Biofuel Cells as a Possible Power Source for Implantable Electronic Devices
A major challenge facing the development of implantable devices for clinical use is in finding a suitable power source for such devices. The power source should be able to generate an electric current for extended periods of time.
Biofuel cells (BFC) provide some promise in this respect, as their function is primarily based on coupling the oxidation of glucose to the reduction of molecular oxygen to water. Under ideal conditions, the only byproducts of the BFC would simply be carbon dioxide and water. Both glucose and oxygen are present in the cells and tissues of all eukaryotic organisms, including human beings. It might, therefore, be possible to tap into the body's own resources, including the metabolic properties of our cells, to generate enough energy to power an array of clinical devices. The experiments described in this paper serve as a first step toward the goal of designing a BFC that would be based on transducing the power of oxidative metabolism within our own cells into an electrical current. In the first phase of our experiments, the function and current output of a specific type of BFC, called a microbial fuel cell (MFC)is investigated. The behavior and characteristics of such biofuel cells have been well documented in the scientific literature. MFCs essentially convert the biochemical energy of bacteria into electrical energy. A strain of E. Coli is used in our study. In the second phase of our experiments, an attempt is made to derive electrical currents from BFCs employing human white blood cells.
Advisor:Harvey Borovetz; Robert Sclabassi; Mingui Sun
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:06/09/2004