Home Project Outline Context of the IBFC project

Context of the IBFC project

Battery‐powered implantable devices have been in use for fifty years, following implantation of the first successful cardiac pacemaker in 1960. The development of lithium batteries in the late 1960s led to better, smaller devices that showed multiyear longevity and high reliability. Still, the lithium batteries present many drawbacks in terms of safety, reliability, longevity. This why there are numerous efforts to develop alternative power‐supply systems, safer, more reliable, and capable of operating independently over prolonged periods of time without the need of external recharging or refueling.

Several tracks have been explored in order to power implanted devices with energy scavenged from human body. They are called Biofuel Cells.


Recent Breakthroughs due to the consortium members

Members of the IBFC consortium are at the origin of three recent major breakthroughs in the field of Biofuel Cells (specifically the Glucose-based cells), that place this consortium among the top-level collaborative teams in biofuel cell research:

  • development of the first GBFC implanted in an animal.
  • development of mediatorless high‐power glucose biofuel cells based on compressed carbon nanotube‐enzyme electrodes.
  • implantation of these mediatorless biofuel cells.

However, the majority of the Biofuel cells described in literature suffer from severe limitations such as low power output and instability.

Considering the fact that these results were not obtained by optimizing manufacturing techniques, IBFC project proposes to combine industrial technology from printing electronics or silicon microelectronics in order to achieve stable implanted devices with power to volume ratios beyond 5 mW/mL in animals and supplying biomedical devices. Through optimisation of i) the Glucose BioFuel Cells (GBFC) and ii) Biomimetic BioFuel Cells (BBFC), the consortium expects to overcame the low power output and instability issues.


The IBFC project has been structured in four (4) inter-related work-packages.