Higher voltages achieved with microbial fuel cells

Picture of researchers in their lab

Marta Hatzell, Younggy Kim and Bruce Logan at work in the lab. Photograph by Robert Davis

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are a potential “green” energy source of the future, using organic matter in water to produce electricity. However, the voltages obtained from MFCs are generally too small to be useful.

Now Bruce Logan and his co-workers at Penn State University have shown that MFC voltages can be increased while maintaining continuous power production.

They introduced two sets of capacitors that are alternately charged and discharged into their circuit. The capacitors were charged in parallel by the MFCs, but linked in series while discharging thus preventing a phenomenon known as voltage reversal which can cause an overall decrease  in the voltage achieved. Impressively, the system also had negligible energy losses compared to those reported up to now.

Read the full details of this HOT EES paper:

Capturing power at higher voltages from arrays of microbial fuel cells without voltage reversal
Younggy Kim, Marta C. Hatzell, Adam J. Hutchinson and Bruce E. Logan
Energy Environ. Sci., 2011
DOI: 10.1039/C1EE02451E

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)