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Miniaturization of ethanol biofuel cells

Grant number: 16/08711-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2016
Effective date (End): December 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Physical-Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Frank Nelson Crespilho
Grantee:Thiago Bertaglia
Host Institution: Instituto de Química de São Carlos (IQSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


Biofuel cells can be defined as bioelectrochemical devices responsible for the conversion of chemical energy originated from biochemical reaction into electrical energy. The conversion of energy is carry out by using enzymes and/or microorganisms as biological catalysts for the oxidation of fuels in the bioanodes and reduction of oxidant agents in biocathodes, respectively. The challenges to improve the electrochemical properties of these devices, such as power density, voltage and current density, have been the most relevant issues in the case of the state-of-art. Furthermore, due to the initial stage in which they are fundamental studies in biofuel cells, the development of micromanipulation procedures related to miniaturization of electrodes and unit cells is still a topic of great importance and requires more solid results. Thus, the objective of this project is to overcome these challenges increasingly and to contribute to the development of new settings ethanol biofuel cells, proposing the utilization of bioanodes with modified carbon microfibers, in addition to evaluating the catalytic activity of the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme (ADH) in ethanol oxidation using bioelectrodes in a miniaturized system in the presence of the enzyme and yeast. The idea is that this microorganism can produce ethanol in situ from carbohydrates (e.g., glucose) used in the feed of the anode compartment. The concept of cooperative biofuel cell is being developed by our Group in San Carlos, where a microorganism is used along with an enzyme to promote the oxidation of ethanol via anaerobic degradation of carbohydrates. Lastly, it is intended to optimize the electrochemical system and microelectrodes to obtain better operating conditions.

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