Inspired by nature, Shelley Minteer and her research group at the University of Utah are looking for a way to merge electrochemistry and biology. With a little inspiration, Minteer aims to bring to life innovative devices that can be applied to anything from fuel cells to electrosynthesis.
“We’re looking at biological inspiration,” says Minteer. “As electrochemists, we’re looking at things in terms of the molecular biology of living cells and seeing how we can make a better electrochemical cell from that.”
Inspiration from Biology
The sciences of biology and electrochemistry tend to have many fundamental concepts in common. On the biological side, one can look at how humans eat and metabolize food in a comparative way to the functions of a fuel cell. Additionally, plants and electrosynthesis work similarly in the way they take in CO2 and produce fuel.
“As a group, we’re looking to see if we could use biology as our inspiration to do electrochemistry, and that has taken us into a lot of different applications,” says Minteer.