The experimental device works by using sunlight to convert the glucose into hydrogen to power the cell, which produces several hundred millivolts.
The use of biological resources, such as food waste and managed high-energy crops, are gradually becoming a viable approach to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. However, imaginative ways to convert these materials into useful, electrical energy are still required. Renewable biomass resources include starch, cellulose, sucrose, and lactose. These complex sugar molecules can be readily converted to the much simpler glucose molecule with little energy cost through fermentation processes.
The glucose could then be used to release hydrogen using enzymes.
It is this last step that chemists Yutaka Amao and Yumi Takeuchi of Oita University, in Dannoharu, Japan, have focused on to build their glucose-powered fuel cell.
The researchers have built the device with a transparent conductive glass electrode coated with a highly coloured molecule that can mimic the natural process of photosynthesis. This molecule is incorporated into light-absorbing titania. The coating can absorb energy from sunlight and release it into another chemical layer on the electrode. This is connected to a platinum electrode and the pair is immersed in a glucose solution to complete the circuit.
When light shines on the light-active electrode enzymes in the chemical layer are triggered to react with glucose molecules in the solution and release hydrogen ions, the dissolved hydrogen ions then attract electrons from the platinum electrode, which causes a current to flow through the wire connecting the electrodes.
Jim Corlett | alfa
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Flexible, organic and printed electronics conquer everyday life. The forecasts for growth promise increasing markets and opportunities for the industry. In Europe, top institutions and companies are engaged in research and further development of these technologies for tomorrow's markets and applications. However, access by SMEs is difficult. The European project SmartEEs - Smart Emerging Electronics Servicing works on the establishment of a European innovation network, which supports both the access to competences as well as the support of the enterprises with the assumption of innovations and the progress up to the commercialization.
It surrounds us and almost unconsciously accompanies us through everyday life - printed electronics. It starts with smart labels or RFID tags in clothing, we...
The human eye is particularly sensitive to green, but less sensitive to blue and red. Chemists led by Hubert Huppertz at the University of Innsbruck have now developed a new red phosphor whose light is well perceived by the eye. This increases the light yield of white LEDs by around one sixth, which can significantly improve the energy efficiency of lighting systems.
Light emitting diodes or LEDs are only able to produce light of a certain colour. However, white light can be created using different colour mixing processes.
Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.
Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.
Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...
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