CT: Biofuel cells are energy devices for the production of electricity, inspired by nature in their use of naturally occurring food sources as fuel. Some examples of these fuels are the energy rich molecules available in food, such as carbohydrates and sugars. The inner working of a biofuel cell is typically based on the fundamental principles behind conversion of food into usable energy by the body. Food molecules are broken down into digestible molecules that are transported to the energy powerhouse of the cell Mitochondria, where they enter the well-known Krebs’s cycle. The digestible molecules are then further broken down through their stepwise oxidation into CO2 with the aid of specialized biocatalysts called redox enzymes. Redox enzymes utilize oxygen to “burn” the food into calories and yield water and CO2 as the by-products of this process called respiration. The “burning” of the food is actually the catalytic breakdown of food by redox enzymes into higher oxidation states, eventually CO2. Simultaneously, electrons are transferred down the electrochemical potential slope and stored into energy rich molecules called Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). These ATP molecules are like the energy currency of the body utilized by individual cells in the body to carry out their functions.
S: BioMEMS – http://mmadou.eng.uci.edu/research_biofuelcell.html (last access: 15 January 2015).
N: 1. bio (prefix): word-forming element, from Greek bio-, comb. form of bios “one’s life, course or way of living, lifetime” (as opposed to zoe “animal life, organic life”), from PIE root gweie- “to live”. The correct usage is that in biography, but in modern science it has been extended to mean “organic life.”
fuel (n): early 14c., from Old French foaile “bundle of firewood,” from Vulgar Latin legal term focalia “right to demand material for making fire,” neuter plural of Latin focalis “pertaining to a hearth,” from focus “hearth”. Figurative use from 1570s.
cell (n): early 12c., “small monastery, subordinate monastery” (from Medieval Latin in this sense), later “small room for a monk or a nun in a monastic establishment; a hermit’s dwelling” (c.1300), from Latin cella “small room, store room, hut,” related to Latin celare “to hide, conceal.”The Latin word represents PIE root kel- “to cover, conceal”. Electric battery sense is from 1828, based on original form.
2. A biological fuel cell (abbreviated as biofuel cell) is the offspring of two parent technologies: fuel cells and biotechnology. Like conventional fuel cells, biofuel cells comprise an anode and a cathode separated by a barrier that is selective for the passage of positively charged ions; they require the addition of fuel to generate power.
S: 1. OED – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=cell&searchmode=none (last access: 15 January 2015). 2. HU – https://gmwgroup.harvard.edu/pubs/pdf/402.pdf (last access: 15 January 2015).
CR: biomass fuel