Photosynthetic microbial fuel cell

A solar microbial fuel cell (SMFC) is a non-semiconductor-based system, which employs microorganisms to generate electric power by photosynthetically replenishing reactants of a sealed microbial fuel cell using sunlight.

Microbial Fuel Cells will be available on

“Optimizing the Plant Microbial Fuel Cell: Diversifying Applications and Product Outputs”.

There are four different types of microbial fuel cells.

“Natural photosynthetic systems, such as trees and algae blooms, self-repair, a property that makes them highly durable,” said Dr. Lenny Tender, research chemist, Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering. “Here, we incorporate photosynthetic organisms with the self-assembling and self-maintaining benthic microbial fuel cell (BMFC) to enable durable land-based photoelectrochemical solar cells.”

Microbial fuel cell - Wikipedia

Wetlands are estimated to account for around six percent of the earth’s surface and a new Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell technology developed at Wageningen University & Research in The Netherlands could see some of these areas become a viable source of renewable energy. More than that, the developers believe that their technology could be used to supply electricity to remote communities and in green roofs to supply electricity to households.

Soils naturally contain electrogenic microbes which are necessary for the fuel cell.

Micromachined microbial and photosynthetic fuel cells

The most promising photoMFCs to date are electrocatalytic bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) that convert hydrogen from photosynthesis and sediment-based BESs that can convert excreted organics from cyanobacteria or plants.

from a microbial fuel cell — a device in ..

Therefore, most recent research has been performed to generate sufficient electric current from sunlight with either electrocatalysts or heterotrophic bacteria on the anode to convert photosynthetic products indirectly.

NRL Issued Patent for Solar Microbial Fuel Cell | News

The microbial fuel cell under development in Li’s lab uses wastewater as its feedstock. At a small scale, microbial fuel cells can produce a relatively large amount of energy. Their energy conversion capacity declines, however, as the scale is increased, rendering them inefficient power sources currently for most commercial applications.

Optimizing the plant microbial fuel cell: diversifying applications and product outputs.

Light energy to bioelectricity: photosynthetic microbial fuel ..

The researchers found that P. aestuarii could accept electrons generated from G. sulfurreducens and use them in a new type of anaerobic photosynthesis never before seen. Similar to how a battery or fuel cell works, the bacteria transfer electrons. They feed off each other to grow under conditions in which neither could grow independently.

A microbial fuel cell does not produce high enough energy to run cars.

Microbial Fuel Cells | Sewage Treatment | Algae

“A microbial fuel cell takes advantage of the seemingly unlimited supply of wastewater carbohydrates and converts it back into usable energy. The carbon supplying the fuel cell has effectively been sequestered from the atmosphere, making this a green, carbon-neutral process.”

PCC6803 in a microbial fuel cell Madiraju, K.S.; Lyew, D.; Kok, R.; Raghavan, V.

an aerobic single-chamber photosynthetic microbial fuel cell ..


Our Solution-Microbial Fuel Cell
Classroom Work
An air pump was used to oxygenate the cathode.
Sugar water was used to fed the bacteria to make the "workers happy"
Concentrated salt water was put in the salt bridge to transfer ions

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Question: Do you think microbial fuel cells could eventually be used as a major energy source?