AC power generation from microbial fuel cells

Fernanda Leite Lobo, Heming Wang, Casey Forrestal, Zhiyong Jason Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Abstract Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) directly convert biodegradable substrates to electricity and carry good potential for energy-positive wastewater treatment. However, the low and direct current (DC) output from MFC is not usable for general electronics except small sensors, yet commercial DC-AC converters or inverters used in solar systems cannot be directly applied to MFCs. This study presents a new DC-AC converter system for MFCs that can generate alternating voltage in any desired frequency. Results show that AC power can be easily achieved in three different frequencies tested (1, 10, 60 Hz), and no energy storage layer such as capacitors was needed. The DC-AC converter efficiency was higher than 95% when powered by either individual MFCs or simple MFC stacks. Total harmonic distortion (THD) was used to investigate the quality of the energy, and it showed that the energy could be directly usable for linear electronic loads. This study shows that through electrical conversion MFCs can be potentially used in household electronics for decentralized off-grid communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number21544
Pages (from-to)252-259
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume297
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 13 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Keywords

  • AC power
  • DC-AC converter
  • Frequency
  • Microbial fuel cell

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