A new study suggests that glucose-powered biofuel cells could help power implantable medical devices. This research was carried out by researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology in collaboration with Korea University. Pacemakers and other sensor components are prime examples of such implantable devices that can be powered with cotton fibers.
More Details About the New Biofuel Powered Medical Implants
Researchers from the institutions made use of electrodes derived from cotton fibers biofuel. They achieved this by assembling gold nanoparticles on the cotton to facilitate high conductivity. This notably improved the fuel cell’s efficiency. The researchers were able to efficiently connect the enzymes used to oxidize glucose with an electrode.
To enable production of gold electrodes, the researchers made use of a layer-by-layer assembly methodology. This methodology was employed in order to boost power capacity to about 3.7 milliwatts per square centimeter. This power was then provided through the electrocatalytic cathode and conductive substrate in the form of the anode. The results of the study were announced in the journal Nature Communications on October 26.
According to Seung Woo Lee, the devices can be used as a continuous power source to convert chemical energy from glucose through the fuel cells to electrical energy. Seung Woo Lee is an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. The particular technique used precisely controls deposition of both the gold nanoparticles and enzyme. This further leads to an increase in the power density of the fuel cell. The researchers intend to demonstrate operations of the fuel cells along with an energy storage device in future to focus more on development of this technology.