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High Performance low temperature direct biomass fuel cell

Time: Dec. 17th, 13: 30 PM

Location:1# meeting room, conference center of energy building

Lecturer:Yulin Deng(Georgia School of Chemical & Tech Biomolecular Engineering)


Direct converse biomass into electricity is an intriguing but very challenging work. The key problem is that the C–C bonds cannot be completely electro-oxidized to CO2 even with a noble metal catalyst. Even for the simplest C–C molecules such as ethanol, it was reported that the fuel could only be converted to acetaldehyde (2e) or acetic acid (4e) with a noble metal anode, suggesting that only 16.7 and 33.3% of the total 12 electrons can be actually converted to electric power. Currently, biomass-to-electricity conversion using natural biomass resources can be realized by two common technologies: solid oxide fuel cells and microbial fuel cells. However, several critical issues exist with the current technologies, and the fuel cell efficiency and power density is low.

Here, professor Deng propose an alternative solution for the biomass into electricity conversion by using polyoxometalates as the photocatalyst and charge carrier to generate electricity at low temperature. This solar-induced hybrid fuel cell combines some features of solar cells, fuel cells and redox flow batteries. The power density of the solar-induced hybrid fuel cell powered by cellulose reaches 0.72 mWcm 2, which is almost 100 times higher than cellulose-based microbial fuel cells and is close to that of the best microbial fuel cells reported in literature. Unlike most cell technologies that are sensitive to impurities, the cell reported in this study is inert to most organic and inorganic contaminants present in the fuels. Recently, they even raise their power density to 100 mWcm 2, approaching that of commercial DMFC and DAFC.


Yulin Deng is now the professor of Georgia School of Chemical &Tech Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech. Dr. Deng’s research interests are nanomaterial synthesis and self-assembling, biofuel and biomass materials, colloid and interface science and engineering, polymer synthesis, and papermaking and paper recycling. Dr. Deng’s research has also been focused colloid and surface science and engineering. Polymer adsorption kinetics,polymer configuration, flocculation, emulsion and micellization have been studied. The new polymer additives and novel fillers that may be used as flocculants, papermaking agents, adhesives and drug delivery polymers are being designed and investigated. Biofuel is another interested research area of Dr. Deng’s research group. Novel pretreatment of lignoncellulose for biofuel production was one of Dr. Deng’s research areas. Low temperature catalytic depolymerization of lignin for fuel applications has been an actively research area. Dr. Deng is a Fellow of the International Academy of Wood Science, a member of ACS, AIChE and TAPPI. He is also an editorial board member for three journals.

contact:DNL0305 Luhua Jiang

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