Researchers design hydrogen-oxygen biofuel cell based on hydrogenase enzyme

August 30, 2020 |

In Germany, researchers at Ruhr-University Bochum, University of Utah and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion developed new techniques with which bacterial enzymes can be efficiently coupled to electrodes and designed a hydrogen-oxygen biofuel cell based on a hydrogenase enzyme.

They also implemented a system for ammonia synthesis based on a nitrogenase enzyme.

Many enzymes that occur in nature are powerful catalysts, such as the so-called [FeFe] hydrogenases, with whose help bacteria produce hydrogen, or nitrogenases, which manage to activate the strongest bond in nature in nitrogen. Both enzymes are highly sensitive to oxygen, but use readily available base metals in their active centers. One day they could replace expensive precious metal catalysts.

“Using such highly sensitive catalysts for biofuel cells is still one of the greatest challenges in sustainable energy conversion,” says Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuhmann, head of the RUB Center for Electrochemistry and member of the Ruhr Explores Solvation, Resolv . The team realized the use by embedding the enzyme in a protective matrix made of a redox polymer.

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Category: Research

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