The Brillance of Ingenuity


From CFDRC's long history and technical capabilities in electrochemistry and battery technologies and process development come two strong products. The Bio-Battery is an enzymatic fuel cell solution capable of producing electricity from sugars, alcohols, and other fuels. Our Thermal Battery offerings are expanding the envelope for power and energy density with advanced materials solutions.


The Bio-Battery™ developed by CFD Research Corporation is a novel power source that converts commonly available fuels directly into electrical energy. The Bio-Battery uses enzymes to convert the fuels into energy similar to the way biological systems use enzymes to convert food into energy. The heart of the device is a nanocomposite anode which contains enzymes capable of oxidizing sugar, alcohol, or diesel fuels (JP-8), releasing electrons and generating energy. The Bio-Battery has numerous advantages over existing batteries. The biggest advantage is that the theoretical energy density is 10 times greater than that of current state-of-the-art Li-ion batteries. Another advantage is fuel flexibility as the enzyme selectively allows for use of multiple fuels without cross-talk or poisoning of the catalyst.  The Bio-Battery also utilizes renewable biocatalysts as opposed to expensive and toxic transition metal catalysts of other batteries.  Finally the device has no thermal or acoustic signature.  In addition, the Bio-Battery allows for instant recharge (through supply of more sugar) in comparison with traditional batteries which require access to power for 2+ hours for recharging.

Technology Description

The Bio-Battery makes use of a unique enzymatic fuel cell and as such can be instantly powered by diverse and readily available fuel sources. Theoretical energy densities for the various fuels are 2,000 Wh/L for sugar (glucose/water mix), 6,700 Wh/L for alcohol (ethanol), and 9,200 Wh/L for hydrocarbons (JP-8).  Thus a potential for >10X improvement in energy density over existing Lithium-ion technology.

The fundamental technology component of the Bio-Battery is the enzyme based nanocomposite anode. The anode is fabricated by CFDRC’s patented carbon nanotube (CNT)-based enzymatic ink process. The ink consists of CNTs, binding polymers, cross linking agents, and the enzymatic catalysts. The enzymatic catalysts can be varied depending on the substrate (fuel) to be oxidized.

The Bio-Battery is positioned to compete with standard Li-ion batteries for longer duration missions with medium to high energy requirements where the weight savings can be significant. The figure at right shows that for energy requirements above 1000 Wh the Bio-Battery weight (stack + fuel) is less than traditional battery technology.

Features and Benefits

CFDRC's Bio-Battery meets specific needs for a portable power source, with key attributes in four specific areas; 1) increased energy density, 2) fuel flexibility, 3) instant recharge, and 4) low signature.  Achieving these attributes will ensure that the technology has the necessary performance characteristics to deliver a novel power and energy solution with a low-signature, low-weight, long-runtime, and fuel-flexible system.

Bio-Battery in the News

Thermal Batteries

Higher Capacity for Longer Run-time or Smaller Packaging

CFDRC is increasing the energy density of thermal batteries by 3-5X.  The increased capacity is the result of nanostructured electrodes and novel chemistries which lead to longer runtime or smaller packaging for current missile systems and other applications.

More Energy / More Power through Advanced Material Solutions

High Capacity: The capacity of our cathodes is 2-4 times higher than that of the FeS2 and CoS2 cathodes. The longer capacity will directly translate into longer operating time for existing missile systems and/or smaller/lighter footprint batteries

High Power:The novel cathodes will allow operating voltages >2.5V (as compared to existing 1.8V). This will enable fewer cells to be stacked in series to reached the required 12 or 24V requirements and therefore smaller overall footprint.

Technologies for New Missions

Our thermal battery material technology is advancing the capacity of thermal battery systems to enable new and extended mission plans for legacy and advanced weapons systems.