Rational design of quinones for high power density biofuel cells†
Enzymatic fuel cells (EFCs) are devices that can produce electrical energy by enzymatic oxidation of energy-dense fuels (such as glucose). When considering bioanode construction for EFCs, it is desirable to use a system with a low onset potential and high catalytic current density. While these two properties are typically mutually exclusive, merging these two properties will significantly enhance EFC performance. We present the rational design and preparation of an alternative naphthoquinone-based redox polymer hydrogel that is able to facilitate enzymatic glucose oxidation at low oxidation potentials while simultaneously producing high catalytic current densities. When coupled with an enzymatic biocathode, the resulting glucose/O2 EFC possessed an open-circuit potential of 0.864 ± 0.006 V, with an associated maximum current density of 5.4 ± 0.5 mA cm−2. Moreover, the EFC delivered its maximum power density (2.3 ± 0.2 mW cm−2) at a high operational potential of 0.55 V.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Global Energy Challenges: Electrochemical Energy