Jenny Ulyanova of CFD Research explains how they are developing a novel power source that converts commonly available sugars directly into electrical energy. The Bio-Battery uses enzymes to convert the sugar into energy similar to the way biological systems use enzymes to convert food into energy. The heart of the device is a nanocomposite anode which contains enzymes capable of oxidizing glucose and other sugars, releasing electrons and generating energy. The Bio-Battery has numerous advantages over existing batteries. The biggest advantage is that the theoretical energy density is 10 times greater than that of current state-of-the-art Li-ion batteries. The Bio-Battery also utilizes renewable biocatalysts as opposed to expensive and toxic transition metal catalysts of other batteries. In addition, the Bio-Battery allows for instant recharge (through supply of more sugar) in comparison with traditional batteries which require access to power for 2+ hours for recharging.
The Bio-Battery has multiple civilian and military applications of great interest. CFDRC is working with the U.S. Army to help reduce the number of batteries soldiers are required to carry for military operations. In addition, the Bio-Battery may be used for remote monitoring, sensing, and surveillance in civilian and military situations where batteries are used, but also limit operational effectiveness and flexibility.