Developing Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) with Enhanced Performance

Worldwide, novel approaches for the sustainable bio-production of fuels and chemicals are under development. Apart from this, there is an increased interest in the industrial and research fraternity either to reduce the treatment costs incurred for the Waste Water treatment or to get value added products from the waste. Biological fuel cells potentially offer solutions to all these problems through harvesting energy from organic wastes and renewable biomass. Biofuel cells convert energy obtained from biochemical reactions into electrical energy in presence of different types of biological catalysts (living microorganisms, organelles or enzymes). One of the major differences between each type of fuel cell is the type of biocatalyst used at the anode of the fuel cell. Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) utilize whole living microorganisms that act as microreactors and allow multiple substrates to be oxidized deeply or completely. Microbial fuel cells (MFC) show excellent thermodynamic performance in laboratory scale. However, the poor electrode kinetics results in high activation overpotential. Moreover, the poor ion and electron transport also lead to poor performance. MFC also fails to sustain the laboratory scale performance in scaled up design.

The proposed work aims at designing Microbial Fuel Cells suitable for waste water. Efforts will be made to
reduce the activation losses by improved electrode designing to enhance the power density. Novel design
will be adopted to minimize the charge transports losses by introducing turbulent in the flow which can be
easily scaled up.

Specific objectives:
1.) CFD analysis will be carried out to design the MFC for better charge transport
2.) Improvement of electrode kinetics by exploiting different microorganisms from different natural
habitats
3.) Analysis of the influence of different environmental parameters on bio-anode performances of the
MFC
4.) Modelling of bio-anode kinetics.

Other Comments: 

Two students are expected to work on this project using COMSOL or other relevant softwares.

Supervisor name: 
Okpu Onne Ambrose
Supervisor and Deputy email addresses: 
oao54@hw.ac.uk
w.g.fruh@hw.ac.uk

Project Type:

Project location: 
Edinburgh
Restrictions: 
None
Deputy name: 
Fruh Wolf
Staff comments: 
None