Now, human fuel cell powered by air, sugar

Now, human fuel cell powered by air, sugar

Glucose-based biofuel cell implant.

Scaled up, glucose-based biofuel cells could power implanted pacemakers and artificial kidneys, as well as other medical devices. “This was the first time such a GBFC was successfully used in animals,” says Discovery News quoting Philippe Cinquin, a scientist at Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France.

A bio-compatible fuel cell powered by sugar and oxygen would be a huge benefit to the medical industry. Small, surgically implanted batteries power today’s internal devices. While battery-operated devices do work, they are large and when their energy runs out doctors have to surgically remove and replace them. A biofuel implant would never need replacing — unless it broke — and would take up less space inside a person’s body.

The new fuel cell created by the French scientists is the size of two small coins stuck together. Both sides are made from graphite, but contain different enzymes to break apart oxygen from air and sugar from food. When the enzymes cleave those molecules, they create a small electrical charge. The whole fuel cell is wrapped in a clear plastic dialysis bag, which allows sugar and oxygen, dissolved in the fluid that bathes the fuel cells, to enter.
The scientists say that within few years they can generate enough electricity to power  artificial sphincter or artificial kidneys.

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