CORDIS
EU research results

CORDIS

English EN

News

English EN

EU project to develop bio-catalytic fuel cells

Fuel cells that run off blood. Sounds incredible? Not to researchers in a new €2.8 million EU research project.

The BIO-MEDNANO project aims to develop so called 'bio-catalytic' fuel cells - cells which use bodily fluids for fuel and enzymes which then convert the chemi...

Other

Fuel cells that run off blood. Sounds incredible? Not to researchers in a new €2.8 million EU research project.

The BIO-MEDNANO project aims to develop so called 'bio-catalytic' fuel cells - cells which use bodily fluids for fuel and enzymes which then convert the chemical energy into electricity. These cells could be used to power a whole range of medical devices including pace makers, insulin pumps, artificial limbs, microsurgery robots or biosensing systems. The fuel cells will be so small in size that they may be implanted under the skin to provide a direct power supply to these devices.

Project partners say that there are significant improvements to be had in using biocatalytic fuel cells instead of the more traditional sources of power supply. Current implantable devices such as cardiac pacemakers rely on batteries for power, however this technology uses highly reactive lithium, making miniaturisation expensive and difficult.

'Biocatalytic fuel cells represent a realistic opportunity for the provision of implantable power and there is enormous scope for the wider application of biosensors in the area of medical diagnostics, in environmental monitoring and in food quality,' said Dr Donal Leech of the National University of Ireland, coordinator of the BIO-MEDNANO project.

'We are delighted to have secured this funding which will allow us to make important strides forward over the next number of years and look forward to leading the way in research in this field,' he added.

Over the three year period, project partners will aim to screen for novel enzymes and design novel nano-structured scaffolds for enzyme immobilisation to provide medical devices with improved sensitivity and power output.

The project is funded as a Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP) of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), and involves partners from the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Italy, UK and Israel.

Countries

Ireland