implantable biofuel cell; implanted medical devices; bioengineerin; biocompatibility; biomimetic nanobiotechnology;

Biopile à carburant implantables

Nanobiotechnologies (NANB)


Informations générales

Référence projet : 10-NANB-0003
Etablissement Coordinateur : Université Grenoble Alpes
Région du projet : Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Discipline : 5 - Bio Med

Aide de l'ANR 2 200 000 euros
Investissement couvrant la période de mars 2012 à mars 2016

Résumé de soumission

The IBFC project was officially launched in Grenoble on 8 June 2012 with a meeting between all project partners, and in the presence of a representative of the ANR. IBFC was an interdisciplinary project that targeted the goal of optimizing the power output of an implantable biofuel cell to be suitable to provide the power for implanted medical devices that demand between 100 mW and 100 mW. This was an ambitious aim for the project that relied upon 4 main lines of original research:


physiology?driven overall design and animal experiments,

design of a novel architecture,

design of novel bioelectrodes,




To achieve these goals, the project coordinated the efforts of 5 partners with expertise in innovative bioengineering and biocompatibility of medical devices and biomimetic nanobiotechnology (TIMC-IMAG), medical pacemakers and industrial knowledge and know-how (SORIN/Livanova), electrochemistry (DCM), micro-nanotechnology and fabrication of medical device technology (CEA-Leti) and porous and flexible material engineering (LGP2). All partners contributed to the drafting of the Consortium Agreement, which was officially put in place on September 2013. This Agreement clearly described the roles, responsibilities and obligations of each partner in the project, as well as the rules applying to exploitation and dissemination of project’s results. In addition, the Agreement has formalized the terms of operation of the steering committee in charge of the monitoring of the project’s progress in accordance with the requirements and deadlines set out in the Grant agreement and its annexes. The steering Committee (ComPilot) was chaired by the Coordinator (Pr Donald Martin, from TIMC-IMAG), and composed of a representative of each partnering laboratory. Essential to the successful running of this project by the Coordinator was the employment of a professional management company (Vitamib/Absiskey), which effectively functioned as the 6th partner in the project.


The major result that defines the successful outcome from the project is that we obtained a stable potential from a functional enzymatic IBFC that was implanted in a rabbit for a period of 2 months. The potential was measured using wireless transmitting technology. The power output from the enzymatic IBFC inside the rabbit was 16 mW/ml for a period of 16 days under continuous discharge for 30 minutes of each day. Such cycles of discharge are “worst-case” conditions for the normally periodic discharge as for a pacemaker, and these results augur well for the clinical application of the enzymatic IBFC since the key result from the project is the stable power output for an implanted biofuel cell.

In summary, we have produced the following general outcomes that provide measures of success for the project:





Expectation at start of project



Outcomes from project





Main criterion





1.      we can implant an IBFC into an animal and harvest at least 1 mW of power




successful implantation of an IBFC for long periods in rat, rabbit, cow and sheep

implanted IBFCs produced a stable power output of tens of microWatts when functioning inside the body, were biocompatible and were not toxic

power output during implantation in the body for an enzymatic IBFC was tens of microWatts (not 1 mW)






Secondary criteria





2.      we have produced functional nanoporous-silicon-based electrodes;




although the porous silicon was initially planned for the enzymatic IBFC, it was clear that the porous silicon was not suitable for the enzymatic IBFC

however, the porous silicon was tested successfully as a substrate for the biomimetic IBFC






3.      we have produced functional flexible bioelectrodes;




an electrode system was produced on a roll of flexible paper-based material, which contained an ink made from a carbon nanotubes onto which enzymes were adsorbed.






4.      we have produced a functional BBFC using NaCl as “fuel”;




the biomimetic IBFC was produced to create a functional power output, which was calculated to be 4 mW for a volume of 1 ml.

this output met the Main Criterion (above), but the biomimetic IBFC requires ongoing development in order for it to be ready for implantation

this biomimetic IBFC is the subject of a new ANR grant, and also will be part of the pipeline for the Startup Company to be created at the end of 2016






5.      we have estimated the “physiological yield” of our GBFC (i.e. the ratio between the electric power production and the consumption of glucose)




the outcomes of WP2 have provided this information, which has fed into the other WorkPackages to enable the successful design and development of the implantable enzymatic IBFC







However, in addition to those results and outcomes, it is important to reiterate that the project has provided the basis for ongoing developments in the area of implantable biofuel cells and medical devices, with a selection of those ongoing developments as:



1.      Creation of a Startup company in biofuel cells at end of 2016, driven by the partner TIMC-IMAG


The developmental work for the stability and performance of the existing enzymatic biofuel cell is being undertaken under the coordination of TIMC-IMAG with the support of a Maturation Grant (180k€, 18 months) from the SATT


Ongoing development of the bio-inspired biomimetic biofuel cell


This is the objective for a new ANR grant “BioWATTS” (ANR-15-CE05-0003-01, 467k€, 3 years) that commenced in 2016, coordinated by TIMC-IMAG with a partner at the Université de Rennes


3.      Ongoing development of related and “daughter” technologies


The technology developed in IBFC is being extended to an implantable medical device to measure and modify the human microbiota (project “Taenia”). This project is being undertaken under the coordination of TIMC-IMAG with the support of a Pre-Maturation Grant (180k€, 18 months) from the CNRS. The project “Taenia” will then proceed to a Maturation phase in-preparation for the creation of a Startup company. Also, in collaborations between TIMC-IMAG and some of the IBFC partners there are 3 new ANR grants now being considered at the 2nd stage for funding.




L'auteur de ce résumé est le coordinateur du projet, qui est responsable du contenu de ce résumé. L'ANR décline par conséquent toute responsabilité quant à son contenu.

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