Biodegradable Protein-Based Photoelectrochemical Cells with Biopolymer Composite Electrodes That Enable Recovery of Valuable Metals

Lakshmi Suresh, Jayraj Vaghasiya, Mike Jones, Swee Ching Tan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The development of new technologies that use sunlight as an energy source is adding to pressure on finite natural resources and the challenges of recycling and disposal. Looking to nature for material assistance, we describe a proof-of-concept flexible and biodegradable photoelectrochemical cell based almost entirely on pigments, proteins, polysaccharides, and graphene platelets. In addition to being largely environmentally benign, such devices present opportunities for the recovery of valuable components such as, in the present case, the geologically scarce metal indium and the precious metal gold. Recovery is achieved through dissolution in ethanol followed by physical separation of the heavy element, leaving a residue made up from common elements that can be recycled through natural biodegradation. Potential applications for flexible, biomolecule-based photoelectrochemical cells are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8834-8841
Number of pages8
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Volume7
Issue number9
Early online date9 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2019

Structured keywords

  • BrisSynBio
  • Bristol BioDesign Institute

Keywords

  • Biodegradable
  • Flexible electrodes
  • Graphene/ethyl-cellulose composite
  • Indium recycling
  • Protein photoelectrochemical cell
  • Synthetic Biology

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