Blacksburg, VA (PRWEB) April 17, 2014
Cell-Free Bioinnovations Incorporation, a biotech start-up focusing on the development of cell-free enzymatic platform for the production of biofuels, biochemicals, and electricity, received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant in the amount of US $677,745 from the National Science Foundation (NSF). SBIR is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development that has the potential for commercialization.
The two-year grant will fund the research to develop a sugar-powered metal-free biobattery with high-power and high-energy-density. Such a biobattery featuring 100% biodegradability, a high safety level, and rapid refilling, could be the next-generation green power source, particularly for portable electronic devices (e.g., smartphones, e-readers, GPS, and tablets).
“We demonstrated the high energy storage density of such a biobattery, nearly 10-times that of current lithium-ion batteries, funded by our previous SBIR phase I award.” Zhiguang Zhu, the principal investigator of this award, said, “In this phase II project, we will further improve the power output of this biobattery, increase its lifetime, and develop a prototype product, sugar-fueled sweet power bank.” Zhu and his team published a paper on Nature Communications (doi:10.1038/ncomms4026) and this result received numerous attentions including massive media coverage and interviews.
Cell-Free Bioinnovations Inc. (CFB9) is a research-directed biotech firm based in Blacksburg, VA. Since formed in 2012, CFB9 has received two phase I awards from NSF and Department of Energy (DOE). The key mission of CFB9 is to accelerate the commercial application of the R&D results pertaining to cell-free biosystems from the laboratory of Professor Percival Zhang at Virginia Tech, who is also the President and Chief Science Officer at CFB9. This platform is based on cell-free biosystems that will be used to produce sustainable biofuels, bioelectricity, biomaterials, and fine chemicals.