A hybrid microbial–enzymatic fuel cell cathode overcomes enzyme inactivation limits in biological fuel cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The construction of optimized biological fuel cells requires a cathode which combines the longevity of a microbial catalyst with the current density of an enzymatic catalyst. Laccase‐secreting fungi were grown directly on the cathode of a biological fuel cell to facilitate the exchange of inactive enzymes with active enzymes, with the goal of extending the lifetime of laccase cathodes. Directly incorporating the laccase‐producing fungus at the cathode extends the operational lifetime of laccase cathodes while eliminating the need for frequent replenishment of the electrolyte. The hybrid microbial–enzymatic cathode addresses the issue of enzyme inactivation by using the natural ability of fungi to exchange inactive laccases at the cathode with active laccases. Finally, enzyme adsorption was increased through the use of a functionally graded coating containing an optimized ratio of titanium dioxide nanoparticles and single‐walled carbon nanotubes. The hybrid microbial–enzymatic fuel cell combines the higher current density of enzymatic fuel cells with the longevity of microbial fuel cells, and demonstrates the feasibility of a self‐regenerating fuel cell in which inactive laccases are continuously exchanged with active laccases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number242
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalCatalysts
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Biocathodic microbial communities
  • Bioelectrocalysis
  • Multi‐functional catalysts for ORR
  • Optimization of catalyst layers and electrode design
  • Oxygen reduction reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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