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Reference Number EP/H019480/1
Title The Supergen Biological Fuel Cells Consortium 2010-2014 (CORE)
Status Completed
Energy Categories RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES(Bio-Energy, Applications for heat and electricity) 20%;
HYDROGEN and FUEL CELLS(Fuel Cells, Stationary applications) 80%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Chemistry) 45%;
PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 15%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 20%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Professor FA (Fraser ) Armstrong
No email address given
Oxford Chemistry
University of Oxford
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 18 April 2010
End Date 15 October 2014
Duration 54 months
Total Grant Value £3,374,042
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region South East
Programme Energy : Energy
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor FA (Fraser ) Armstrong , Oxford Chemistry, University of Oxford (99.982%)
  Other Investigator Dr GC (Giuliano ) Premier , School of Technology, University of Glamorgan (0.001%)
Professor RCT (Robert ) Slade , Chemistry, University of Surrey (0.001%)
Dr JR (John ) Varcoe , Chemistry, University of Surrey (0.001%)
Professor K Scott , School of Chemical Engineering & Advanced Materials, Newcastle University (0.001%)
Dr EH Yu , School of Chemical Engineering & Advanced Materials, Newcastle University (0.001%)
Dr A (Alan ) Guwy , School of Applied Sciences, University of Glamorgan (0.001%)
Dr R (Richard ) Dinsdale , School of Applied Sciences, University of Glamorgan (0.001%)
Prof I (Ian ) Head , Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University (0.001%)
Professor TP (Thomas ) Curtis , Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University (0.001%)
Professor ZX (Zheng Xiao ) Guo , Chemistry, University College London (0.001%)
Professor CJ Pickett , Chemical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of East Anglia (0.001%)
Dr WT Sloan , Civil Engineering, University of Glasgow (0.001%)
Dr C Quince , Civil Engineering, University of Glasgow (0.001%)
Professor C Melhuish , Computing Engineering and Maths Science, University of the West of England (0.001%)
Professor J Greenman , Applied Sciences, University of the West of England (0.001%)
Dr A Thumser , Biochemistry and Physiology, University of Surrey (0.001%)
Dr C (Claudio Adolfo ) Avignone-Rossa , Microbial and Cellular Sciences, University of Surrey (0.001%)
Dr J (Jorge ) Rodriguez , Water & Environmental Eng & Chemical Eng, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , MAST Carbon (0.000%)
Project Contact , Chameleon Biosurfaces Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Morgan Advanced Materials and Technology (0.000%)
Project Contact , Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract The Supergen Biological Fuel Cells Consortium is developing advanced technologies that exploit the special properties of biological systems for energy production. A fuel cell produces electricity by reacting a fuel (such as hydrogen or methanol) with oxygen (from air) at a pair of electrodes instead of by combustion,which produces only heat. Normally, fuel cells require expensive components such as special catalysts (platinum) and membranes. In contrast, biological fuel cells use whole organisms or isolated enzymes as catalysts, and a membrane may not be necessary. Two kinds of fuel cell are under development - microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and enzyme-based fuel cells. MFCs have an important role to play in improving our environment and conserving energy whereas enzyme-based fuel cells (EFCs) provide unique opportunities for new kinds of fuel cells, including ones that can be made very small for niche applications such as implantable power sources. MFCs use bacteria, held in contact with an electrode, to convert organic matter (the fuel) into electrical power. They can also be used to remove (oxidising) contaminants from water supplies with the advantage that the electrical power that is simultaneously produced offsets the energy costs for remediation. EFCs exploit the high activities, efficiencies and selectivities of enzymes, recognising that in most cases, and particularly when attached to an electrode, their performance is far superior to man-made catalysts.The Consortium combines expertise in several areas and plans to advance the field on several fronts. These include the following: developing a clear understanding of how microbes colonise electrodes, how useful bacteria can be sustained and undesirable microbes deterred from colonising; understanding and improving the way that electrical charge is transferred between bacteria and electrodes; optimising the design of electrodes from cheap and abundant materials, focusing on such factors as surface chemistry porosity and conductivity; designing novel fuel cells for small-scale special applications; last but not least, finding new ways to replace platinum as the electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 05/01/10