Flow microbial fuel cell with mobile electrode units

Проточный микробный топливный элемент с мобильными электродными блоками

Energy and Energy Efficiency Technology use new fuels, renewable and alternative energy sources Biotechnology

Microbial fuel cell is the bioelectrochemical device where the conversion of energy of chemical bonds into electrical energy by bacteria and their enzyme systems is realized. simple one-component substrates (acetate, glucose) and complex multicomponent mixtures (waste water, waste, etc.) are the source of energy of chemical bonds. The principle of the device is based on the natural ability of bacteria under anaerobic conditions consume the substrate and transfer electrons that are formed in metabolism to the insoluble terminal acceptor, the current collector (anode). The directed flow of electrons (current) is formed due to the potential difference between the anode and cathode. At the cathode, the electrons interact with oxygen and protons that diffuse through the H+-selective membrane to form water molecules. It is the non-waste production and makes possible the use of wastewater and to recycle row materials or the energy production.

Innovative aspect and main advantages:
Flow microbial fuel cell with the mobile electrode units comprises the anodic compartment containing the biocompatible material, the cathodic compartment and H+-selective membrane which separates them and the conductor which connects the anode and the cathode through the load. The anode material is organized in interchangeable blocks of special design. Also the device is provided with the polymeric filters and has two slots at the anodic compartment to provide the substrate flow. This improves the performance of the device and reduces ohmic and diffusion losses in comparison with existing analogues on 12-15% depending on the design.
Furthermore, the device is equipped with polymer filters to protect the H+-selective membrane from unwanted immobilization of microorganisms, which prolongs the operation and reduces the cost of the membrane unit.
In the flow microbial fuel cell with the mobile electrode units the start-up period is decreased on 60-90% and the performance is improved within the irregular supply of substrate. This is accomplished by enabling the replacement of the electrode units that is resulting in the resuming operation period up to 5-7 days, in comparison with two months of prototype. In addition, the device can serve as the bioreactor-inoculators for the biomass of electroactive microorganisms-destructors formation.

Problem solved:
The development of alternative and renewable energy sources is one of the major scientific and technological challenges. Thus, according to the Energy Strategy of Ukraine, in 2030 more than 10% of the total capacity is renewable energy. Production of electrical energy using micro-organisms in biofuel cell is a new trend not only in Ukraine but also in the world which was formed by the fusion of biotechnology and technical electrochemistry. Development of technology of bioelectrochemical electricity generation allow to use of microbial bioelectrochemical mechanisms of transformation of matter and energy, to develop an alternative way of waste-free energy production, to expand the raw material base and cost-effective renewable energy sources (sewage, industrial wastes and agriculture). Innovation is the process of bioelectrochemical generation of electrical energy using microorganisms in order to integrate into the treatment plant and use in waste management.

Development status:
Prototype with favorable lab results

Potential customers, markets:
Renewable energy, the food industry, municipal wastewater treatment plants and agriculture.