A high-energy-density sugar biobattery based on a synthetic enzymatic pathway
Tam, Tsz Kin
Zhang, Y. -H. Percival
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High-energy-density, green, safe batteries are highly desirable for meeting the rapidly growing needs of portable electronics. The incomplete oxidation of sugars mediated by one or a few enzymes in enzymatic fuel cells suffers from low energy densities and slow reaction rates. Here we show that nearly 24 electrons per glucose unit of maltodextrin can be produced through a synthetic catabolic pathway that comprises 13 enzymes in an air-breathing enzymatic fuel cell. This enzymatic fuel cell is based on non-immobilized enzymes that exhibit a maximum power output of 0.8 mW cm(-2) and a maximum current density of 6 mA cm(-2), which are far higher than the values for systems based on immobilized enzymes. Enzymatic fuel cells containing a 15% (wt/v) maltodextrin solution have an energy-storage density of 596 Ah kg(-1), which is one order of magnitude higher than that of lithium-ion batteries. Sugar-powered biobatteries could serve as next-generation green power sources, particularly for portable electronics.