The construction of optimized biological fuel cells requires a cathode which combines the longevity of a microbial catalyst with the power 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. Additionally, a functionally graded coating was developed to increase enzyme loading at the cathode. 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. Additionally, 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 power 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.
oxygen reduction reaction; multi-functional catalysts for ORR; bioelectrocalysis; biocathodic microbial communities; optimization of catalyst layers and electrode design
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