The project BioAirBat has been included in the 2021 call of “R&D&I Challenges” of the Ministry of Science and Innovation that aims to advance towards excellence in research.

CIC energiGUNE, the Basque research center of reference in battery storage, thermal energy solutions and hydrogen, and member of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance-BRTA, will explore the application of biological systems in the development of new cathodes for metal-air batteries that catalyze in a more efficient way the oxygen reactions of reduction/oxidation that take place in these types of batteries. This initiative is framed within the project BioAirBat, which has been included by the Ministry of Science and Innovation inside the 2021 call of its funding program “R&D&I Challenges”.

“Biomimetic synthetic molecules are an excellent option for the creation of new materials with similar or better properties than the already existing biological materials in nature”, has assured Doctor Nagore Ortiz-Vitoriano, Principal Investigator of the project in CICenergiGUNE. “Thanks to this aid from the Ministry we will be able to advance more quickly in the discovering and design of new materials with enhanced catalytic properties that will allow to shed some light on the new generation of metal-air rechargeable batteries”.

In this sense, the objective of BioAirBat is to imitate the oxygen’s cycle linked to the cellular respiration in order to manufacture cathodic materials that are more efficient and more respectful for the environment. To do so, based on a multidisciplinary research, BioAirBat proposes combining the vast potential of the electrocatalytic biomolecules that are present in nature with the necessities of a metal-air battery, in order to offer a radically innovative, economical and sustainable solution that overcomes the challenges that technology faces nowadays.

As a result, the project BioAirBat will contribute to the development of more ecological, more efficient and safer batteries and will accelerate the commercialization of batteries beyond Li-ion thanks to the lesser use of critical materials such as precious metals. Moreover, BioAirBat will make possible the connection between the most fundamental science and applied research, thus generating a knowledge that can serve not only metal-air batteries, but also other fields of engineering such as flow batteries and the generation of hydrogen.

Specifically, the work of BioAirBat will concentrate on the obtaining of cathodes that catalyze in a more efficient way the reactions of oxygen that govern the metal-air batteries and, in general terms, on acquiring a better knowledge of the mechanism of reaction that opens the door to developing the next generation of this type of batteries.

From the research point of view, doctor Nagore Ortiz-Vitoriano has highlighted that “the biological macromolecules and the nucleotides act as catalysts and energy reservoir in this efficient natural process. Therefore, the use of biosynthetic molecules that imitate active centers of these big molecules in this type of batteries is an excellent option to overcome the limitations that prevent their commercialization”.

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