• 19 hours U.S. On Track To Unseat Saudi Arabia As No.2 Oil Producer In the World
  • 21 hours Senior Interior Dept. Official Says Florida Still On Trump’s Draft Drilling Plan
  • 23 hours Schlumberger Optimistic In 2018 For Oilfield Services Businesses
  • 1 day Only 1/3 Of Oil Patch Jobs To Return To Canada After Downturn Ends
  • 1 day Statoil, YPF Finalize Joint Vaca Muerta Development Deal
  • 1 day TransCanada Boasts Long-Term Commitments For Keystone XL
  • 1 day Nigeria Files Suit Against JP Morgan Over Oil Field Sale
  • 2 days Chinese Oil Ships Found Violating UN Sanctions On North Korea
  • 2 days Oil Slick From Iranian Tanker Explosion Is Now The Size Of Paris
  • 2 days Nigeria Approves Petroleum Industry Bill After 17 Long Years
  • 2 days Venezuelan Output Drops To 28-Year Low In 2017
  • 2 days OPEC Revises Up Non-OPEC Production Estimates For 2018
  • 2 days Iraq Ready To Sign Deal With BP For Kirkuk Fields
  • 2 days Kinder Morgan Delays Trans Mountain Launch Again
  • 2 days Shell Inks Another Solar Deal
  • 3 days API Reports Seventh Large Crude Draw In Seven Weeks
  • 3 days Maduro’s Advisors Recommend Selling Petro At Steep 60% Discount
  • 3 days EIA: Shale Oil Output To Rise By 1.8 Million Bpd Through Q1 2019
  • 3 days IEA: Don’t Expect Much Oil From Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Before 2030
  • 3 days Minister Says Norway Must Prepare For Arctic Oil Race With Russia
  • 3 days Eight Years Late—UK Hinkley Point C To Be In Service By 2025
  • 3 days Sunk Iranian Oil Tanker Leave Behind Two Slicks
  • 3 days Saudi Arabia Shuns UBS, BofA As Aramco IPO Coordinators
  • 4 days WCS-WTI Spread Narrows As Exports-By-Rail Pick Up
  • 4 days Norway Grants Record 75 New Offshore Exploration Leases
  • 4 days China’s Growing Appetite For Renewables
  • 4 days Chevron To Resume Drilling In Kurdistan
  • 4 days India Boosts Oil, Gas Resource Estimate Ahead Of Bidding Round
  • 4 days India’s Reliance Boosts Export Refinery Capacity By 30%
  • 4 days Nigeria Among Worst Performers In Electricity Supply
  • 5 days ELN Attacks Another Colombian Pipeline As Ceasefire Ceases
  • 5 days Shell Buys 43.8% Stake In Silicon Ranch Solar
  • 5 days Saudis To Award Nuclear Power Contracts In December
  • 5 days Shell Approves Its First North Sea Oil Project In Six Years
  • 5 days China Unlikely To Maintain Record Oil Product Exports
  • 5 days Australia Solar Power Additions Hit Record In 2017
  • 5 days Morocco Prepares $4.6B Gas Project Tender
  • 5 days Iranian Oil Tanker Sinks After Second Explosion
  • 8 days Russia To Discuss Possible Exit From OPEC Deal
  • 8 days Iranian Oil Tanker Drifts Into Japanese Waters As Fires Rage On
Alt Text

Sweden Burns H&M Clothes As Fuel

A power plant in Stockholm…

Alt Text

Research Unveils New Promising Biofuel

New research suggests that young…

Alt Text

Oil Refiners And Farmers Battle Over Biofuels

Trump has agreed to meet…

Brian Westenhaus

Brian Westenhaus

Brian is the editor of the popular energy technology site New Energy and Fuel. The site’s mission is to inform, stimulate, amuse and abuse the…

More Info

A Biofuel Cell that Uses Fungus to Generate Cheap Electricty

A Biofuel Cell that Uses Fungus to Generate Cheap Electricty

In a new concept for biofuel cells Sabine Sané, doctoral candidate in the research training group Micro Energy Harvesting at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of the University of Freiburg, has found a way to make a species of tree fungus useful for the production of electricity.

The idea is so innovative and unique that the new energy conversion concept was chosen as the cover story of ChemSusChem, a journal for chemistry, sustainability, energy, and materials.  Strange for certain but its fact based truth.

ChemSusChem Cover with Fungus for Biofuel Cells
ChemSusChem Cover with Fungus for Biofuel Cells the Lead Article.

The background is biofuel cells produce electricity that is environmentally friendly and conserves resources, for instance from organic waste material.  A biofuel cell would use enzymes as catalysts to enable electrochemical reactions that generate electricity.  In contrast to precious metal catalysts in conventional hydrogen product fuel cells, these enzymes can be obtained at low cost from renewable raw materials. For many technical applications, however, their lifetime is too short.

Related article: Biofuel Breakthrough? Marine Organism can Provide Food and Fuel

The new concept developed by the Freiburg scientists solves this problem by ensuring that the fuel cell is continually resupplied with the biocatalyst. The supplier of the new biofuel cell is Trametes versicolor, a tree fungus that is also found in temperate climates.

The fungus releases the fungal enzyme laccase into a solution surrounding the cathode the positive pole of the biofuel cell where it enables the electrochemical conversion of oxygen. Experiments conducted by the researchers demonstrate that this method can be used to extend the lifetime of the cathodes to as much as a remarkable 120 days, and considerably longer lifetimes now seem possible.

In a contrasting comparison, the cathodes only have a lifetime of 14 days if they are not supplied with more of the enzymes. Since the enzymatic solution can be supplied directly to the fuel cell without time-consuming and expensive purification, the costs are reduced to a minimum. Potential applications for the concept include microbial fuel cells that generate electricity from wastewater, a technology Kerzenmacher’s research group is also developing.

Enzymatic biofuel cells offer great potential for the direct conversion of biochemically-stored energy from renewable biomass resources into electricity.  But the enzyme purification is time-consuming and expensive.  Additionally, the enzyme’s degrading hinders the long-term use of enzymatic biofuel cells, which limits their lifetime to only a few weeks.

Related article: Oil Industry Works Hard to End the E15 Fuel Blend

The Freiburg scientists’ results demonstrate the possibility to establish simple, cost efficient, and mediatorless enzymatic biofuel cell cathodes that do not require expensive enzyme purification procedures.

An enzyme process biofuel cell with an extended lifetime with self-replicating microorganisms providing the electrode with catalytically active enzymes in a continuous or periodic manner now looks like a feasible commercial idea.

Sané’s research was supported by scientists from a research group led by Dr. Sven Kerzenmacher at Prof. Dr. Roland Zengerle’s Laboratory for MEMS Applications.

By. Brian Westenhaus

Source: Strange and True – Fungus can Power Electricity




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News