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Description

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are a developing technology that breaks down organic materials in liquids while generating electricity. They come in several forms and applications, including: micro-sized for medical implants, sediment for remote sensing and communications, and large-scale for industrial or environmental remediation. Few studies have looked at MFCs operating over 45ºC. Use of extremophiles as the fuel cell culture allows for high-temperature applications including industry, deserts, and alien space environments. This project includes the construction and operation of a membrane-less single chamber microbial fuel cell (ML-SCMFC), using the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus at about 80°C. The volcanic spring native S. solfataricus was used within a MFC to demonstrate feasibility of an extremely high temperature MFC and characterize the electrical power parameters from this device. A maximum power density of 25.26 mWm-3 was obtained using a carbon cloth anode and cellobiose as the substrate. Maximum sustained current densities ranging from 5.63 and 39.9 mAm-2 persisted for 15-30 hour durations. Continued modifications can potentially improve observed values, including new substrates, inclusion of separators and new anode materials.

Publication Date

4-18-2012

Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Donald A. Comfort

Primary Advisor's Department

Chemical and Materials Engineering

Keywords

Stander Symposium poster

Electricity Generation using Sulfolobus solfataricus in a High-Temperature Microbial Fuel Cell

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