Redox polymer coatings for biofuel cell applications

Redox polymers are macromolecules with groups that can be switched back and forth between different oxidation states. Such systems have gained significant attention as electroactive hydrogels for electrode coatings especially for enzymatic biofuel cell applications. Enzymatic biofuel cells (see Figure) are renewable energy systems that employ enzymes, such as glucose oxidase, to harvest energy from biofuels, like glucose or alcohol.

schematic of a biofuel cell


Gel-like networks of redox polymers, known as redox hydrogels are on the one hand carriers for these enzymes but on the other hand they also "wire" the active site of the enzyme to the electrode surface. In summary, redox hydrogels act as mediators that transfer the electrons generated from the enzymatic redox reaction to the electrode surface of the fuel cell. In our research we address questions like the stability of these bioelectrical devices and work on enhancing the power output of biofuel cells.

Selected publications:

  1. Schuh K., Prucker O., Rühe J.

    Tailor-made polymer multilayers
    Advanced Functional Materials, 2013, 23, 6019-6023.
    DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201300846

  2. Christine Bunte, Oswald Prucker, Tobias König and Jürgen Rühe
    Enzyme Containing Redox Polymer Networks for Biosensors or Biofuel Cells: A Photochemical Approach
    Langmuir, 26, 2010, 6019–6027
    DOI: 10.1021/la9037183




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