacturability needed to make commercialization possible.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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