Western Kentucky University

Poster Title

Microbial Fuel Cells: Generating Electricity From Mud

Institution

Western Kentucky University

Abstract

Pressures from the abatement of global warming gas from the combustion of fossil fuels, call for the development of renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and biomass energies. Our society faces a transition from the dependence on the traditional fossil fuel energy supply to the extended wide-spectrum renewable energy supplies. This study explores the likelihood of electricity generation using bacterium metabolism, while simultaneously cleaning up the polluted water. Organic contaminants in wastewater are the energy source for the metabolism of bacterium, yet some trace metal is vital for the metabolic activities. Demonstrated in the lab with test tubes and beakers filled with mud and water, the naturally collected bacteria created electricity potential through redox reactions of their metabolic activities. Bacteria generate a flow of electrons that can be potentially harvested as electricity using a setup of a cathode and an anode. By altering the conditions in which these bacteria reside in these different scenarios, it is possible to affect their metabolic activity, and thus to improve efficiencies of these microbial fuel cells. At the current stage of this study, only electricity potential has been created, and the further studies will focus on maintaining the constant electricity current in the microbial fuel cells.

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Microbial Fuel Cells: Generating Electricity From Mud

Pressures from the abatement of global warming gas from the combustion of fossil fuels, call for the development of renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and biomass energies. Our society faces a transition from the dependence on the traditional fossil fuel energy supply to the extended wide-spectrum renewable energy supplies. This study explores the likelihood of electricity generation using bacterium metabolism, while simultaneously cleaning up the polluted water. Organic contaminants in wastewater are the energy source for the metabolism of bacterium, yet some trace metal is vital for the metabolic activities. Demonstrated in the lab with test tubes and beakers filled with mud and water, the naturally collected bacteria created electricity potential through redox reactions of their metabolic activities. Bacteria generate a flow of electrons that can be potentially harvested as electricity using a setup of a cathode and an anode. By altering the conditions in which these bacteria reside in these different scenarios, it is possible to affect their metabolic activity, and thus to improve efficiencies of these microbial fuel cells. At the current stage of this study, only electricity potential has been created, and the further studies will focus on maintaining the constant electricity current in the microbial fuel cells.