Project Overview and Research Summary-Rena

Our group plans to research possible ways to harness energy from biotic materials, such as bacteria or human adipose tissue, to power implanted devices. As nanotechnology becomes increasingly mature, implantable medical devices gains greater role in disease treatment and prevention, physiological data collection, and living quality improvement. The ability to power implantable devices within human bodies hence becomes more relevant than ever. Additionally, energy sources that are compatible with the human body have great potentials to be engineered into environmentally sustainable commercial fuels. One of such energy sources is bacteria. There has been years of research on harnessing fuel from E. coli to substitute petroleum. A more recent study discovers a potentially cheaper and “greener” method producing biofuel: directly converting cellulose to biobutanol using the TG57 strain bacteria. There remains room for research on how these biofuels can be applied to implantable medical devices within the human body. On the other hand, with its inherent compatibility with the human body, human adipose tissue presents an almost ideal alternative for biotic source of energy. Furthermore, lipid holds 9 calories of energy per gram, making it potentially an efficient source of energy. While there is little research on conversion of lipid in adipose to usable power for electrical devices, there has been significant progress on using enzymatic biofuel cells to power a wireless device in a mammal for approximately two months.

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