Special Issue "Carbon Nanostructures in Biofuel Cells"
A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2019).
Interests: organic and analytical chemistry; surface chemistry; ion-selective electrodes; crown ethers; functionalization of carbon nanotubes; enzymatic biofuel cells
Interests: heterogeneous catalysis; energy and environmental applications of carbon nanostructures; porous 3D carbon materials; metal nanoparticles; bioelectrodes
Thanks to their unique properties, carbon nanostructures such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), nanohorns, nanoonions, graphene derivatives, 3D porous structures, nanodiamonds, and others have gained a great deal of interest in different scientific disciplines. Their properties include well-developed surface area, high mechanical strength, specific electrical properties, and tailored chemical properties. The combination of these features makes them very attractive for a wide range of applications. It is not an exaggeration to say that nanostructured conducting materials such as carbon nanotubes or graphene derivatives have contributed to important breakthroughs in the field of biological fuel cells (BFCs). Biological fuel cells transform chemical energy into electrical energy and, among other things, employ enzymes as catalysts, and available compounds (e.g., glucose or ethanol) as fuels. The main goals in searching for new electrode modifications for biofuel cells are to decrease the overpotential of dioxygen reduction (i.e., increase the efficiency of the cell and achieve higher current densities), and to improve the electrode life-time. In view of this challenge, carbon nanostructures seem to go hand-in-hand with biofuel cells.
The important expected field of application of enzymatic biofuel cells is the creation of implantable medical devices that are able to work in living organisms/bodies for several years. These devices convert the chemical energy of glucose oxidation into electric power and are intended to feed other implantable devices like pacemakers, devices for controlling glucose or oxygen level in the blood, capacitors accumulating large electric charges, or devices that could send signal to external receivers.
Although a great deal of work has been done in this field, there are still many problems that need to be solved. First of all, most of the described approaches are based on non-standardized materials (e.g., carbon nanotubes from a variety of manufacturers, enzymes of different origin or purity, and different kinds of linkers joining CNTs with enzymes). A problem that is usually neglected concerns the biocompatibility of cell components, as well as environmentally benign procedures and processes leading to the manufacture of cell parts.
Other important considerations include the durability of the biofuel cells and the biocompatibility of encapsulations and all remaining external cell components.
The present Special Issue of Nanomaterials is aimed at presenting the current state-of-the-art and drawing attention to the need for standardization and fine-tuning of both laboratory preparation and design for technical production.
Contributions showing how to achieve significant progress in the outlined field with the aim of giving a balanced view of the current state-of-the-art in this discipline and showing an environmentally benign future are very welcome.
Prof. Dr. Jan Biernat
Dr. Kamila Żelechowska
Manuscript Submission Information
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- carbon nanoparticles
- 3D porous structures
- carbon-based enzymatic electrodes
- flexible electrodes
- enzymatic biofuel cells
- direct and mediated electron transfer
- implantable biofuel cells
- biofuel cell construction materials (for electrodes, encapsulation, transfer and energy accumulation, optimizing the durability of fuel cells)
- biocompatibility of entire systems
- standardization of biofuel cell evaluation