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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Novel Architectures for Achieving Direct Electron Transfer in Enzymatic Biofuel Cells

  • Author(s): Blaik, Rita A
  • Advisor(s): Dunn, Bruce
  • et al.

Enzymatic biofuel cells are a promising source of alternative energy for small device applications, but still face the challenge of achieving direct electron transfer with high enzyme concentrations in a simple system. In this dissertation, methods of constructing electrodes consisting of enzymes attached to nanoparticle-enhanced substrates that serve as high surface area templates are evaluated. In the first method described, glucose oxidase is covalently attached to gold nanoparticles that are assembled onto genetically engineered M13 bacteriophage. The resulting anodes achieve a high peak current per area and a significant improvement in enzyme surface coverage. In the second system, fructose dehydrogenase, a membrane-bound enzyme that has the natural ability to achieve direct electron transfer, is immobilized into a matrix consisting of binders and carbon nanotubes to extend the lifetime of the anode. For the cathode, bilirubin oxidase is immobilized in a carbon nanotube and sol-gel matrix to achieve direct electron transfer. Finally, a full fuel cell consisting of both an anode and cathode is constructed and evaluated with each system described.

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