Design A Clean Energy Generation System Via Biophotofuel Cell Approach

EPA Grant Number: SU835297
Title: Design A Clean Energy Generation System Via Biophotofuel Cell Approach
Investigators: Gan, Yong X
Current Investigators: Gan, Yong X , Barney, Joseph Jay , Diazvaldez, Jose Roberto , Godwin, Jonathan Caleb , Haubert, Matthew , Hom, Kaitlin Elizabeth , Lawson, Paul , Liu, Xiaolu , Liu, Yang , Moening, Andrew , Mohammed, Omar , Moutassem, Zaki M , Ren, Kai , Santos, Omar De , Sofyani, Sharaf Al , Ulrich, Sean Robert , Wu, Howard Hokei , Young, Taurean J , Zafirah Md Khair, Nurul
Institution: University of Toledo
Current Institution: University of Toledo , California State Polytechnic University - Pomona
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2012 through August 14, 2013
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemicals , P3 Challenge Area - Green Infrastructure , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The objective of this project is to design and fabricate a novel biophotofuel cell consisting of a nanoporous electrode as the anode for biomass decomposition, and a low-hydrogen overpotential metal such as Pt, as the cathode for hydrogen production. The uniqueness of the project is the multiple functions of the fuel cell. It can generate electricity and produce hydrogen from biodegradable fluids under sunshine. Meanwhile, noxious gases such as ammonia released from biowastes can be decomposed at the biophotosensitive anode and pure water can be generated for reuse at the cathode.


In order to prepare such a key component in the system which is able to generate electron under irradiation, and decompose biomass, photosensitive semiconducting substances such as pure TiO2 and doped- TiO2 nanotubes will be made into membranes with regularly aligned nanopores. The generated nanoporous array structures with high surface areas will be transferred onto a conductive substrate to form the anode. Then sputter coating of metal thin film may be applied on the top of the electrode to establish the electron moving path. The biophotofuel cell will be tested in view of electricity and hydrogen generation from biomass under sunlight, noxious gas decomposition, and clean water regeneration.

Expected Results:

New nanomaterials for energy generation and environmental cleaning will be discovered and made. The prototype of novel biophotofuel cell with the ability of generating energy from waste and wastewater under sunlight, while clean the water for reuse and recycle will be built. A group of senior undergraduate students will be trained in the project. The forces of global energy needs and climate change are driving new developments in the alternative energy production. The use of biophotofuel cells for electricity and hydrogen production from waste and renewable sources is expected to play an important role in meeting this demand. In April 2013, the senior design groups will deliver the prototyped biophotofuel cell for expo at Washington D.C. Following the completion of the project, papers on biophotofuel cell studies will be published. One design patent will be submitted to US Patent and Trademark Office.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 7 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 5 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Nanotube processing, Energy conversion, Sustainability

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report