Engineering hybrid nanotube wires for high-power biofuel cells
Poor electron transfer and slow mass transport of substrates are significant rate-limiting steps in electrochemical systems. It is especially true in biological media, in which the concentrations and diffusion coefficients of substrates are low, hindering the development of power systems for miniaturized biomedical devices. In this study, we show that the newly engineered porous microwires comprised of assembled and oriented carbon nanotubes (CNTs) overcome the limitations of small dimensions and large specific surface area. Their improved performances are shown by comparing the electroreduction of oxygen to water in saline buffer on carbon and CNT fibres. Under air, and after several hours of operation, we show that CNT microwires exhibit more than tenfold higher performances than conventional carbon fibres. Consequently, under physiological conditions, the maximum power density of a miniature membraneless glucose/oxygen CNT biofuel cell exceeds by far the power density obtained for the current state of art carbon fibre biofuel cells.