SALT LAKE CITY – Glucose the human body’s preferred energy source – can potentially power our gadgets, cars or homes.
Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) have developed a fuel cell – basically a battery with a gas tank – that harvests electricity from glucose and other sugars known as carbohydrates.
“Carbohydrates are very energy rich,” said BYU chemistry professor
The surprising solution turned out to be a common weed killer.
The effectiveness of this cheap and abundant herbicide is a boon to carbohydrate-based fuel cells. Conversely, hydrogen-based fuel cells like those developed by General Motors require costly platinum as a catalyst.
The next step for the BYU team is to ramp up the power through design improvements. The study reported experiments that yielded a 29 percent conversion rate, said a BYU release.
“We showed you can get a lot more out of glucose than other people have done before,” said
These findings are in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society.